Review: Demons, Ink
Sometimes, all you have to do is ask, and someone will listen.
That’s essentially what happened to me for this book. The author threw out a tweet about needing reviews for his books that made me laugh, and so I told him I’d oblige. Figured out later that the book of his that I bought was self-published and recently entered into the SPFBO that Mark Lawrence runs. Funny enough, he got lumped into the same initial group of books as ALONG THE RAZOR’S EDGE (EBR Review). So, while I’d suggest that Mr. Snyder not hold his breath at the possibility of moving on to Round 2… this was still a pretty good book, and something I’m glad I found my way to.
DEMONS, INK seems to be a stand-alone book, but I’d be highly surprised if the author doesn’t write some more follow-up to it. It just has that feel to it. There’s some introduction, but by no means is it an origin story. There’s some backstory that comes to light, but mostly it’s just a hard-hitting urban fantasy novel that was a lot of fun to read.
Jack Nyx has demons, and not all of the fluffy, lovable type. They’re bound to his body through the ink of tattoos, and give him access to their various powers. He has one that’s super violent. One that makes him seem irresistible. Another… well, I don’t want to give away all of his secrets. Jack is a man for hire, and he’s about to take a job that he really shouldn’t. Off to find a missing kid. I find it somewhat humorous that I’m writing this review on the back of my last review that also had a plot about a guy that was… off to find a missing kid. Difference is, this one was actually good.
Jack was an easy character for me to dive into. He’s tough. He’s sarcastic. He likes to get things done. He’s got a conscience, but he’s also got a price for just about everything. In several ways, Jack reminded me of a darker version of Harry Dresden. Not fully, mind you, but in some ways. That might only be because I don’t read all that much urban fantasy and don’t have another comparison ready-to-hand, so don’t take that comparison too literally.
DEMONS, INK brings us Jack Nyx as he gets a pummeling from every side and does his best to stay afloat. Fun urban fantasy, well written.
The first person POV made characterization easy and straight-forward in this one. Still, even the secondary characterization of Jack’s boss, his old boyfriend (whose soul Jack keeps in a mason jar), and his current witch friend, Ivy Sosye, are pretty well drawn and easy to identify as they come and go throughout the story. And they definitely come and go. From the very beginning, people and events come one after the other and push the plot along at a break-neck pace. Just when you think this poor guy is going to get a breather, some thing or some one else comes as him. There was a point in time when I began to wonder just how long the hits would keep coming. I mean there has to be a limit to the amount of damage that this poor guy can take. Might have pushed my suspension of disbelief a little but, but I held on through to the end.
The one aspect of the story that I think could have been better was the detail around the rules governing demons and their manipulation. So, in a sense, I wanted some more info-dump. I know. That seems a bit odd for me to be saying. Thing is though, as I approached the middle of the book, I began to lose some of the steam I held for the story because it felt like I didn’t know what was going on or what was going to work and what might blow up in his face. I didn’t have that base layer of the rules of magic in this guy’s universe to really just kick back and watch everything go up in flames without questioning things along the way. As is, it’s a pretty short read. I’m thinking something along the lines of an additional 10-15% to fill out the magic system some, and give a little more reality to the city surrounding them, and this would have been a REALLY solid book.
I think I also would have liked a little more of a denouement as well. Thing cuts off pretty abruptly after the climax. Left me feeling… a little short changed. Still, I fully enjoyed this read. Loads of fun, fast, and engaging. It’s a simple thing to say that I’d totally read something else by this guy. Wish him loads of luck in this year’s SPFBO.
- Recommended Age: 18+, mostly for language and violence
- Language: Strong and frequent
- Violence: Fairly violent and gory
- Sex: Some tension and a quick, somewhat detailed scene