I thought I'd be okay with it being the start of a spinoff, but between the brogue and rally being tossed in without a net I found it hard to follow. Very interesting story, just wish i didn't feel so lost.
I am in two minds about this read. I thoroughly enjoy Author Hearne and his world built around Celtic mythology. Moving from Ireland to Scotland did nothing to diminish my enjoyment. The issue I have is, the world building has been done in the Atticus and Oberon books, nine or so in number. I do not know if this story truly stands apart from those enough to ensorcel a new reader who does not wish to go through that much initiatory reading.
I think, on balance, you know yourself best...read the story, because it is really, really fun to do, or wait until you are caught up on the kind of world this is. Mythology based fantasy reads are certainly popular enough that they are not fresh to your eyes. If you enjoy the idea of the Fae and the gods interacting with mere humans, and exacting prices from those humans for their patronage, this story will delight you.
I had a hard time with this one. I felt kind of thrown into this whole Fae world without a life jacket. I was glad to have borrowed the audiobook from Libby so I didn't have to stumble over the Scottish words but it was also hard to follow because of the Scottish accent. And I hated when he used the computer-generated voice. I don't think I'll be reading the next one.
Sometimes I feel like Kevin Hearne is an under-recognized treasure. But this book probably catapulted him out of that category!
Ink & Sigil is the story of a sigil master whose responsibility it is to keep track of any creatures from other planes who want to enter the human world, and ride herd on them to enforce the treaties that govern our interactions. Unfortunately, he's also cursed. As can be expected by most books that open with a dead body, it's a difficult to put it down and it was a binge-read for me for sure. (There's also a guest appearance from our favorite Druid - iykyk.) The writing is comedic and smart and I really enjoyed the pacing - there's sort of a three-layer conflict that provides some satisfactory diplomatic resolution, action, and enough cliff-hanger to be excited for the next book. Highly recommend for fans of the multiverse, faery stories, urban fantasy, and librarians.
This novel set in the world of the Iron Druid is a bit of Sherlock Holmes meets urban Celtic sci-fi/fantasy. If you enjoy magic and mystery, this might be for you.
This book is a fantastic escape for the reader. It is a great entry into the series or types of books written by Mr. Hearne. The Scottish at times can come across as strong or it can seem a little bit like gatekeeping, but overall this was a 5/5.
I would highly encourage you to look at this author.
DNF - Did not finish. I did not connect with the writing style or plot and will not be finishing this title. Thank you, NetGalley and Publisher for the early copy!
What a lovely cover - who wouldn't want to pick it up? It begins a series of a unique fantasy world with a vibrant protagonist..
This was such a fun read! I loved Al and felt sorry for what happened to his family. I look forward to reading the next book in this series.
Ink & Sigil is Kevin Hearne's first book in an exciting new series called aptly Ink & Sigil. if you aren't familiar with Hearne's novels, he has a couple of interesting series, the most famous being the Iron Druid Chronicles. "Atticus O'Sullivan, last of the Druids, lives peacefully in Arizona, running an occult bookshop and shape-shifting in his spare time to hunt with his Irish wolfhound."
"A toast! Tae inks and sigils and straight razors, tae good bosses and wizards on lizards, tae outsmarting evil when ye can and kicking its arse when ye cannae do that, and tae distillers of fine spirits everywhere. Sláinte!"
In my opinion, the Iron Druid Chronicles is some of the best urban fantasy out there and has the most loyal companion dog in all of fantasy. Although, Mouse from Dresden Files is a very close second. The banter and characterization of Atticus's Wolfhound make many of his books both movers and funny. The Iron Druid series set me on a quest to find an Irish Wolfhound for myself. That is, until I found out the actual size of a said wolfhound—basically, the size of a VW Bug. And much like Mouse from the Dresden Files, a Fu dog and also the size of a VW Bug, he will have to be a dream for someday.
