Looking for a tattoo—and maybe a little something extra: a burst of good luck, a dollop of true love, or even a hex on an ex? Head to the quiet and mysterious Gage, the best skin artist in town. Using unique potions—a blend of extraordinary ingredients and special inks—to etch the right symbol, he can fulfill any heart's desire. But in a place like Low Town, where elves, faeries, trolls, werewolves, and vampires happily walk among humanity, everything has its price.
No one knows that better than Gage. Turning his back on his own kind, he left the magical Ivory Tower where cruel witches and warlocks rule, a decision that cost him the right to practice magic. And if he disobeys, his punishment—execution—will be swift.
Though he's tried to fly under the radar, Gage can't hide from powerful warlocks who want him dead—or the secrets of his own past. But with the help of his friends, Trixie, a gorgeous elf who hides her true identity, and a hulking troll named Bronx, Gage might just make it through this enchanted world alive.
Angel's Ink begins the new series, The Asylum Tales, that centers around former warlock turned tattoo artist, Gage Powell and his co-workers, Bronx and Trixie. Gage doesn't run an ordinary tattoo parlor for ordinary humans, because his specialty is all about potions and those willing to pay extra for a tat that is a little "more".
The first quarter of the book was a bit slow going as the world was explained and character history was established, something that is common with new urban fantasy books where its worldbuilding that tell a great deal of the story and any paranormal romance might be an added treat. Details explaining the Ivory Towers and warlocks are much needed to explain why Gage lives the way he does and why he resists any attraction he has towards Trixie. More details about his potion stirring are laid out so the reader understands the difference between spells and potions, and give insight into the type of person Gage really is. His life has been complicated and he has sacrificed a lot to gain his freedom from the warlocks and he must tread carefully to avoid attracting unwanted attention. After a few chapters the real meat of the story concerning a unique client is revealed and by that point you're completely hooked!
Aside from potions and tattoos, Gage has a very remarkable talent for finding trouble, and not just the minor things like parking tickets and angry clients either. Each time he uses magic he risks being taken before the council but that doesn't seem to slow him down. He uses protective spells, defensive spells (allowed in moderation), and the rare magical ingredients aren't unheard of. It's like he can't stop himself, like the magic is too much a part of his soul. What makes Gage so different from other warlocks is that he isn't evil, he doesn't want to kill or harm, so his magic is part of his need to help and protect. It's a very likeable quality, although it does land him in a number of dangerous and life threatening situations.
Angel's Ink is imaginative and gritty, made real with the emotions and stories of its characters. Gage isn't afraid to stand up for his friends, doing what is right when that isn't always the easiest choice. His ability to find trouble will make you laugh and cringe with equal measure, and his relationship with Trixie (along with her personal backstory) builds anticipation for book 2, The Dead Man's Deal (available now and to be reviewed here very soon).
Books in series:Angel's Ink (book 1)
Dead Man's Deal (book 2)
*reviewed by Anna