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Series: Ink & Sigil #1
Published by Del Rey Books on August 25, 2020
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Al MacBharrais is both blessed and cursed. He is blessed with an extraordinary white moustache, an appreciation for craft cocktails – and a most unique magical talent. He can cast spells with magically enchanted ink and he uses his gifts to protect our world from rogue minions of various pantheons, especially the Fae.
But he is also cursed. Anyone who hears his voice will begin to feel an inexplicable hatred for Al, so he can only communicate through the written word or speech apps. And his apprentices keep dying in peculiar freak accidents. As his personal life crumbles around him, he devotes his life to his work, all the while trying to crack the secret of his curse.
But when his latest apprentice, Gordie, turns up dead in his Glasgow flat, Al discovers evidence that Gordie was living a secret life of crime. Now Al is forced to play detective – while avoiding actual detectives who are wondering why death seems to always follow Al. Investigating his apprentice’s death will take him through Scotland’s magical underworld, and he’ll need the help of a mischievous hobgoblin if he’s to survive.
Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group – Ballentine for providing me with an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
Ink & Sigil is the first book in a new series by Hearne set in the same world as the Iron Druid Chronicles. For returning fans of Hearne’s, this series is sure to be one to watch.
Meet Alyonious MacBharris, a Sigil agent with a great mustache and a taste for fine cocktails. He’s also the recipient of two curses. Oh, and his latest apprentice died via raisin scone. To top everything off, that apprentice was involved in trafficking supernatural creatures and now Al must investigate with the help of a few friends and a hobgoblin.
The guide to Scottish language can either been seen as a red flag or a prepared author. For me it teeters over to the red flag side of things. There are dense paragraphs with “this means that” for readers to understand some of the Scottish slang. For me, this was a not so great thing. I do appreciate the atmospheric experience of reading Ink & Sigil, but I was able to drum up my the Scottish accent in my head enough that the difficult reading of slang and phonic words kind of took away from the experience.
The story was interesting and the characters were enjoyable. I loved Buck Foi, and the humor was on point for me. What I took the most issue with was the pacing. It was slow and I had difficulty motivating myself get through chapters where things slowed down. I think the pace between action and investigation could have been more evenly distributed.
Overall, really did enjoy the characters and the world. It ranks high in the urban fantasy/modern fantasy books I’ve read. I really could not give it more stars because the pacing was just too slow. If you are on the fence about reading this, I firmly recommend you do. No matter the pace it is still an enjoyable read and I am still locking forward to more adventures with Al.