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Dead Man's Deal (The Asylum Tales)
 
 

Dead Man's Deal (The Asylum Tales) [Kindle Edition]

Jocelynn Drake

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Review

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

‘Angel’s Ink is an other-earthly blend of magic and technology in the best tradition of urban fantasy that refused to let me go. The continuing Asylum Tales promise to be intriguing and wildly inventive.’ Kim Harrison

‘Jocelynn is amazing at fleshing out plots, subplots and characters.’ USA Today

‘Drake kicks off a new urban fantasy series with a strong first title….definitely check out this series from the popular Drake.’ Booklist

‘Drake (the Dark Days vampire series) very ably spins a series launch ….stirs up trouble that sends the plot caroming with ferocious intensity to a satisfying but open-ended conclusion.’ Publishers Weekly

Product Description

The second book in a sexy, dark and gripping new paranormal romance series by New York Times bestselling author Jocelynn Drake.

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.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 576 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager (18 July 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00BKQ0PX0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #137,266 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  53 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dead Man's Deal by Jocelynn Drake 9 May 2013
By Tori SmexyBooks - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
In Low Town, where elves, fairies, trolls, werewolves, vampires and other manners of supernatural life are happily walking among humanity, everything has its price. Gage Powell just wants to run his tattoo parlor and live a quiet fuss free life with his girlfriend, but Gage has learned that the warlocks and witches who command the Ivory Towers are never going to leave him in peace. Gage was allowed to leave the towers only if he never used his magic for anything but self defense. However, circumstances cause Gage to break this rule time and time again.

Now, Gage is back and neck deep in trouble. Gage has managed to indebt himself and his employee Bronx to the dark elf mob boss, Reave. Reave has discovered Gage's big secret and demands Gage's help in exchange for not selling him out to the highest bidder. When Gage has problems with Reave's latest request, Gage rebels, causing a chain reaction that leads Reave to include someone from Gage's past in his plan to bring down the Towers. Now the Towers are after Gage, figuring his sacrifice is enough to quell any uprisings. But Gage isn't one to hide when the going gets tough. With the help of some surprising allies, Gage finds himself once again having to make the choice between himself and the world.

Reluctant heroes are a favorite trope of mine and Gage Powell is the ultimate reluctant hero. The sole proprietor of the Asylum Tattoo Parlor and magical tattoo artist, Gage is forced to live under strict conditions. A former apprentice warlock who didn't agree with the cruel indicts of the warlock/witch community, he escaped 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 their radar, his altruistic nature often places him on the path of no return. He has a strong moral compass. He will fight to his last breath (which he proved in Angel's Ink) to keep his friends and the world safe from injustice.

Dead Man's Deal is the second installment in Ms. Drake's Asylum Tales series. Similar to Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden series, Ms. Drake pens an interesting story revolving around Gage Powell, a warlock whose life choices has left him persona non grata in the wizarding world. Fast pacing keeps the story moving at a brisk pace as Drake continues to expand upon her modern magical world and the characters inhibiting it. Plenty of action and mystery will keep you guessing as Gage once again finds himself stuck between saving himself or saving his friends.

Gage is an interesting protagonist. Somewhat of a loner, his time spent in the Tower taught him not to form lasting attachments to anyone. Yet he has managed in spite of that to gather a group of friends who mean the world to him. He has to keep a low profile yet is constantly placing his life on the line. As a former warlock, he feels responsible for the horrors the Ivory Towers have inflicted on the human and supernatural world. He has absorbed their crimes and seeks to make amends in the best ways he can.

Though we are only in the second installment, I found Gage more open both emotionally and mentally. We are given a deeper look at his pain and suffering from his childhood and the vulnerabilities he carries inside of him. I also enjoyed the continuing romance between him and Trixie. It's not emotional soul sucker that manipulates the reader into making it more then it is. They are stable, secure and it remains a small subplot, even when Gage makes a magnanimous gesture to insure Trixie remains out of the Summer King's hands.

