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Angel's Ink: The Asylum Tales (Unti Jocelynn Drake) [Paperback]

Jocelynn Drake
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

16 Oct 2012 Asylum Tales
Buyer beware...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 his 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 just might make it through this enchanted world alive.

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Angel's Ink: The Asylum Tales (Unti Jocelynn Drake) + Dead Man's Deal (The Asylum Tales, Book 2)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager; Original edition (16 Oct 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062117858
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062117854
  • Product Dimensions: 2.3 x 13.3 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 812,302 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"Gritty, authentic and fast-paced! This urban fantasy series rocks!" --J.R. Ward

About the Author

The bestselling author of the Dark Days series and former financial analyst, Jocelynn Drake lives in Kentucky.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Asylum Tales book 1 26 Oct 2012
By Sarah (Feeling Fictional) TOP 100 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
Gage was trained from a young age to become a warlock but in a world where the warlocks and witches rule the other races with an iron fist he didn't feel comfortable with the way his mentor and the other inhabitants of the Ivory Towers lived their lives. Gage doesn't believe that the ability to harness magic makes the warlocks any better than anyone else and he hates the way they treat humans and other supernatural beings with contempt and as little better than insects to be crushed at will. He is the only apprentice warlock who ever chose to leave the Ivory Towers and return to living amongst humans and he was only allowed to leave under the condition that he never uses his magic again except in self defence. Even then the warlocks aren't happy that he decided to leave and he knows that they are constantly watching him and waiting for him to make a mistake.

All Gage wants to do is live his life in peace and remain under the radar of the warlocks. He has become one of the most successful tattoo artists in the area and is skilled at creating potions to add to the ink he uses in his art. If you want a tattoo that will bring you luck or make you attractive to the opposite sex then Gage is the person you want to see. His colleagues, troll Bronx and elf Trixie, are both equally skilled artists and potion stirrers but both have their own secrets and reasons to keep to themselves. It seems like their pasts might be about to catch up with them though so can they work together to keep their freedom?

I really enjoyed the two prequel novellas for Jocelynn Drake's new series so I couldn't wait to start reading the first full length novel Angel's Ink. I was looking forward to learning more about Gage's background and to spending more time at the tattoo parlour with him, Bronx and Trixie.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Angel's ink 16 May 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
After reading the two standalone `prequels' for Jocelynn Drake's The Asylum Tales series, I was more than ready for a full length novel set in this fascinatingly gritty world with these intriguingly flawed characters. ANGEL'S INK introduces a budding romance between outcast mage turned tattoo artist Gage and on the lam elf Trixie which I would have liked to evolve over a few books to get used to the idea instead of being hit with it so suddenly. All in all, ANGEL'S INK introduces a complex world filled with interesting creatures, magical tattoo shops, and engaging, complex characters. Looking forward to more ink.
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Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  131 reviews
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gritty, magical, and very fun 18 Oct 2012
By Kristina - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Review Courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy

After reading the two standalone `prequels' for Jocelynn Drake's The Asylum Tales series, I was more than ready for a full length novel set in this fascinatingly gritty world with these intriguingly flawed characters. ANGEL'S INK introduces a budding romance between outcast mage turned tattoo artist Gage and on the lam elf Trixie which I would have liked to evolve over a few books to get used to the idea instead of being hit with it so suddenly.

Apart from the somewhat rushed romance, Drake does an excellent job of introducing us to various sorts of characters and creatures without getting bogged down in details and descriptions. One of my favorite introductions involved a group of amorous satyrs wanting virility tattoos at Gage's shop.

While I enjoyed all of the time spent in the tattoo shop, I was excited when Gage finally ventured out. The plot moved at a steady pace since Gage never catches a break between troubles with weres, warlocks, and elves. Not to mention the fascinating stigma he was forced to carry around as a mage since warlocks have a well earned evil reputation, something we don't tend to come across too often in urban fantasy.

All in all, ANGEL'S INK introduces a complex world filled with interesting creatures, magical tattoo shops, and engaging, complex characters. Gage is especially intriguing as a quick thinking protagonist trying outrun his murky past but never able to fully turn his back on his magic. This series has already left it's mark on me and I'll be looking forward to more ink when the next book in The Asylum Tales series hits shelves in 2013.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Liked parts, found other parts meh 22 April 2013
By A. F. Odom - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
For me, this book had great parts and not so great parts. Your mileage may vary, and there are plenty of reasons someone else might enjoy the book more than me. Here's the breakdown of my experience.

Liked:
---------------------

* The idea that tattoo ink can be mixed with potions to make magical tattoos. This aspect of the book was immensely cool.

* Characters are consistent, never acting contrary to what you would expect, but still able to surprise you.

* Told from male point of view, a neat departure from similar books in the urban fantasy genre.

