Ink & Sigil by Kevin Hearne

Title: Ink & Sigil
Author: Kevin Hearne
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine Del Ray Books
Source: NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Book Cover of Ink & Sigil by Kevin Hearne

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.

Oh my-lanta! Beth Cato recommended this book on Twitter and I’m so glad I was able to snag a copy of this one so I could spread the word about it. Now, I remember back in the old days of LiveJournal when there was a Holy Taco Church. Beth was the High Priestess of Churromancy and Kevin was the Taco Pope. I think it was a group of authors who came together to promote their work and if you liked the works of one author you were likely to enjoy the others. It was silly and fun. And a great way to get the attention of people who enjoy reading similar types of books. But I haven’t read anything by Kevin until now. 

This novel is just about perfect. I’m sure there’s a flaw somewhere but I haven’t seen it yet. It’s a great escapist read and was something I really needed. Apparently this is set in the world of his The Iron Druid Chronicles series. This series consists of 10 books, and lots of short stories, and novellas. I have no idea if any of these characters make an appearance in the series.

The chapters go back and forth between the past and the present very seamlessly. I was floored with the worldbuilding – he’s obviously spent a lot of time with Al and his cohorts. Buck, the hobgoblin, is new to Scotland and the world of humans which leads to some funny interactions. Buck’s humor is juvenile but he also has some wonderful ideas. Nadia, the accountant/office manager, makes Al’s professional lives (magical and non-magical) run smoothly. Perhaps it’s Al’s age (he’s in his 60s), or that he leads a double life, that he has an open mind and very little surprises him. 

Now, just because it’s set in modern times (there’s cell phones, surveillance cameras, etc.) doesn’t mean there’s no action scenes or sword play. Expect the unexpected, put on your safety belt or harness, and enjoy the ride. 

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