Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Angel's Ink by Jocelynn Drake

Title: Angel's Ink
Author: Jocelynn Drake (narrated by Michael Urie)
Series: The Asylum Tales #1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: HarperAudio (November 13, 2012)
Source: Scribd Audio
Rating: ☕☕
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 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 might just make it through this enchanted world alive. 

My Thoughts:  This is my first attempt at Jocelynn Drake's writing and I'm not sure she pulled it off. She wrote this from Gage's perspective but his internal musings were a bit too soft for me. He mentioned several times how much he adored Trixie because she was just so wonderful. I had issue with this because we didn't know why Trixie was just wonderful other than Gage telling us she had a kind heart amongst other things. I like to come to my own conclusions about the characters in the book rather than being told how I should feel. Another issue with this is that it was hard for me to see Gage as an Alpha type character since he one step from writing poetry about Trixie. Overall, the romance fell flat because it wasn't believable since we never saw the characters fall in love.

The action was decent but there was also an issue with believability. I had problems believing that Gage's life was bombarded with one life changing event after another all within a day. There was way too much happening in this book. His old mentor (the warlock mentor not the tattoo artist mentor) wanted to kill him forever and finally made his move to do so. This would have been sufficient plot device in addition to a believable romance to carry the book forward. But noooooo Drake threw in a scary mob boss, a faerie king who complicated Trixie's life, the betrayal of a friend, a talking magical cat, a dying woman whose last request is to be tattooed with angel wings, a hall monitor type warlock keeping Gage in check and a past tattoo client who keeps popping into the book like a bad penny. Throw in a 3 day time limit and you've got just too much going on.

If those had been my only issues this book would have been worth 3 stars but I actually listened to this book and absolutely hated it. The narration for Gage was ok. The narrator (Michael Urie) was able to have many different voices for the plethora of men in this book. Unfortunately some of them sounded a bit too alike because when I say plethora, I mean PLETHORA. OK maybe there were only 9 or 10 men who had dialogue but to come up with voices for all of them had to be hard and Urie just didn't pull all of them off. In addition his voice for the female characters was not pleasing to the ears. Trixie came across sounding like a drag queen. This in itself wouldn't be horrible if this were a romance between two men but as romance between a man and woman it made it a bit awkward to listen to.

On the upside, Urie's voice for Gideon was kind of hot. Think Christian Bale in The Dark Knight hot. Unfortunately this was not Gideon's story but Gage's. Urie's voice for the talking cat, Sophia, was pretty decent too but it didn't save me from hating the narration aspect of this book.

In a Nutshell: An interesting idea for an Urban Fantasy series as Warlocks are generally not front and center in a series...except for that particular idea came to Jim Butcher's mind over a decade before Drake thought it up. Well, at least there is that tattooing part to help with some originality. Despite my issues with the book I'll put the second one on my BOLO list. Meaning if I happen to see it for a quarter at a  thrift store I will pick it up but for sure I'll not be listening to any more of these unless there is a different narrator.

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