Series: The Asylum Tales, #2
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Published by Harper Voyager on May 7, 2013
Pages: 384 pages
Reviewed by: Kristina
Some mildly graphic sex scenes
The dark and dangerous follow-up that continues the adventures of a magical tattoo artist begun in Angel's InkDEAD MAN’S DEAL continues to expand the excellent dark and gritty world of The Asylum Tales series with even more magic and mayhem. While there were moments that slogged due to necessary exposition the revelations about the world building and dangerous action kept me invested in the story.
In a world where elves, faeries, trolls, werewolves, and vampires swim free in a sea of humanity, sometimes you need an edge. Looking for a little love? Need some luck? Desperate for revenge? Gage can give you what you need. The most talented tattoo artist in town, he knows the right symbol and the right mix of ingredients and ink to achieve your heart's desire. One tattoo is all it takes. But remember, everything has its price. . . .
Gage learned that lesson long ago, in ways he'd rather not remember. But the cruel and powerful wizards in the dreaded Ivory Towers he escaped aren't about to let him forget. Though Gage has managed to stay out of sight, he can't outrun the past forever.
The wizards know Gage is using forbidden magic, and they intend to punish him for his transgressions. Too bad if innocent humans and monsters-entire cities-get in the way. They will quell a nascent magical uprising and Gage will be the sacrifice they need. First, though, they have to find him . . .
In DEAD MAN’S DEAL more of Gage’s dark past as a student wizard in the Ivory Towers (which is basically Hogwarts) is revealed. His experiences are truly horrific and demonstrate just how horrible and sadistic wizards are in this world especially with how they treat their young students. Gage’s past which involves being taken from his family at a young age, being tortured, forced into hiding, and not allowed to use magic under pain of death would make many people turn into anti-social misanthropes. Gage is not one of those people. He’s a survivor in the truest sense and he works with what little magic he can use to help others. Gage is also one of the most loyal characters in urban fantasy and his loyalty to his friends and family is one of his most admirable traits.
Gage’s motley crew of friends grows bigger in DEAD MAN’S DEAL. We learn more about Gideon, the wizard assigned to Gage to ensure he doesn’t use magic as a sort of probation set on him. Their relationship in ANGEL’S INK was almost antagonistic and grew to a begrudging understanding. In DEAD MAN’S DEAL they undergoes a larger transformation towards friendship especially after some revelations about Gideon’s situation come to light. Gage’s relationship with his girlfriend, Trixie (an elf) continues to be a very sweet romance. They really fit well together and in DEAD MAN’S DEAL we are privy to not only some great banter but some steamy sex scenes in the tattoo parlor.
The Asylum Tales is a fun series with tons of quirky characters with fascinating backstories. For example, Trixie’s backstory involving a love triangle of sorts with the elven king and queen would be wonderful to see from her perspective. Aside from my yearning for some Trixie POVs, DEAD MAN’S DEAL pumps up the danger for Gage and his friends making way for what should be a really fun third book which currently has no release date.