Thursday, April 24, 2014

"Ink Mage" By Victor Gischler

This was a most interesting read. A magic system based mainly on tattoos? Color me intrigued. As it turns out, this has basis in our history, as yantra tattooing. Yantra tattoos are supposed to be a sort of good luck charm, or bestow magical powers, much like in this book. The practice is two millennia old. You can head on over to Wikipedia to learn more here.

Ink Mage certainly follows some Game of Thrones clichés. Almost rape? Check. People getting killed left and right? Double check. Turncoat traitors? You betcha.

While I understand the need to follow some of the fantasy industry's "swing" into darker themes and gray morality, there was a certain amount of eye-rolling on my part in the first chapters of this book. Of three people who were killed in the first part, I only felt the slightest twinge of pity for one of them. The brutality didn't ring true for me, because I wasn't invested in the characters at all (at that early point). When Bran Stark made his fall from the window, I felt awful. And that was in the early pages of Game of Thrones, and he didn't even die.

It is unfair of me to compare this book with one that is almost a masterpiece. But by injecting grit into a fantasy in the form of blasé violence that didn't quite seem realistic, this intriguing book commenced with a thud.

The Plot:
Nineteen year old "Little Duchess" Rina Veraiin lives a life of luxury. As daughter of the Duke of Klaar, she spends much of her time shopping, and occasionally dueling with her tutor, Kork. Until one day, a Perranese army arrives to take over her father's duchy, and suddenly she is on the run from an enemy within her own palace. She seeks help from a wizard at the top of a nearby mountain, who bestows upon her with his last breaths a tattoo across her shoulders and spine, making her an Ink Mage. Her mission is to gather every tattoo she can muster, and then seek vengeance on those who stole Klaar from her.

The book has more viewpoints, but the plot mostly follows Rina and her journey of vengeance. I didn't have much empathy with Rina, as she felt a bit hollow, aloof, and just plain detached. She goes through a lifetime of heartache in the first stages of the book, and she doesn't appear any worse for it. In fact, her magic tattoos can take away pain, but I didn't know they took away emotional pain. If I was put through what she was, I'd be a wreck.

There was a certain scene in the book that the narrator called her a "monster", after killing to defend herself, and hunting down those who would betray her. Hold up. I thought that a monster was one who killed innocent people, not those who would kill or torture her. This interjection may have been from Rina's mind, but still. If a man did the same thing, would anyone dare narrate that he was a monster? No. This is a major double standard. I loathe this crapola.

Overall, the story was entertaining, and I read it in two nights. But there were major parts of the story that didn't ring true with me, and the ending felt rather rushed. Would I read it again? Perhaps. Will I read the sequel and hope that the crap with Rina is cleared up? Yes, but I will not read it as a Serial, as this book was released. I understand the angst with the first readers of this Serial, because he fed them a bunch of cliffies. Will I throw my Kindle across the room if Rina calls herself a monster again? Most definitely.

Rating: 3 of 5 Stars for forced darkness, but an overall interesting tale.

Content: 18+ for gratuitous violence, an almost rape scene, and other sex scenes.

Page Count: 388 pages

No comments:

Post a Comment

Feel Free to Express Yourself:
Agree? Disagree? Have something to add?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...