INK MAGE opens in dramatic fashion, thrusting the reader head on into a world of warfare and violence. Blood is spilt, heroes are felled, and the homeland of Rina, soon to be Dutches by virtue of her father’s murder, is overrun by the invading Parranese.
Author Victor Gischler’s deep dive into the surreal results in a fast paced fantasy that envelops the reader in a fantastical shroud of magic, monsters and mystical lore from start to finish. Rina’s initial battle alongside the devastating violent and protective Kork in the early stages of the book sets the tone for strong character development and provides a pathway cut through the meaty flesh of invaders towards her first tattoo, spawning the adventure and creating the legend.
Double crosses and questionable allegiances ensue as Rina seeks help from all manner of unlikely sources to rid her homeland of its conquering guests (including gypsies). Aided by a likeable cast including Alem and Tosh, Victor Gischler ensures INK MAGE remains fresh by virtue of varying perspectives and allowing for respective telling of events through differing eyes. This allows for the blend of magic/warfare/and traditional fantasy quest elements to merge seamlessly into the broader tale.
I had the luxury of reading INK MAGE as a single volume and I’m glad that was the case as the pace of story made for a quick read – in serial format, I would’ve been too impatient waiting for each instalment.
I’m keen to see where Victor Gischler takes this series next.