A strong personable cast continues to provide us with an eclectic mixture of good and evil personas. A group whose intentions are well hidden behind a devious mask of indifference, greed, and self interest. Drake is slowly drawing out their intentions through the arc, leaving Gage struggling to expose their true motivations. From Gage's unsympathetic warden, Gideon, to a mercenary collector of magical properties, Gage is learning he has allies in the most unusual places. But Gage's greatest asset continues to be his friends. Though Gage feels he doesn't have many in his corner, he has more power guarding his back then he ever imagined.

I still have concerns with the overwhelming amount of conflict surrounding Gage. It's hard to stay focused at times with the onslaught of new and recurring situations. I also can't help but wonder why more aren't stepping up to the plate in a visible manner to combat those in the Towers.

Dry humor and wit is sprinkled throughout the book as we learn more about Sophia's state of being and meet some new friends. As stated earlier, there is a plethora of subplots in here that continuously cascade over you. As the story progresses, I feel Drake does a better job in this installment of tying them all together in a manner that makes sense. The world building is expanded upon and more background information about Gage's childhood and the inhabitants of the Ivory Towers is given. The ending wraps up the main conflict nicely, leaving us with the next book's storyline and faint feelings of dismay and hope mixed together.

Regardless of any misgivings, Jocelynn Drake's newest Urban Fantasy series continues to be a whirlwind of action, intrigue, and suspense with a strong base of hope, love, and humor to keep readers firmly engaged in this adventure. I look forward to book three, title and release date to be announced.

Overall Rating: B
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Awesome! 8 Aug 2013
By DVKov - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book is absolutely awesome! Dead Man's Deal is the second book in Joscelynn Drake's The Asylum Tales. The main character, Gage (a warlock in hiding) finds himself with a number of problems that he needs to resolve. Actions in the first book led to him and one of his tattooing partners, Bronx (a troll) being employed by the dark elf Mafia boss Reave. Reave wants the boys to handle some distasteful tasks so Gage is scrambling to figure a way out of the arrangement. To make matters worse, Reave has discovered a secret that the Ivory Towers, home to the world's brutal witches and warlocks, will kill to protect and he's dragged Gage's brother into the fray so Gage needs to save him, too. Gage also need to find a way to keep the Summer Court elves from stealing his girlfriend, Trixie, back to her homeland to be the consort of the king. If he can fix the elves' infertility problem that just might do the trick. Add to that the fact that he's been increasingly using magic, an act that can get him killed by the Tower powers, and I'd say our boy has his hands quite full.

Drake spins what could be a really complicated and confusing number of threads into a seamless story that keeps you engaged from beginning to end. Gage is flawed and vulnerable; Drake does an amazing job of conveying his many conflicts and moral quandaries while he attempts to hold on tight to some shred of his humanity. The book has its share of violence and meaningless loss, but she infuses it with rich characters whose reactions make you feel their pain and suffering but also their joy and love. This series is quite different from Drake's Dark Days series but every bit as enjoyable. If you haven't read the first book (Angel's Ink) I'd start there in this highly recommended series.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly stellar story, amazing world-building 13 May 2013
By Shirley U Jest - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
For me, the true mark of a great book is that you hate to leave the story when it's over. This is one of those books. The world that Gage inhabits is so vivid and engaging and believable, I want to stay and learn more. I would strongly suggest reading the first book in this series, "Angel's Ink," and the short "Asylum Interview" stories to get up to speed.

Gage is a reluctant hero whose loyalty and nobility are hidden under a rebellious façade. In this way he reminds me of Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden, and I love me some Harry Dresden. The story rolls seamlessly along, although readers who need things spelled out for them might feel a little lost. You have to go with the story and figure things out as the characters do.

I appreciate the first-person narrative is a man. It's cool to see the world through Gage's eyes...with one TINY exception. The frequency that his "d**ck" either "twitched" or "got hard." Maybe this does happen to all men, all the time. If so, I feel more sympathy for them than I did. But not having the equipment myself, it was just a tad jarring how much more...specific Gage's physical response to romantic situations (and sexy clothing) was.

That is a minor quibble. This series is a very, very strong paranormal/urban fantasy story. Although there is some romance, it's got lots of action and excitement, tension, and problems with no easy answers. The characters must make their own tough decisions and then live with them, as we all do.

