Review of Ink & Sigil by Kevin Hearne
The playful and absurd are presented as everyday occurrences, and supernatural events are regularly intermingled with detective work with a twist.
In this first book of Kevin Hearne's new (published last week) Ink & Sigil series, patterns and inks have power; hobgoblins are insufferably mischievous but in rare cases redeemable; all manner of creatures coexist in and visit our world (although humans are generally unaware of this); and some unknown creature or group with power and greed is compromising the sacred old ways.
Hearne offers a playful, action-packed, magical, layered modern-day London. Al MacBharrais is a widower (who adored his wife) who uses unconventional methods to right wrongs, to ferret out those betraying his craft's secrets for nefarious purposes, and to protect those he is loyal to.
The book takes a turn into real-life, weighty issues such as human trafficking, government corruption, and gun control, while the characters' banter and affection for each other keeps you rolling right along.
I thought this was great. The playful and absurd are presented as everyday occurrences, and supernatural events are regularly intermingled with detective work with a twist. There's also lots of attitude and sass.
The Scottish speech patterns were fantastic (but what a job for the copy editor!). The backtracking to the start of Nadia's involvement in the situation is wonderful; other brief side stories (Iron Druid, for example; or how Al processes patience/personal space/snappish behavior/frustrations) felt somewhat beyond the scope for the moment. And is the man foraging in the woods in the white suit (who I therefore pictured as Tom Wolfe) going to come back in the next book? If not, what the heck was that about? (I wonder if these might be Iron Druid Chronicles references that I'm missing since I haven't yet read those books.)
I received an advance reader copy of this book from NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review.
What did you think?
The tone of the book often reminded me of The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee, which I also loved.
A minor but delightful reference: Al suggests Terry Pratchett books to the newly reading hobgoblin in what feels like a perfect book-recommendation-within-a-book moment.
This title was recently listed in the Greedy Reading List Three Offbeat Series I Just Started and Love.