With all that being said, this new series has a lot of the flavor of the Iron Druid series, a wicked sense of humor, banter, and action. But, we have an entirely new type of magic to learn about and a new champion protagonist to cheer for in Al MacBharrais. Al, aside from being a slightly cantankerous sigil agent, has also been cursed. As soon as he speaks, his once melodious voice now causes the hearer to hate his guts. Instead, he is forced to talk to folks using a text-to-speech program on his phone. Problems with his various text-to-speech devices do provide a bit of comedic fun. I believe that who cursed him will be the overarching mystery of the series.
Specifically, the great mystery to this book is what is happening to his apprentices. They keep up and dying on him. Geordie, his newest apprentice, although not a nice guy in any way, did not deserve to die the way he did. Much to Al's dismay, Geordie had been living a double life and dabbling in an underground trafficking ring. Fae had been captured and sold to the highest bidder for often nefarious purposes. This ring is where we meet our sidekick of a sort in Buck Foi, a rogue and mischievous hobgoblin set to steal all he can and drink all of the whiskey. Geordie had him trapped.
This underground trafficking ring and the untimely deaths of his apprentices set Al on a quest to find out who is doing the stealing and killing.
Ink & Sigil is such a fun book. Generally, all of Hearne's books are irreverent and do not take themselves too seriously. His books have a light-heartedness peppered with action that keeps the pace rolling along but still makes you laugh out loud as a reader. However, I think that Ink & Sigil steps up the quality and intelligence of the comedy. It is a smarter comedy, although Buck Foi does throw in plenty of dick and fart level jokes to spice things up.
Also, technically Al is much, much younger than Atticus. However, Al has wisdom that Atticus does not. Maybe it is because of Al's profession; Al is a sigil master. He crafts words and symbols with special inks and seals them for different effects. Al, himself, is not magical. But he has the intelligence to do great magic. Conversely, Atticus does Earth magic and communes with Gaia. His magic is more inward, and dealing with the spirit requires less mind and more soul.
Maybe it is the type of magic he practices or because Al looks the part of a cantankerous older man. Unlike Atticus, who looks 22 but is over 2000 years old. But Al feels like he is one inch from yelling at you to get off his lawn.
These beautiful characters come together to make a fun story that is relatable and with a moving plot. Al is full of all sorts of surprises as well as his staff. Nothing is really as it seems. And like The Iron Druid, it is undoubtedly going to be a bit of a keeper. I can't wait to read more.
INK & SIGIL is a great start to a new series. With wit and a wonderful ability to create an engaging world, Hearne has started something that I cannot wait to see where it goes.
A Kevin Hearne story never, ever fails me.
INK & SIGIL was exactly what I was hoping for. Full of the same kind of storytelling that I've come to love from him (via the Iron Druid Chronicles), and set in the same world.
I love that Al is a bit older, and his curse is a really interesting twist on how to challenge a main character! Buck is hilarious in his supporting role (although, I do miss Oberon.)
All of the the things I've come to expect from Kevin - imaginative storylines and unusual circumstances, wrapped up in fight scenes, history lessons, mythology, and pure ridiculousness - are here. And I can't wait for more.
Kevin Hearne kicks off his latest series with the impressive Ink & Sigil; an urban fantasy set in modern-day Glasgow. Although taking place in the same world as his IRON DRUID CHRONICLES, there is no prerequisite reading needed in order to enjoy this entertaining adventure.
Al MacBharrais is an accomplished Sigil Agent; a magical policeman of sorts, charged with protecting his part of the world from miscreant supernatural creatures and wayward deities. Although MacBharrais is able to perform sorcerous feats using powerful sigils, he is afflicted by a mysterious and incurable curse which causes anyone hearing him speak for too long to eventually despise him. Al’s efforts to discover the source of the curse must be put on hold when his apprentice, Gordie, dies by sudden accident; the seventh of his pupils to suffer such a fate. In investigating Gordie’s death, MacBharrais discovers that his former protégé had been leading a secret double life of occult crime right beneath his nose. Al must now put right the wrongs of Gordie’s misdeeds while avoiding the actual police detectives who have grown suspicious of the many deaths that follow in his wake.
