Review: STOLEN INK by Holly Evans
*I received an ARC from the author for an unbiased review.
LGBTQUIA+ Urban Fantasy
I’m Dacian, a tattoo magician, and my life went from my biggest concern being finding a pretty guy to fall into bed with at the end of the week to everything falling apart around me.
There are two problems in my life.
Number one – I’m an ink magician, the thing of myths. A lot of very powerful people would love to get their hands on me, and I have no intention of letting that happen.
Number two – A tattoo thief came to my city, and the magical community has decided that I’m the guy to stop them.
Somehow, I have to catch the thief without letting my secret out of the bag, and that’s even harder than it sounds.
Firstly, I adore the cover art. I AM a cover artist, and this cover is fantastic. It’s catchy, and it also does what few covers put out by large presses manage to do, it captures the essence of the book.
Gay? Tattoos? Magician? Sign me up.
I enjoyed the story even though it gave me the collywobbles with some terminology, I’ll put a trigger warning near the bottom of my review.
Voice? Ms. Evans has it and for me that is the most important part of any story. It’s what makes the characters and world leap up off the page and makes you keep thinking about them for a long time after you finish reading. Creativity, that she has in SPADES.
This is an elaborate interweaving of fantasy elves, magical humans, and tattoos that come to life, I haven’t read anything quite so unique in a long time and I do want to keep reading more of the series.
I loved Dacian, the MC, and the side-characters are intriguing, adequately developed and the pacing of the book fast enough that I tore through it quickly. World-building is amazing, but it could have been grounded in the five senses a bit more (sight, scent, taste, touch, hearing).
Other than that, and the TWs it’s a great read.
Readability: 5/5 Fast paced, engaging characters, truly unique world-building and story.
Arcs: 4/5 The story pacing and character arcs were complete and well crafted. The characters could have been a bit more well-developed, but it’s not enough to inhibit reading.
Craft: 3/5 * As I read an ARC, some of this may have changed by the time the book was released.
There were a couple typographical and punctuation errors, and a grammar flaw that threw my editor brain out of the story. For a non-editor type reader, it shouldn’t affect enjoyment. For what it’s worth, I’ve seen more typos in traditionally published books than in this one.
TRIGGER WARNING FOR OTHER FIRST NATIONS PEOPLE
The author appropriates the term Spirit-animal. It’s used several times throughout the manuscript in a way that made me uncomfortable, and I’m not rez raised. I would have been much happier if ANY term other than Spirit-animal had been used.
TRIGGER WARNING FOR ASEXUAL AND GRAY ASEXUAL READERS
I cannot recommend it for demi-sexual or asexual readers who are bothered by casual sex at first meeting. I had a few squick moments even though it’s closed door. Meet someone and go home with them hookups just don’t work for me.
Would I buy it for a friend? Maybe? If I knew the author had chosen to fix the spirit-animal issue, yes. If not, regretfully, no, because it IS a good story. If I knew the person I bought it for was asexual or grace? I’d ask how they felt about meet and go home hook-ups first.
All and all an entertaining read and one of the better stories I’ve read this year.