Book Review: Angel's Ink

Drake begins a clever new series with the introduction of Gage, owner of The Asylum Tattoo Parlor who, while a talented artist is actually a warlock who has forsaken the ivory towers. Wizards and warlocks live in their ivory towers separate from humanity and the paranormal races, which they look down upon with distain. As a teenager, Gage was sickened by what he saw and did the unthinkable by forsaking the power and leaving the ivory towers. Now his life and that of his coworkers hangs by a thread as Simon, Gabe's former mentor is determined to kill him and anyone who gets in the way.

Although Gabe is forbidden from using magic for anything but self-defense, he personally mixes the inks used for the tattoos by adding a little something extra to achieve whatever results the clients want. When a dying young woman requests a pair of angel wings tattooed on her back, Gabe mixes up something special and ends up pissing off the Grim Reaper who is demanding a soul in three days. Trixie, a beautiful elf who has been working for Gabe, hides her identity behind the veneer of appearing human but that illusion is about to crumble with serious consequences. Through it all Bronx, an enormous troll who helps with security, does what he can to keep the vampires and other threats at bay while at the same time, pushing Gabe and Trixie to act on their feelings.

Angel's Ink delivers a satisfyingly complex, fast paced, inventive urban fantasy that is certain to win a loyal following. The characters are very well developed with involved yet not overwhelming pasts and plenty of secrets. The interactions between employees at the Asylum are fun to watch and reminiscent of genuine workplace camaraderie while the antagonists are scary enough to keep everyone on their toes. The descriptions of the artwork and the clients who pay for it add a nice touch to this fresh new series.

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