Book Review: Ink and Shadows by Rhys Ford

Ink and Shadows by Rhys FordTitle: Ink and Shadows
Series: Ink and Shadows, Book 1
Author: Rhys Ford
Genre: Urban Fantasy, M/M Romance
Sensuality Rating: Mild
Source: review copy provided by author
Published: July 7, 2015 by Dreamspinner Press

Kismet Andreas lives in fear of the shadows.

For the young tattoo artist, the shadows hold more than darkness. He is certain of his insanity because the dark holds creatures and crawling things only he can see—monsters who hunt out the weak to eat their minds and souls, leaving behind only empty husks and despair.

And if there’s one thing Kismet fears more than being hunted—it’s the madness left in its wake.

The shadowy Veil is Mal’s home. As Pestilence, he is the youngest—and most inexperienced—of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, immortal manifestations resurrected to serve—and cull—mankind. Invisible to all but the dead and insane, the Four exist between the Veil and the mortal world, bound to their nearly eternal fate. Feared by other immortals, the Horsemen live in near solitude but Mal longs to know more than Death, War and Famine.

Mal longs to be… more human. To interact with someone other than lunatics or the deceased.

When Kismet rescues Mal from a shadowy attack, Pestilence is suddenly thrust into a vicious war—where mankind is the prize, and the only one who has faith in Mal is the human the other Horsemen believe is destined to die.

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Reviewed by: Lesley

Why I Read This Book: The Four Horsemen storyline intrigued me. It seemed like it could be an interesting take on the supernatural/immortal theme. The damaged, tattoo-artist human and the Horseman of Pestilence falling for each other also piqued my interest.

What I Liked: The premise and the world building in this one were unique and nicely done. I liked that the different Immortals and their “Callings” were mixed in with Fae and other supernatural beings behind the Veil. The Horsemen, and the other Immortals we get to see, all have their own personalities and identities aside from their duty and calling which make them more interesting characters.

I really liked the dynamic between the Four Horsemen. Even though there is some strife and tension between some of them, there are moments when their camaraderie and underlying affection shine through. I really liked the scene with Auntie Kay. Ari (War) and Min (Famine) go to great lengths to protect and comfort Mal (Pestilence) while he’s in pain, even though they are the ones who spend the most time antagonizing and criticizing him. I like seeing that bond forming and solidifying.

The relationship between Death and Ari was great. The centuries old push and pull between them was reflected in their chemistry. They are a satisfyingly frustrating pair. You can see the love and desire in both of them, but also the fear of loss and change. The moments where we see Death rely on Ari to pull him out of the darkness inherent in his Calling show why he’s tentative to act on his feelings. I really enjoyed their interactions.

What I Didn’t Like: I didn’t care for the POV in this one. I liked getting to see the perspectives of many of the characters; however, I would have preferred more delineation between changes in POV. For me, it pulled me out of the story when it would abruptly shift mid-scene to a different character’s perspective with no sort of indicator.

Unfortunately, I didn’t love Mal and Kismet. Being a newly called Horseman, Mal is less experience and knowledgeable than everyone else. He’s young and awkward and finding his footing, but sometimes he was more immature than I would have liked. And then there’s Kismet. His storyline is bleak. Really bleak. I think I needed there to be a little bit of light there. Don’t get me wrong, I love a tortured hero. But the only dimly bright spot with Kismet is with Mal, and I don’t think it was enough for me. I found myself clinging to Death and Ari’s romance because Kismet and Mal’s wasn’t working for me.

Overall Impression: While I didn’t care for the main couple, Ink and Shadows presents an engaging Urban Fantasy world with unique characters and a solid plot.

Lesley’s Rating:
3 Frogs

About Brianna: Supermom by day, naughty reader by night. Addicted to chocolate, Twitter, her iPad, her Kindle, and 99¢ Kindle deals. You can follow Brianna on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Instagram.

1 comment:

  1. The Four Horsemen storyline caught my eye too when reading your review!! Bummer about the romance though. I am with you that they need some for of light, right? Great review!


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