All in all, "The Asylum Tales" series is a very exemplary, very complex, and very smart addition to the UF world.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as fast-paced as earlier installments, but still a good story! 9 May 2013
By OpenBookSociety dot com - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Heidi

*Beware of Spoilers*

In the heat of the moment magical tattoo artist and ex-warlock-in-training, Gage, made a mistake and killed his former mentor using magic, meaning that he will have to forfeit a year of his life; a year that will be spent in the underworld with Lilith who already has a piece of his soul. He doesn't know when that year will be taken, but Gage knows it could happen at any time.

In the meantime, he is trying to live a normal life, but his problems keep stacking up. He wants to help his hot elf girlfriend, Trixie, from being hunted by her race, he is stuck working for the dark elf mafia and needs to find a way to free himself along with Bronx who was dragged into it because of Gage, and now the Ivory Towers are about to declare war over some information that was discovered. Gage has his plate full, but he has to tackle one problem at a time and hope that he gets himself and his friends through to the other side alive!

But Gage can't save himself and his friends without making a few sacrifices along the way. But will the price he's forced to pay be too high?

I liked this book, but it wasn't as fast-paced as I was hoping it would be. Don't get me wrong there is a lot of action going on and something is always happening. But all of the warlock duels started to blend together after awhile and became monotonous. Gage had so many problems and it was hard to keep up with all the hoops he had to jump through, but it never left the reader lost. And, overall this was another good book in The Asylum Tales series that I wouldn't have wanted to miss.

The relationship between Trixie and Gage has really started to take shape and I'm really enjoying what I'm seeing there. You can just feel the love they share and it feels real, not forced like some relationships I've read in other books. Drake writes this couple beautifully and the sex scene in Asylum was explosive!

"I think I should be in mourning. Many brain cells were lost in the creation of that orgasm."

Trixie chuckled. "I appreciate their sacrifice."

As for Gage himself, I think I enjoy him more with each book or novella. He is just so....male! The things he says are funny and his thoughts are laugh-out-loud hysterical at times, even if they can be a bit crude. But I'm no prude which makes his comments right up my alley, as long as they make me laugh and don't feel forced, I'm a happy girl!

"I could feel her wipe away something wet, but I refused to think she had made me cry as well as admit that I was a coward. The League of Men was going to come confiscate my balls at this rate. But it didn't matter. Trixie was worth it."

I'm also really starting to enjoy Gage's warden, Gideon! I never disliked him, but as I learn more and more about him and really start to see him look out for Gage, I can't help, but be fond of him. And, to know that he too is bucking the system of the Ivory Towers only makes me like him more!

"I didn't mean it to sound so challenging, but I needed to try to reassure my friend. Gritting my teeth, I tried to think of some way to placate Gideon. It was as if I was standing in quicksand, the earth slipping away from my feet the more I spoke. A smart man would keep his mouth shut. I wasn't always a smart man."

My favorite part of this book was the last chapter. Gage visiting his parents was emotional and really exposed his vulnerabilities and I loved every moment of it. I hope we get to see more raw emotion from Gage and those around him as this series continues to progress.

The decisions Gage was forced to make in this book were definitely hard for him and will shape the rest of the series, but I can't wait to see him face his demons head on and come out living the life he was meant to. I feel he is a strong character that keeps growing and strengthening and this book in particular really shows the sacrifices you sometimes have to make for those that you love. Those choices may be hard, but in the end you know they're right and for that reason alone, I know Gage will continue to thrive!

*Please note that this review is based off of an ARC received by the publisher months in advance and everything including the quotes included in this review is subject to change.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Calling all urban fantasy readers! This series is for you! 21 July 2013
By Taylor Caitlin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Dead Man's Deal was an excellent sequel to Angel's Ink filled with just as much adventure, action, romance, and magic. All of the fun main characters return with the addition of Gage's older brother Robert, who's gotten into some trouble working for the dark elf mob boss, a hobgoblin named Duff, a new friend of Gage, more rogue warlocks, and the queen of the elves. And, of course, more villainous evil warlocks from the Ivory Towers to rain down chaos on Gage's life once again.

All in all, The Asylum Tales are a dark gritty urban fantasy series that all fans of the genre should read!
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