Hearne gleefully blends off-beat humour with captivating action, showcasing an ensemble of memorable rogues and gods, armed with sharply crafted dialogue and standout characterization. Despite significant world-building, overt exposition is ably sidestepped by leveraging well-travelled mythology to fill in the gaps, and this aspect of the narration surely benefits from groundwork laid in the preceding series. While I can’t exactly recall being awed by the construction of any particular piece of prose, this was one of those novels in which the medium seemed to melt away under the engrossment of the story, and I was readily swept off into imagination, thanks to the proficient and well-paced delivery.
In reading comments on this book from other readers, I have seen it asked if this novel is ‘woke’ in the negative sense (apparently a comment on Hearne’s earlier works), as in: does some contained social commentary detract from the story? Absolutely not. In fact, I thoroughly commend the author for providing valuable attention to tragic social issues - such as human trafficking - while actually using it as a device to enhance the realism of the plot rather than distract from it.
If forced to nitpick, I would say that the work could have benefitted from more deeply defined villains. While there were many memorable antagonists, none of them quite held my attention long enough to create any significant emotional response, though clearly, seeds have been planted to bear such fruit in future books of the series. Additionally, I do recall a couple of occasions wherein my immersion was jarred by the protagonist’s inner monologue; specifically, it felt incongruent for a sexagenarian to use modern lingo - such as gaming metaphors - to aid description, though perhaps this simply reveals an age bias in my own way of thinking.
Regardless, Ink & Sigil was easily one of the more enjoyable urban fantasy novels I have ever read and I absolutely blasted through it in a couple of sittings. Fans of Peter McLean’s THE BURNED MAN series and Jim Butcher’s DRESDEN FILES will love the writing style and setting, while those new to the genre could hardly choose a better starting point. Not only would I heartily recommend picking up a copy, I fully intend to check out THE IRON DRUID CHRONICLES at length while I wait for the sequel to Ink & Sigil.
I've stopped and started a number of times on this book. I loved, and adored, the Iron Druid series. But something here just isn't grabbing my fancy.
I love this author's work, so I know I'll come back to it someday - but for now, it's just okay.
Lots of people are going to love this though!
This cover looked gorgeous but the story really fell flat for me. Perhaps a different review is where to find the true answer that you seek. Alwasy get a second opinion,.
I am one of those who have never read Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid series, but that will be changing soon. Ink & Sigil was a gloriously fun romp through the same general world as the Iron Druid series. I I found it engaging, well fleshed out, and entirely believable. I really enjoyed the references to shows, books, etc that I have seen or read.
The characters in Ink & Sigil resonated well with me and, though it took me a little bit to really feel attached to Al, I ended up really enjoying him and his relationships with the others. Buck and Nadia were especially fun to read in scenes with Al, since the three of them were able to poke fun at each other in a way that felt like family. Much of the humor that I found in this book was in how these characters related to each other.
The pace maybe started a little bit slow, but it didn’t take long for me to really get into a groove. I may have felt a little more connected more quickly if I had read any of the Iron Druid books and had even briefly met some of these characters before, but without having read those at this point, I don’t feel like they are at all necessary to really enjoy this.
I can’t wait for the next part of Al MacBharrais’s story!
I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I received a free digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This was fantastic. This book was so well written.
Thank you kindly to the author, the publisher, and NetGalley for this review copy.
I have been a fan of Kevin Hearne for years. Love his Iron Druid series, but Ink & Sigil just feels forced. The actual ideas are beyond cool, and the banter between the characters is good. I guess I was just expecting more.
Great escapist read, but wished the pace was a little faster! I never read Iron Druid so I wasn't as familiar with the universe as others going in, but that was fine! I thought this story was incredibly original and imaginative as someone who really hasn't read much (if any?) urban fantasy. I found it humorous and really enjoyed the characters. I'm looking forward to book 2!
So glad to get back to the world of the Iron Druid (OBERON!). Though I didn't like Al as much as Atticus, I still really enjoyed it. Great story with great mechanics in this one as opposed to the Druid's magic. Definitely want to read more.