This second book of the Ink & Sigil series continues the story of Sigil Agent Al MacBharrais. He’s joined by hobgoblin Buck Foi, his accountant Nadia, receptionist Gladys Who Has Seen Some Shite (and who may not be who she seems), and of course his perplexing curses. Hearne’s expert use of realism, witty wordplay, and specially blended mythologies make Paper & Blood a fun read.
Called by Apprentice Chen Ya-ping after her Master and a second agent disappeared, Al and Buck travel down under to Melbourne and help solve the mystery. With the help of friends known and new, they don’t have to do it alone. Once in Australia, Buck creates a legendary wizard van to help the trio get to where two Agents, Shua-ha Lin and Wu Mei-Ling, were last seen in the Blue Mountains. There they are joined by the Iron Druid as well as Oberon and Starbuck who come up from Tasmania and are an integral part of this tale. Both Gladys and Nadia can’t stay away either. Working together, everyone tries to limit the body count and free Australia of a creature not seen in a very long time.
This story is one more part of a greater tale. I’m thankful Hearne found ways to complete the manuscript in the middle of a global pandemic. My tiny quibbles about the flow of several interludes and overall arc development are ones I can easily look past. The timing also makes one short conversation between Al and Ya-ping even more powerful.
This special combination of characters and story characteristics create an enjoyable follow up to the first book, Ink & Sigil.
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