Saturday, 13 August 2016

Ink Mage by Victor Gischler

Title: Ink Mage
Series: A Fire Beneath the Skin (#1)
Author: Victor Gischler
From: Netgalley
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 29th April 2014
Challenges: 2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, 2016 Blogger Shame, Summer COYER 2016
Links: Goodreads - Amazon 
Synopsis (from Goodreads): In the first installment of the A Fire Beneath the Skin trilogy, the city of Klaar has never fallen. No enemy has ever made it across the Long Bridge or penetrated the city’s mighty walls. Even when a powerful invading army shows up at the gates, the duke and his daughter, Rina Veraiin, are certain that it poses little threat. But they are cruelly betrayed from within and, in a horrific spasm of violence, the city is brought to its knees.With the help of her bodyguard, Kork, the battle-trained young Rina narrowly escapes the slaughter and makes her way to the lair of an ancient sorcerer—the Ink Mage—who gifts her with a strange, beautiful set of magical tattoos. Now a duchess in exile, Rina sets out on a quest to reclaim what is rightfully hers, aided by a motley assortment of followers who will help her in her cause—some for noble reasons and others for their own dark purposes. With the enemy’s agents nipping at her heels, Rina must learn to harness her new and startling magical powers if she is to assert her rightful place as ruler of Klaar.

Ink Mage is one of those books that I just kept looking at and thinking about reading but then I never actually got around to it. So having finally got around to it I'm annoyed at myself for taking so long. While definitely Epic Fantasy there was something more easy reading about it. There wasn't a huge cast of characters and most of the politics surrounded on Duchy, and while I get the impression that that is very much a "for now" thing, for a first book it worked well. 

The magic system itself is still a tiny bit hazy for me. I completely get (and love!) the Ink Mage side of things itself, its the Wizardry bit that I'm still a little confused about. However the latter isn't massively important to the story at the moment, and I was far more interested in the unique magic system surrounding Rina and the Ink Mages. It was well crafted, interesting and worked really well. 

I liked that things weren't quite black and white in the book. Some of Brisley's actions were suspect, and Maurizan (hope I spelt her name right!) seemed to be motivated by completely the wrong thing at times. Even the main character, Rina, had a few moments of blood lust that made her seem a little less heroic. It did make the characters more real though, and more falliable as their ages would suggest. 

While the romantic element of the book went the way I wanted it to, I wasn't sure I completely bought into it. However Rina did give some thought about how it could or couldn't work politically in the future, so I'll forgive that one! In fact the whole romantic plot was secondary and only added to the story rather than powering it on. 

This was a great read, I'm looking forward to reading more!