by Kevin Hearne
Series: Ink & Sigil #1
Narrator: Luke Daniels
Length: 10 hours and 11 minutes
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Source: Publisher, Purchase
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Narration: 5 cups Speed: 1.2x
Author Kevin Hearne returns to the world of the 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, Gordie, turns up dead in his Glasgow flat, Al discovers evidence that Gordie was living a secret life of crime. Now Al is forced to play detective--while avoiding actual detectives who are wondering why death seems to always 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.
Set in the same world as the Iron Druid Chronicles, Ink & Sigil written by Kevin Hearne and narrated by Luke Daniels takes us to Scotland. There it introduces us to Al MacBharrais and his motley crew. Hearne delivered a fantastic first in Ink & Sigil series that left me grinning.
It had raisins in it, so that was bloody daft, as raisins are ill-omened abominations and he should have known better.– Al MacBharrais, Ink & Sigil
Hearne has this magical ability to weave stories and characters you want more of. Our protagonist, Al, is in his sixties and cursed. He can create magic using paper & ink. Spells to hide, spells to see, heal and more. As for the curse? Anyone who hears his voice feels an inexplicable hatred for Al. Because of this he communicates through the written word or speech apps, particularly if he plans to encounter that person again. He also has difficulty keeping an apprentice.
When Gordie, his latest apprentice, turns up dead, Al discovers evidence that Gordie was living a secret life of crime. What he finds in Gordie’s home alarms him and dons a detective hat to find answers. That is after he gets his new flat mate situated. ?
The world-building is complex and rich, but Hearne allows the reader to enjoy the discovery as the story unfolds. There is magic and keepers of sorts. Al with his unique mustache is a Sigil Agent. He runs a shop and has a manager named Nadia. She also acts as the muscle and I absolutely adored her from her mannerism to snark. There are other agents around the globe who we met briefly. I found them all to be memorable and can imagine tales with them.
One of my favorite characters was a hobgoblin named Buck Foi. He enjoys a stolen beer and has recently discovered Netflix. He made me laugh so hard I had tears streaming down my face.
The mystery was interesting and introduced us to trolls, pit fighting, and magic. It worked as the perfect backdrop as we met characters and learned of their world. Hearne even treated fans to a brief but memorable encounter with a druid and his dog.
I am curious about Al’s curse. Questions were raised that have me looking forward to more stories in the series. Hearne has been contracted for three books in this series but hopes to have nine. (yes, yes, yes) So be sure to snag a copy. I got my pre-order this morning and am waiting for my hardcover edition.
I am soooo glad I listened. The language is a wee bit tricky and I slowed my listen down to 1.2x. I would have butchered the pronunciation of these names. Luke Daniel’s narration was superb. I have long been a fan of Daniel’s narration, particularly when it comes to urban fantasy and science fiction. His range of voices and gusto added a whole extra layer to Hearne’s stories. In fact, I have listened to all of Hearne’s books on audio.
Fans of magic, memorable characters, and fantastical worlds will love Ink & Sigil. I laughed, appreciated the references and nods to things relevant in our world today, even as Hearne offered a delightful escape.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
I’m right in the middle of this one and hugely enjoying it:). Thank you for a cracking review – I’ve been reading this one, but I’m very strongly tempted to the audio version of the next one!
I am excited you are enjoying it. I bought the book too, but love the audio.
Angela @ Simply Angela
I’m off to Audible to pick this up! Great review!
Enjoy! I look forward to your hearing your thoughts 🙂
OH, I enjoyed this one so much!! I love that it’s in the ID world, but is filled with more lightness and humor. Al and Buck… love them already. I actually read this one – a first for me and Kevin Hearne’s books, and with all of the tricky dialect and dialogue, it actually worked out. But I love LD and have the audiobook too. I’ll give it a listen soon. Great times!!
My hardcover copy arrives today so I will be reading it as well.
awesome review. makes me want to read it too. great job
Cool. My job here is done 🙂
Sounds like another series that I can anticipate. Must finish Iron Druid first. 🙂
Yes… one a month. 🙂
Anne - Books of My Heart
I’m glad to know you enjoyed this one so much. Fantastic review! I’m still working on the Iron Druid series.
I am jealous you are still experiencing your first with Atticus!
Another good series from this author. I really need to give is book a try. I am going to add this to my wish list.
Sweet. You can dive in here or grab the Iron Druid Chronicles first.
I am aware of your love of this author and narrator too. I am tempted 🙂
They complete me… LOL ? Yes, I am part of their fandom.
Glad you enjoyed this one so much! Can we just gush about that cover! I love it! I’ve never read the Iron Druid Chronicles but this really does sound awesome!
Great review! 🙂
Yes, I am following the designer…it is all hand done!
I really need to try this author!
What? I thought for sure you had read the Iron Druid Chronicles. Yes…. you totally need to!!