Didn't care for:
------------------------------

* Relationship development between main characters. Feel like author depended to much on telling the reader the characters had known each other for two years and allowing that to reduce the relationship development in the book. I didn't feel the sexual tension between the characters, and when they consummated it, I wasn't really in the same "I must have you" space as they were.

* The sex is not terrible, but not great. If that's something you look forward to in books like these, you might want to take a pass and check out Delilah Dawson, Kelley Armstrong or Meljean Brooke (just to name a few).

* Characters other than the main character aren't as well developed - maybe too many of them? I definitely would have liked to see the female lead and the troll friend/coworker get a lot more involvement and character development.

* For me, the main character had too many problems, leaving many of them less developed or clear than others. Since this is obviously a lead in to a series, it might have been nice to leave some of the problems for later. That said, it's definitely action packed. :)

* Not a fan of characters who isolate themselves by keeping everything they're involved in a secret. For me that can get really frustrating, and I find myself irritated by the "excessive loner" archetype. Again, that's personal preference, and it might be just the style you're looking for.

If you aren't sure if this is your type of book or not, and you have the option to get a digital sample, I recommend doing that first to see if you like the voice and writing style of the author.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LITERAL ADDICTION's Review of Angel's Ink 16 Oct 2012
By LITERAL ADDICTION - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Our Review, by LITERAL ADDICTION's Pack Alpha - Michelle L. Olson:
I've been a fan of Jocelynn's writing for quite some time. DARK DAYS is one of my favorite Urban Fantasy series, so when I found out that she was writing a new series I was simply intrigued.

After devouring the first two prequel eNovellas to the series - The Asylum Interviews - Bronx and The Asylum Interviews - Trixie, I could not wait to get Angel's Ink into my hands.

I received an ARC of Angel's Ink from HarperCollins in return for an honest review, and couldn't put it down. I read the entire thing in 1 and 1/2 sittings and only wanted more... My exact words on GoodReads upon finishing the book were: "Simply incredible! Action packed, gripping, & so unique I couldn't stop saying "wow"."

I'm a bibliophile. I read. A LOT. And I'm a genre specific reader sticking to the Paranormal, so trying to find a new and fresh spin on Urban Fantasy these days isn't the easiest thing to do. The Asylum Tales gave me that in spades.

The world was beautifully crafted and multi-dimensional allowing for growth throughout the series yet not becoming too overwhelming in the first installment.

The characters were well rounded with wonderful back stories, allowing for continued development throughout the arc.

The action was intense, the mystery intriguing and surprising, the romance frustratingly wonderful (in keeping with Jocelynn Drake form) and the plot gripping.

Our hero, Gage, is a potion stirring tattoo artist; the best in Low Town. He's also a warlock who wants nothing to do with the egotistical and maniacal world of the other witches and warlocks of the Ivory Towers. Having it in his blood though makes it very difficult for Gage not to use magic, especially when he runs into trouble around every corner, and boy does he ever!

Our heroine, Trixie, is an elf on the run from the Summer Court. She's been in hiding for years and has been keeping a low profile working with Gage at Asylum as a tattoo artist. When the warriors of the Summer Court finally track her down in Low Town, she has no option but to turn to Gage for some help hiding out, and since he's madly in love with her, he simply can't say no.

Our other hero, Bronx, is a troll and Gage's other business partner. He's loyal, steadfast, and almost too intuitive. I absolutely love Bronx and I cannot wait to find out more about him in future books - I just KNOW that he's got one heck of a story to tell. :)

I can't go into plot too much without spoiling things so I will just tell you that it's a wild ride and utterly fabulous.

I would suggest reading The Asylum Interviews - Bronx and The Asylum Interviews - Trixie before starting Angel's Ink. It helps a lot with the world building and character introductions and they're just SO good!

LITERAL ADDICTION gives Angel's Ink 5 Skulls and would recommend it to anyone who wants an amazing new Urban Fantasy to fall in love with.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Angel's Ink 16 Oct 2012
By Jessie Potts - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
What's it about: Gage is the best skin artist in Low Town, a place that has every paranormal creature you can imagine -- and a few you can't. Gage is also wanted dead by warlocks, and you can't escape them. Along with friends, Gage will journey through the world, trying to stay alive and just survive.

Why you should read it: Jocelynn is amazing at fleshing out plots, subplots and characters. Gage was fascinating and interesting. I loved the Asylum crew, and the description of the skin art was beautiful. This is the first book in the series, and I found myself a little unclear about the world. There weren't any clearly defined limits and rules. I can't wait, though, for the second book because I feel that with time Gage and his world will grow into a fantastic UF series.

To see what Jocelynn says about her world and why tattoos check out USA Today's HEA Blog
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Angel's Ink by Jocelynn Drake 17 Oct 2012
By Tori SmexyBooks - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
Favorite Quote: "I had a price to pay for my choices."

