Ink and Sigil (Ink and Sigil #1) by Kevin Hearne

My Five Word TL:DR Review : A Good Deal of Fun

InkandI really did have a good time with this one.  The main character feels quite unique, very likeable and definitely quirky.  There’s a great supporting cast and it really is an easy and entertaining set up for what promises to be an excellent series.

This is a spin off from the Iron Druid Chronicles although I would mention that there is no need to have read that series beforehand (although I do recommend it).  Hearne is very good at helping you to settle in and excels at making you feel immediately comfortable with what you’re reading.

Set in Scotland Al MacBharrais is a sigil agent defending the realm against incoming threats from various supernatural creatures.  Using magic ink he creates sigils that can be used for all nature of things varying  in scale and nature.  Al is such a breath of fresh air in the urban fantasy genre.  Over 60, a widower and with a curse that means he has to come up with some creative ways to speak to people as his voice incites anger and eventually leads people to thoughts of murder – he really is quite unique.  I loved the way that Al is able to plan ahead and come up with Sigils to use whilst he’s out and about to help him succeed and, more importantly, survive.

As the story begins Al’s latest apprentice has died in an accident and upon visiting the scene Al stumbles upon something of a mystery.  It seems that Al’s apprentice was dabbling in other, dangerous and seedy endeavours and so an investigation of sorts begins.  In other news, not being the first of Al’s apprentices to die in unusual circumstances this definitely makes Al a ‘person of interest’ as far as the local police are concerned and their own investigation is sure to hamper his endeavours.

Now, I can’t lie, the storyline itself isn’t the strongest part of Ink and Sigil.  The detecting itself is very flooky for instance and the plot does quite a lot of jumping about but, I think Hearne was setting the scene for future instalments and I’m always a little easier going with the first in a new UF series as there is some groundwork to establish. That being said, don’t take away from this that the plot wasn’t good – it just wasn’t what I would consider to be the winning element of the story.

The characters made this for me, especially as I became attached to them with such apparent ease and so early into the book.  I liked Al.  I liked the hobgoblin, Buck, that ends up being his almost constant companion, I really liked Nadine (Al’s office manager) and I thought all the little jaunts to the gin bar to meet different members of the fae were excellent (although they did make me perhaps partake of a few sneaky cocktails on the odd occasion – I simply couldn’t resist).

On top of this I really loved the humour and anything that makes me laugh out loud in the current climate is to be applauded imo.  Okay, some of it can be a little ‘juvenile’ but for me I always feel that Hearne is enjoying himself when he writes and it really comes across well and is infectious.  I was hooked almost immediately and I thoroughly enjoyed myself from intriguing beginning to whacky conclusion.

The setting. As mentioned above this takes place primarily in Scotland although we have various jaunts along the way – not to mention a flight that took a good deal of maneuvering in order to successfully board a hobgoblin onto a plane! There are a few flashbacks that help to provide a picture of just exactly what Al does and in fact how he fell into this field of employment in the first place.  All in all a good feel for the whys and wherefores is easily established.

In terms of criticisms.  Nothing much to be honest.  I found that the written scottish dialect slowed me down a little at first but that’s just a minor issue that I quickly got on board with.  The plot is perhaps a little scrappy but at the same time I felt it added to the overall quirkiness of the story somehow.

All in all this was a good deal of fun for me and I wouldn’t hesitate to read more from this series.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks. The above is my own opinion.

My rating 4 of 5 stars.

Friday Face Off : A cover featuring an Amulet – either in the cover or title

FFO.jpg

Here we are again with the Friday Face Off meme created by Books by Proxy .  This is a great opportunity to feature some of your favourite book covers.  The rules are fairly simple each week, following a predetermined theme (list below) choose a book, compare a couple of the different covers available for that particular book and choose your favourite.   Future week’s themes are listed below – the list has been updated to help out those of you who like to plan ahead – if you have a cover in mind that you’re really wanting to share then feel free to leave a comment about a future suggested theme. This week’s theme:

A cover featuring an Amulet – either in the cover or title

I thought I had a few books for this week’s theme but when I went to look I was much mistaken.  Alas.  So, much wracking of brains ensued – I was trying all sorts of ideas and trying to recall characters wearing talismans and that’s when it hit me – Atticus from Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid Chronicles.  Atticus is a great character and in fact the series is tremendous fun – I’ve fallen behind but think I read the first five books.  Atticus has fashioned himself an Iron Amulet with binding charms worked into each section.  Quite a lot of the different instalments show the amulet but I’ve gone for the first in series.  Hounded (The Iron Druid Chronicles #1) by Kevin Hearne:

The covers:

There were only a few covers to choose from and for that reason I’m going for the original cover which I love – and which is a style reflected in the rest of the books in the series:

My favourite this week is:

hounded 1

Here are the other covers for the first five books so you can see what the series looks like:

Like last week I’ve added a Mr Linky here so that you can leave a link if you wish or please leave me a link in the comments so I can visit and check out your covers.  Thanks

Next week – A cover featuring a monk/priest/person of the cloth

Future themes: (if you’re struggling with any of these themes then use a ‘freebie’ of one of your favourite covers)

2019

25th January – ‘Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.’ – A cover featuring a monk/priest/person of the cloth

1st February – A comedy cover

8th February – ‘Hi little cub. Oh no, don’t be ssscared.’ – A cover with snakes

15th February – A heart – for Valentine’s day past

22nd February – “Woe, destruction, ruin, and decay; the worst is death and death will have his day.” – A cover with abandoned building/s

1st March – ‘who will buy this wonderful morning’ – A cover featuring a shop or market

8th March – ‘Two little fishes and a momma fishy too’ – A cover featuring a fish/fishes or other sea creatures

15th March – ‘Beware the moon, lads.’ – A cover with a shapeshifter

22nd March – ‘A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse’ – A cover featuring a king

29th March – “I thought unicorns were more . . . Fluffy.”  – A cover featuring a unicorn

5th April – ‘nomad is an island’ – A cover featuring a desert landscape

12th April – ‘Odin, Odin, send the wind to turn the tide – A cover featuring a longboat

19th April – ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times – A cover featuring a school

Can’t Wait Wednesday : Kill The Farm Boy (The Tales of Pell #1) by Kevin Hearne and Delilah S. Dawson

Can't Wait Wednesday

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that was originally created by Breaking the Spine.  Unfortunately Breaking the Spine are no longer hosting so I’m now linking my posts up to Wishful Endings Can’t Wait Wednesday. Don’t forget to stop over, link up and check out what books everyone else is waiting for.  If you want to take part, basically, every Wednesday, we highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  This week my book is: Kill The Farm Boy (The Tales of Pell #1) by Kevin Hearne and Delilah S. Dawson:

Kill theIn an irreverent new series in the tradition of Terry Pratchett novels and The Princess Bride, the New York Times bestselling authors of the Iron Druid Chronicles and Star Wars: Phasmareinvent fantasy, fairy tales, and floridly written feast scenes.

Once upon a time, in a faraway kingdom, a hero, the Chosen One, was born . . . and so begins every fairy tale ever told.

This is not that fairy tale.

There is a Chosen One, but he is unlike any One who has ever been Chosened.

And there is a faraway kingdom, but you have never been to a magical world quite like the land of Pell.

There, a plucky farm boy will find more than he’s bargained for on his quest to awaken the sleeping princess in her cursed tower. First there’s the Dark Lord who wishes for the boy’s untimely death . . . and also very fine cheese. Then there’s a bard without a song in her heart but with a very adorable and fuzzy tail, an assassin who fears not the night but is terrified of chickens, and a mighty fighter more frightened of her sword than of her chain-mail bikini. This journey will lead to sinister umlauts, a trash-talking goat, the Dread Necromancer Steve, and a strange and wondrous journey to the most peculiar “happily ever after” that ever once-upon-a-timed.

Expected Publication 24th July 2018

Waiting on Wednesday : A Plague of Giants (Seven Kennings #1) by Kevin Hearne


“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that was created by Breaking the Spine.  Every Wednesday we highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  My book this week is : A Plague of Giants (Seven Kennings #1) by Kevin Hearne

aplague.jpgIn the start of an enchanting new series, the New York Times bestselling author of The Iron Druid Chronicles creates an unforgettable fantasy world . . . one that is forever changed when an army of giants invades. The kingdom’s only hope? The discovery of a form of magic that will call the world’s wondrous beasts to fight by the side of humankind.

Expected publication October 2017

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie…

This week over at The Fantasy Review Barn we are travelling once again through the tropes of fantasy.  This week’s topic is pets.  I’ve decided to stick to our best friends.  The canines!

Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden has a dog – Mouse.  Quite the opposite as he’s something of a giant!

Kevin Hearne’s Druid Chronicles – Atticus the Druid has a dog called Oberon.  Oberon is one of the best fictional dog characters EVER and has the funniest lines of the whole book – well, no, he doesn’t talk but Atticus and Oberton can converse telepathcially.

J K Rowling’s Harry Potter.  Hagrid’s dogs – Fluffy and Fang – I think Fluffy was the three headed dog and Fang is the big black shaggy soft hearted critter.

Toto – The Wizard of Oz – not even going to give a name or description – don’t be pretending that you don’t know who Toto is or I’ll set the flying monkeys on you.  Would have mentioned them as pets to the Wicked Witch but I’ve decided to stick with the dawgs!

A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs – John Carter finds himself with a very unusual dog like character called Woola – fiercely protective and with three sets of teeth quite a formidable character.

Honorary Mentions –

JRRTolkien’s LotR – Bill the Pony

Captain the cat from Owl and the Japanese Circus by Kristi Charish because a vampire hunting cat is pretty cool

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