Apr 18, 2014

Posted by in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: Nightmare Ink by Marcella Burnard (Living Ink #1)

nightmareink2 star

April 15 2014
351 pages
Received from publisher

Kick Ass Chick – Isa Romanchzyk

From Goodreads –
With her art and magic, Isa Romanchzyk has the power to create or destroy. In her tattoo shop, Nightmare Ink, Isa helps those in need by binding the power embedded in their Live Ink—the magical tattoos that can enhance the life of the wearer, or end it. But binding tattoos has earned Isa the contempt of her fellow artists—including her former lover Daniel.

When a friend comes to the shop with a tattoo on the verge of killing him, Isa can’t turn him away. For the first time in years, she works Live Ink—something she swore she’d never do again. But a broken vow soon becomes the least of her problems.

The real nightmare begins when she’s abducted and inked with a Living Tattoo against her will. Now, saddled with a powerful, amoral entity willing to do anything to win his freedom, Isa must fight to keep her Living Tattoo from consuming her completely…


Nightmare Ink is the first book in a new urban fantasy series by Marcella Burnard. I wish I could say that I thoroughly enjoyed this book but unfortunately, I didn’t. I enjoyed the idea of living tattoos but the execution of the story just made it hard for me to connect with the book or the characters.

Isa is a talented tattoo artist and is capable of inking living tattoos but chooses not too after an unfortunate incident that happened years ago. Isa has not had an easy life. At all. Add to that what happens to her in this book and whoa…she is strong of character because I don’t know of anyone who could survive it all. Isa doesn’t just survive it, she uses it to kick some ass in her own way. I did find I was rooting for her once in a while because of what she went through. But overall, I had trouble clicking with her, and I’ll get into ‘why’ in a moment.

Patty is an interesting character but again, I was not able to click with her. In fact, there isn’t really a single character in this book that I was able to connect with. The reason for that is the information we were given about the characters and their situations, as well as explanations of why they were doing what they were doing, came about just too slowly. I feel the author’s intention was to create some suspense and speculation about the characters but for me, that backfired. I felt more lost than anything when information was shared because only little tidbits were said at a time. Instead of making me want more it left me frustrated. For me all of that attempted suspense caused more of a block than anything and made it almost impossible for me to create a real bond with the characters.

Daniel is yet another character that I was confused about. He is a major character yet his motives were impossible to guess and when we know why he is doing what he is doing, it seemed to come out of nowhere and didn’t seem to mesh with the story. I felt he was flat and not really interesting, which is a quality I think a good villain needs.

In the book, Isa is kidnapped and tattooed with a living tattoo against her will. (That is not a spoiler by the way, it says so in the blurb ;)) How long she was kept and how she was treated was absolutely horrible. I would not wish that on anyone. But once she escapes, the focus was on her recovery and how she was dealing with what happened. As to be expected. But again, not enough was explained so I was left feeling sorry for her without even knowing the whole story. So my feeling sorry didn’t last very long as it was replaced with more frustration. It was past the 50% mark of the book that things started to pick up and the story started moving but by then, it was too late for me.

The living tattoo, Murmur, both interested me and drove me bonkers. Sometimes he was just a bit much. Too over the top. Then suddenly, he’s not. I did like how the tattoo becomes a part of the person on which he is drawn and that he is a living being himself. He also enhances part of the person’s character, for good or bad. Like a permanent drug. Pretty neat idea.

Overall, I wish I clicked with Nightmare Ink more but I just didn’t. There were too many things that I didn’t like, too many things that just didn’t quite fit and too much time between vital information being shared about the characters in this story. For me, characters are the most important thing in an urban fantasy series and since I didn’t grow to care enough for the people in this book, I will not be reading the next installment.

2.5 stars


  1. I’m sorry you didn’t like this book… and if you didn’t like it… I think this book is not for me.
    Thank you for the honest review.

  2. Oh I was curious to see a review for this book because a friend of mince love the author and well it’s UF. But I wasn’t sure. Now I think I’ll pass. I’m sorry it wasn’t for you…

  3. O yours is the first really not-liking-it review I see Julie, I was also intrigued by the concept. But I really hate torture in my books, and I need to fall for the characters to connect with a story. I think I will wait for a few more books and reviews on them.

  4. I’m so tired of the BLAH UF series that are popping up all over this place. BUT I’m glad to know in advance to skip this one. Flat characters and inconsistent plot devices . . . I’m pretty sure this would have been another disappointment for me too.

    Jessica @ Rabid Reads

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