Thursday, September 19, 2013

Review: Dead Man's Deal (Asylum Tales Book 2) by Jocelynn Drake

The dark and dangerous follow-up that continues the adventures of a magical tattoo artist begun in Angel's Ink

In a world where elves, faeries, trolls, werewolves, and vampires swim free in a sea of humanity, sometimes you need an edge. Looking for a little love? Need some luck? Desperate for revenge? Gage can give you what you need. The most talented tattoo artist in town, he knows the right symbol and the right mix of ingredients and ink to achieve your heart's desire. One tattoo is all it takes. But remember, everything has its price. . . . 

Gage learned that lesson long ago, in ways he'd rather not remember. But the cruel and powerful wizards in the dreaded Ivory Towers he escaped aren't about to let him forget. Though Gage has managed to stay out of sight, he can't outrun the past forever.

The wizards know Gage is using forbidden magic, and they intend to punish him for his transgressions. Too bad if innocent humans and monsters-entire cities-get in the way. They will quell a nascent magical uprising and Gage will be the sacrifice they need. First, though, they have to find him .


Life in Lowtown is certainly tricky. Dead Man's Deal has a couple of main plot points 1) Reave has made a very dangerous discovery concerning the Ivory Towers and the warlocks will stop at nothing to ensure that they remain in control and 2) the King and Queen of the Elves are experiencing fertility trouble and Trixie has become their sole focus in remedying the problem. Both are well planned and interwoven in a way that makes it feel like Gage moves from one to the other, back and forth, never catching his breathe before another problem crops up. Every incident shows another aspect of Gage's character, showing readers that despite being a warlock himself he is a nice guy searching for a simpler life. He craves normalcy, a life where him and Trixie can be together, stirring a few potions into his ink and running the tattoo parlor along with Bronx, with the nasty warlocks in the Ivory Towers just leaving him the hell alone. It's a longshot, especially since using magic is in his blood, but he is nothing like the warlocks that use magic for their own selfish gains. "Normal" just isn't in the cards. 

Gage continues to surprise with his ingenuity, and the depths to which he cares for others, including a brother that's in league with Reave, a Queen that sends him to be raped, and a Guardian from the Ivory Towers that offers help on one hand and death with the other. He is forced to deal with new issues at every turn, yet he never turns anyone down because he understands the stakes involved, for himself, for Trixie, for Bronx, for all the unsuspecting humans, and even for the ones he doesn't care a fig for, like the Queen. Gage is just that type of guy, although sometimes he doesn't want to be. 

With a possible uprising of young warlocks fleeing the Towers things in Lowtown are about to be even trickier...if that's possible to imagine! The next book in the Asylum Tales should be a good one. I'm looking forward to seeing how Gage decides to help the runaways, and see what trouble he manages to stir up next. 

reviewed by Anna 


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