Thanks to NetGalley and Del Rey for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: August 25th, 2020
Synopsis: New York Times bestselling author Kevin Hearne returns to the world of his Iron Druid Chronicles in a spin-off series about an eccentric master of rare magic solving an uncanny mystery in Scotland.
Al MacBharrais is both blessed and cursed. He is blessed with an extraordinary white moustache, an appreciation for craft cocktails—and a most unique magical talent. He can cast spells with magically enchanted ink and he uses his gifts to protect our world from rogue minions of various pantheons, especially the Fae.
But he is also cursed. Anyone who hears his voice will begin to feel an inexplicable hatred for Al, so he can only communicate through the written word or speech apps. And his apprentices keep dying in peculiar freak accidents. As his personal life crumbles around him, he devotes his life to his work, all the while trying to crack the secret of his curse.
But when his latest apprentice, Geordie, turns up dead in his Glasgow flat, Al discovers evidence that Geordie was living a secret life of crime. Now Al is forced to play detective—while avoiding actual detectives who are wondering why death always seems to follow Al. Investigating his apprentice’s death will take him through Scotland’s magical underworld, and he’ll need the help of a mischievous hobgoblin if he’s to survive.
I was a little disappointed with Scourged, the last book of the Iron Druid series, however, it was one of my favorites in the genre of urban fantasy, so when I heard that Hearne was returning to that world, I was quite excited.
First, it was refreshing having the main character older and not in his prime, although Al certainly doesn’t let age slow him down. He’s a great character who’s easy to like which I did immediately. The dialogue and story are full of Hearne’s trademark humor which helps move things along. The one issue I had was I found the villain to be rather ho-hum, but the other characters are engaging and I loved their interactions with Al. Hearne does a wonderful job building upon the mythology he created in his previous series, and this new magic that’s introduced is quite intriguing.
Overall, I quite enjoyed Ink & Sigil and I’m looking forward to seeing where this spin-off series goes. Do be warned that Hearne uses authentic Scottish dialect unsparingly, but there’s a helpful guide at the beginning. I unhesitatingly recommend this to fans of urban fantasy and mythology who like colorful characters, rich world building, and plenty of humor.