In Low Town, where elves, fairies, trolls, werewolves, and vampires are happily walking among humanity, everything has its price. Gage just wants to run his tattoo parlor and live a quiet fuss free life, but this former warlock is finding out that what he wants and what he'll get are two very different things. Leaving the Ivory Tower, where the warlocks and witches of the world rule with an iron fist, has left Gage with a huge target on his back as no one EVER leaves the Ivory Tower alive. Gage was allowed to leave only if he never uses his magic for anything but self defense, however, circumstances cause Gage to break this rule on many different occasions. When Gage finds himself hunted by his former mentor, the grim reaper, a mob boss, and a werewolf, Gage hopes that with a little help from his friends, he may just live to see tomorrow.

Angel's Ink is the first installment in a new urban fantasy series by bestselling author Jocelyn Drake. I adored Ms. Drakes Nightwalker series and was excited to see her penning a new and obviously different type of series. Angel's Ink has an interesting premise and introduces us to a supernatural world where everything and everyone lives together; though not necessarily in harmony. As this is heavily character driven, I found the world building suffers as it tries to complete against the overwhelming and convoluted amount of subplots presented. I would have enjoyed learning more about the world presented, the war that brought this world to where it's at now, and more about the various groups of supernaturals that we are introduced to.

Told in the first person, our main protagonist, Gage, the sole proprietor of the Asylum Tattoo Parlor, has a huge secret. A former apprentice warlock who didn't agree with the cruel indicts of the warlock/witch community, he left that world only to find himself under a death sentence. His life is contingent upon his promise to never use his magic in any shape or form except for self defense. As Gage struggles to remain under the Ivory Tower's radar, his altruistic nature places him on the path of no return when he fulfills a young girl's dying wish with a tattoo. Gage inks the tattoo with a special ink mixture that he hopes will make her last few days comfortable. Only, the ingredients he uses have a catastrophic effect and suddenly Gage has to find this girl before he finds himself on the chopping block.

Gage is an interesting protagonist. His backstory and characterization reminds me of calmer, younger, Harry Dresden. Gage is a loner. His history requires him to not form lasting attachments to anyone yet he is fiercely loyal to his friends, regardless of the outcome. A former warlock who is at the mercy of a council deadset on erasing him, he has a natural altruistic nature that constantly pits him against various opposing factions. He only wants to be left alone, but Gage's inability to say no to anyone, conflicts with his own agenda. While it goes a long way to building Gage's character, it is also a cause for concern concerning the storyline. We are given multiple conflicts that sends us into various directions as Gage's decisions set off chain reactions, causing him even further problems. I did have some problems connecting to him. While I enjoyed his thoughts and actions, there was a small part of me that felt like he was ambiguous. I did enjoy that in dealing with a male protagonist, we aren't made to suffer through overly emotional angst or breakdowns. Gage deals with things in a forthright manner and that is blessing these days when emotional bloodletting and closed off protagonists are the main ingredient of most genres.

There is the beginning of a romance between Gage and Trixie that progresses slowly throughout the storyline. Enjoyable in that I like seeing Gage with someone, but in some ways it feels forced. I would have liked to have waited longer in the series to build up the tension for the readers. You may get the feeling that you're missing something but there is a novella before this installment that actually sets this storyline up.

A strong personable secondary cast adds depth and understanding to the plotlines and Gage's life. Trixie, an elf, and Bronx, a troll, are both employees of Gage's and fast becoming his best friends. Both Bronx and Trixie have what I suspect are complicated back stories, though only Trixie's is revealed in depth. Gideon, Gage's handler from the Ivory Tower, is an enigma. His constant threats and bullying Gage over using magic outside of self defense are in line with his job but we are given hints that lead us to believe there is more to all of this than we or Gage think.

Plenty of dry humor and wit is sprinkled throughout the book as we learn more about vampire OCD, and a certain werewolf conflict presents itself in a unique and funny manner. As stated earlier, there is a plethora of subplots in here that cascades over you as you try and sort out exactly what the main conflict is. I enjoyed the various subplots though we aren't allowed to spend much time with any of them as Drake keeps Gage jumping, trying to stay alive and one step ahead of everyone. Various one scene characters are introduced that clue us into future storylines, which only adds to the confusion in my opinion. Some conflict(s) which intertwine and play off each other towards the end, are somewhat resolved, all in predictable manners. I really can't say more without spoiling but needless to say, this book is a set up book all the way, though more in characterization and storylines rather than the usual world building aspect.

Regardless of my feelings of misgiving, I did find the overall presentation and introduction interesting and engaging enough to warrant a continuation when book two releases. There are two novellas that predate this release and a third novella that happens after this book. The first two novellas introduce us to Trixie and Bronx and tell us how they came to work for Gage. In the anthology, Blood By Moonlight (releases Oct 23, 2012), we get a small but action packed story after Angel's Ink.

Overall Rating: C
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