• Ink Mage

  • A Fire Beneath the Skin, Book 1
  • By: Victor Gischler
  • Narrated by: Fiona Hardingham
  • Length: 11 hrs and 11 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (2,706 ratings)

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Ink Mage  By  cover art

Ink Mage

By: Victor Gischler
Narrated by: Fiona Hardingham
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Publisher's summary

In the first installment of the A Fire Beneath the Skin trilogy, the city of Klaar has never fallen. No enemy has ever made it across the Long Bridge or penetrated the city's mighty walls. Even when a powerful invading army shows up at the gates, the duke and his daughter, Rina Veraiin, are certain that it poses little threat.

But they are cruelly betrayed from within and, in a horrific spasm of violence, the city is brought to its knees.

With the help of her bodyguard, Kork, the battle-trained young Rina narrowly escapes the slaughter and makes her way to the lair of an ancient sorcerer - the Ink Mage - who gifts her with a strange, beautiful set of magical tattoos.

Now a duchess in exile, Rina sets out on a quest to reclaim what is rightfully hers, aided by a motley assortment of followers who will help her in her cause - some for noble reasons and others for their own dark purposes.

With the enemy's agents nipping at her heels, Rina must learn to harness her new and startling magical powers if she is to assert her rightful place as ruler of Klaar.

©2014 Victor Gischler (P)2015 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.

What listeners say about Ink Mage

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,343
  • 4 Stars
    886
  • 3 Stars
    353
  • 2 Stars
    82
  • 1 Stars
    42
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,500
  • 4 Stars
    696
  • 3 Stars
    203
  • 2 Stars
    35
  • 1 Stars
    27
Story
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,184
  • 4 Stars
    788
  • 3 Stars
    360
  • 2 Stars
    87
  • 1 Stars
    47

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

mixed feelings

I have mixed feelings. I loved the premise and the idea of ink magic, but some plot details were questionable. I couldn't help but think of the book as a young adult fiction, but then sex scenes would rudely intervene.
Voice acting was good, but voices of certain characters were too unpleasant.

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66 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Good Chars, Weak Story

Pros: I really enjoyed the characters! I felt like they had good motivation, they were well rounded! I didn't even mind the love triangle, because I loved the rival girl, I wanted her to succeed! It's great to see that characters that are terrible in one circumstance, are actually unparalleled in another situation, and I love that! I felt that they interacted well with each other. And even a number of the side characters draw me in, I want to know more about them even as they die!

Cons: I really couldn't get into the story. I felt no pull to figure out what happened next in the world. And I find the magic tattoo system a little basic and too all-powerful. So many situations felt like "And then she used magic and won!" for my liking.

Conclusion: Fun, but I won't be listening to the rest of the series

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58 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Giant space flea from nowhere. .

An interesting premise, but the story runs on weak plot coupons, it's gratuitously vulgar, and the climactic battle is against a character with no history, no personality, and no connection to anything else that's going on.

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48 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Got my attention fast!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

This is the first book I've listen to by this author and I must say I was surprised. I would recommend this book simply because this story is an easy read, I moves along, it runs along a good formula that SciFi writers have been using for a long time.

What about Fiona Hardingham’s performance did you like?

She captures the individual's personalities with her performance. I can picture the individual's in my mind and that takes talent. Great choice for this book.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Well actually I did, though it made a very long night. So I listened to it twice

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27 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Meh

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Not especially. The story was nothing special, and had a lot of eye-rolling or cringy elements.

Has Ink Mage turned you off from other books in this genre?

No.

Have you listened to any of Fiona Hardingham’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I haven't, but her performance gave character to an otherwise dull story.

Did Ink Mage inspire you to do anything?

It inspired me not to listen to the rest of the series.

Any additional comments?

I mean. Like I said it made me roll my eyes. A lot. Rina, the main character, was completely naked several times for no real reason other than that the author felt like it. She seemed inexplicably attracted to the character Alem, who seems like he's the author's self-insert, and is possessed of no personality or likable traits to speak of. Furthermore, the other female character traveling with Rina and Co., Maurizan, is also conveniently infatuated with Alem the Stable Boy just 'cause, which causes unnecessary tension and cattiness between Rina and Maurizan. It made me cringe to have to listen to Rina's internal jealousy, and Alem's "woe is me" whining over how he'll never get the girl he's in love with because he's not good enough. And he's right; he ain't good enough. I think the author also could have done a better job detailing Rina's need for vengeance, but she's too busy pining over Alem to be sad about her dead parents after the first couple of chapters.

The ancillary story lines were a lot more interesting. I liked the character of Tosh--his emotions were more believable than most of the other characters. I'd have been a lot more engaged reading a story about the prostitutes overthrowing a foreign occupation without the rest of it. Even Braisly's character was at least entertaining--he's a gross creep, but he's an honest gross creep, and he actually does something useful to further the story, unlike Alem.

My final issue was with the "evil invaders" who are obviously coded to be Asian, maybe Fantasy Chinese or Mongolian. Like, come on Author Man. For real? Like. Really? Dude. I feel like I need to lay down for a while after finishing this audiobook, because it was so exhausting to sit through.

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24 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Interesting concept and to me a pretty great main

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Yes, but only about 40% as i didnt enjoy following the other characters much.

What did you like best about this story?

The way the ink magic worked

What does Fiona Hardingham bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Mostly just what any decent narrator does.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

no, they would screw it up, have no doubts :P

Any additional comments?

I HATE when a book or series or anything skips between characters... its a constant kick in the face to me, just as im getting into it BAM and im kicked out and now following a character that I dont care about, only wishing i could go back and see what happens with the main character instead.

Most of this book is pretty good and while the side characters arent bad or uninteresting, to me its just such a immersion breaker.

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20 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Ink Mage Stats

Plot- The plot was typical, nothing new, but neither was it poor. (3.5 stars)
Characters - The Characters were two-dimensional and lacked in complexity. They will often do actions for seemingly no reason or that make no sense with their character. (An unimaginative 1 star)
Storytelling - The author's style is sometimes terse often lacking in description and detail and overall feel is that of a new author that has potential, yet is still working on honing his craft. (2.5 stars)
World Building - This review is mixed, it is apparent that Ink mage is set in a rich and interesting world, however, Gischler is too often unable to convey the world to his readers. (3 stars)
Magic System- This is unquestioningly the high point of Ink Mage: A well thought out and interesting system. (5 stars)
Morality rating- Ink Mage contains and abundance of sex, language, and violence.

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9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Lives up to the genre

This story had everything your typical fantasy needs war, magic, sex. The story unfolds in a back and forth style which I happen to enjoy. Always keeps you wanting the story to continue so you can find out what happens next. I am looking forward to the next read even though I've read that it's more plot moving with no conclusions and a total cliff hanger, I don't care. I am a believer that not every story should come delivered in a tight little package. I thoroughly enjoyed the narrator and I'm glad that the same narrator is doing the others. I appreciate continuity. Great read. Definitely recommend if your lover of the genre.

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8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Crass and Offensive

Would you try another book from Victor Gischler and/or Fiona Hardingham?

Far too much sex and profanity to ever be able to enjoy the idea of the story. I tried to tough it out for a while until it got to the point of being like soft porn. Any good concept was destroyed by the pointless vulgarity.

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7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Captivating

I liked the adventurous story good narrator was disappointed on how fast the story moved along. the final battle also seemed to end to quickly. overall was a decent book to listen to.

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7 people found this helpful