Sunday, February 26, 2017

Book Review: Stolen Ink by Holly Evans

Stolen Ink (Ink Born #1)
I’m Dacian, a tattoo magician, and my life went from my biggest concern being finding a pretty guy to fall into bed with at the end of the week to everything falling apart around me.

There are two problems in my life.

Number one – I’m an ink magician, the thing of myths. A lot of very powerful people would love to get their hands on me, and I have no intention of letting that happen.

Number two – A tattoo thief came to my city, and the magical community has decided that I’m the guy to stop them.

Somehow, I have to catch the thief without letting my secret out of the bag, and that’s even harder than it sounds.

Todd's rating:

This story had such a cool and unique concept that I immediately knew that I had to read it.

The premise was that certain people had parts of their soul that manifested themselves as animals. The person would feel their animal clawing to get out, go to a tattoo magician, then the tattoo magician would 'feel' the identity of their animal and tattoo it onto their skin.

Once the tattoo was complete, its owner could then press on the tattoo to 'release' it into the living world. For example, the main character, Dacian, had both a cat and a snake, which spent most of the story as real animals, much like pets would hang around the house. The tattoo animals could also push thoughts to their master, which I thought was very cool.

But there was also a tattoo thief on the loose, who was stealing people's tattoos, and since the tattoos were part of their owner's souls, the victim would die an excruciating death. So as a powerful tattoo magician, Dacian was tasked with the task of finding the tattoo thief and stopping the murders.

Then we had the council, who were the all-powerful ruling body governing all things supernatural. These were definitely the bad guys, so Dacian used every means available to keep them from finding out that he was much more powerful than they knew. They tended to make people disappear, never to be heard from again, so he wanted no part in that.

All of that sounds amazing, right? And it was, mostly. My problems with the story weren't surrounding the premise, but the execution.

The story was only around 200 pages, but felt immeasurably longer. Dacian tended to live inside his own head, so instead of most of the story surrounding actual conversations between all of the many, many characters, we're exposed to page after page of his innermost thoughts. It truly felt like too much.

I'd categorize this story as a fantasy/magical suspense, much more so than as a romance, as the romance aspects were also written more as a telling versus showing, which made it impossible for me to get many actual feels between Dacian and Isaiah.

In regards to steam, as with many fantasy stories, this book avoided sex entirely, with all of those scenes simply fading to black, which was entirely fine, as I didn't read this story hoping it would contain erotica.

The ending. What can I say about the ending? It ended? Very abruptly and much more easily than I thought it should have. For all of the powerful ink magician's skills, his defeat was quick and relatively uneventful, which left me feeling a bit hollow.

I do truly look forward to more stories in the Ink Born series, as we were introduced to a variety of different characters and flavors of magic (dreamwalkers, shifters, sorcerers, dragons, etc); however, I do hope that future books do more showing and less telling, plus provide the reader with deeper levels of connection between the MC's.

All things considered, I'd have to rate this one at around 3.5 stars and hope that the HFN ending progresses to an HEA for Dacian and Isaiah as the series progresses.

This story is *FREE* with a Kindle Unlimited membership.

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