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Let’s get one issue out the way – you don’t have to know anything at all about the Iron Druid series, or have first read the books to enjoy this one. It’s an essentially a standalone, with a specific scene added for those of us pining for Atticus and Oberon. So don’t let that consideration get in the way of you acquiring this one.
It’s a packet of fun. I loved the fact that Al is in his mid-sixties and a widower. I am aware that the average hero and heroine are fit young things, full of vim and vigour – but I hadn’t realised just how much that affected their worldview, until I plunged into this adventure alongside dear old Al. He is thoroughly likeable protagonist with plenty of quirks and eccentricities, but the amount of fun between him and a certain naughty hobgoblin is great and helps to leaven the rather sombre subject of kidnapping and trafficking. Humour is always a hit and miss affair, and mostly I chuckled my way through this book – though for some reason, I got a bit fed up with Al’s hacker friend insisting on being called Saxon Codpiece…
Overall, I really enjoyed the story which was well paced, full of action and yet not too full-on to skimp on effectively establishing the main characters – a balance that is harder to achieve than Hearne makes it look. I also loved the magic system, where human Al is given leave to help the Fae by use of magical sigils that are achieved by the spells being sealed through specific inks. It worked well – and this being Hearne, there was also some humour to be had with some of those inks, too. Overall, this was a solid delight and I’m very much looking forward to reading more about Al and his adventures – particularly that curse he’s afflicted with… Highly recommended for fans of quirky urban fantasy adventures featuring eccentric characters. 8/10
I love Kevin Hearne's books, especially his Seven Kennings series which are just superb, so WHY, in a FANTASY novel, does he feel the need to include references to current events with a decidedly 'woke' slant on things. Kevin, its YOUR fantasy world - if I wanted to read a book slagging off Trump, men, and the male patriarchy in general I'd have read the Guardian instead.
Leave the woke stuff out and concentrate on just being a very good writer please.
I tried the Iron Druid Chronicles once but did not finish the book. I still have I and will give it another go. Ink and Sigil grabbed my attention from the word go. A good mix of protagonists, the humour of Glasgow and its population is caught spot on. Give it a go please.
This book is just as gripping as the Iron Druid. If you liked that, then you should enjoy this too. The Iron Druid himself even makes a cameo appearance. Top marks for the author finding a way to go in a new direction with a fresh set of characters and storyline, whilst maintaining enough elements from the original Iron Druid universe.
The story goes along at a nice pace. There is sufficient texture to the characters that they come alive. I enjoyed the location details as it is set mainly in my native U.K. A hobgoblin seemed a suitable replacement for Oberon, with a different sense of humour. I look forward to the next novel in this series.
When such notable Scottish authors as Iain Banks and Ian Rankin publicly worry about the difficulty of trying to write in the Glasgow vernacular, American authors really ought to take note. Kevin Hearne admits he has only visited Glasgow once and it shows, the attempts at writing Glaswegian are very ill considered. In addition to some pretty poor attempts at imitating speech, Glaswegians don't write in vernacular they speak in it, and an English accented voice simulator definitely won't throw in the odd word of Glaswegian. Americans will probably find the language more entertaining than Brits and those of us who actually know the west of Scotland.
All of which is a bit of a shame because the story is fun and I enjoyed it. The use of real locations in Glasgow (down to there actually being a print shop on High Street) is fun and the idea is original. I also liked the fact that the main character can be a bit of a dick at times, it made him more human. The carry over of the Tuatha from the Iron Druid series was welcome, hopefully Fionn mac Cumhaill (Finn McCool) will pop up in future books!
The Glesga patois is very nicely rendered. Far better than the usual attempts. Some of the insults would in real life would have the fists swinging. The locations move it out of the usual fantasy rut. Recommended.
I really did not enjoy the last of the Iron Druid books -- and the feeling was that Hearne didn't enjoy writing it all that much either. But I bought this anyways because when Hearne is on form, he's a properly entertaining writer. This is very much a return to form. Hearne actually likes his protagonist again! And a grumpy old Scots dude and his slightly wild but mostly kind Hob side kick were a delight to meet.
I live where the book is set and am extremely impressed that an American writer nailed the Scottish language and specific setting so very well. This got me into reading other Kevin Hearne books which are sometimes great and sometimes not so great.
Great book, in a world where there are people who enforce treaties which keep the fae out of the mortal world without prior agreement. Step forward the Scottish hero, a hobgoblin and a goth accountant/fighting sizes and the story begins 👍