Book Review: ‘Ink Mage’ by Victor Gischler

January 14, 2015     Holly     Reviews

Book Review: ‘Ink Mage’ by Victor GischlerInk Mage by Victor Gischler
Published by 47North on October 22, 2013
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Young Adult
Pages: 388
Format: eBook, Kindle Edition
Source: Purchased
3 Stars

The city of Klaar has never fallen. No enemy has ever made it across the Long Bridge or penetrated the city’s mighty walls. Even when a powerful invading army shows up at the gates, the duke and his daughter, Rina Veraiin, are certain that it poses little threat.

But they are cruelly betrayed from within and, in a horrific spasm of violence, the city is brought to its knees.

With the help of her bodyguard, Kork, the battle-trained young Rina narrowly escapes the slaughter and makes her way to the lair of an ancient sorcerer—the Ink Mage—who gifts her with a strange, beautiful set of magical tattoos.

Now a duchess in exile, Rina sets out on a quest to reclaim what is rightfully hers, aided by a motley assortment of followers who will help her in her cause—some for noble reasons and others for their own dark purposes.

With the enemy’s agents nipping at her heels, Rina must learn to harness her new and startling magical powers if she is to assert her rightful place as ruler of Klaar.

I am at war with Victor Gischler’s Ink Mage. And when I say at war, I mean full-on, in your face, spitting mad, throw-the-book-at-the-wall-if-it-weren’t-on-my-Kindle war. There are so many reasons why I want to tell you that this was a good book. Why I think everyone should buy it and read it and love it forever.

But I can’t.

Because often times, we find that as much as we want a book to be wonderful, the ending ruins everything. The characters could be engaging and interesting, much like Rina who undergoes a serious transformation throughout the novel, the various settings could be descriptive and so vivid that you feel like you’re walking down the streets and yet the final 20 pages are so lacking and void of any real substance that everything good about the book gets cancelled out.

That’s what happened with Ink Mage. Gischler, in the end, wrote as if he wanted nothing more than to leave the kingdom of Rina, Alem, and the rest of Klaar behind, sooner rather than later. It was sloppy and poorly executed, which is a shame considering the rest of the novel held so much intrigue and kept me hooked throughout.

So I do want to talk about some of the good things, because it wasn’t all bad. One of the aspects of Ink Mage that I really enjoyed was the various viewpoints throughout the novel. Readers are not left with only Rina as the storyteller, but also characters that are living inside the seized city, the enemies, the romantics, and the fools. It’s a truly well-rounded version of the events in the country of Helva and it rounded out the story well.

Plus, there are sword-fighting prostitutes. A whole brothel full of them, and they’re a bunch of kick ass women which I thought was really cool. These characters brought a new perspective to a fantasy-war and just who all it affects that I’m not positive I would have considered has it not been written into the book by Gischler.

And, of course, there’s plenty (and I mean plenty) of love and longing, if you’re looking for a good romance between a few different characters.

Really, Ink Mage is a truly fun read until the last 20 pages, when you realize Geschler is going to wrap up an entire novels worth of conflict in a very short time. I want to give him, and the novel, two thumbs up, but I’m afraid it’s just to big of a hurdle to jump.

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