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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 members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    812
  • 4 Stars
    603
  • 3 Stars
    245
  • 2 Stars
    48
  • 1 Stars
    21

Performance

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    939
  • 4 Stars
    479
  • 3 Stars
    139
  • 2 Stars
    24
  • 1 Stars
    13

Story

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    709
  • 4 Stars
    555
  • 3 Stars
    247
  • 2 Stars
    59
  • 1 Stars
    28
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  • Overall
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  • Story

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

41 of 41 people found this review helpful

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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.

51 of 52 people found this review helpful

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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.

39 of 40 people found this review helpful

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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. <br/><br/>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. <br/><br/>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.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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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

26 of 29 people found this review helpful

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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.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Needs a better editor...

The basic idea of ink magic is good, but the writing is not very strong. There are lots of unnecessary adverbs, passive voice, and much of the story seems flighty and hollow without any real explanation.

I listen to a lot of audio books, and enjoy them. In this case, it's a bad sign when you have to listen to the first 3 hours 3-4 times to figure out what's going on, because the writing isn't holding your attention.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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

19 of 23 people found this review helpful

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Song of Ice and Fire, but tried too hard

The premise of this story is good and the storyline entertaining, but it's written like a YA novel version of GoT and other ice and fire books completely with unnecessary sex scenes that add nothing to the story. It just felt very forced. I'm interested in knowing what happens to the characters, but I won't be purchasing any more of this series or the author's books.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Engaging, but unexceptional fantasy novel

Of the fantasy books I've read and enjoyed, I feel like this one was a decidedly average read. Nothing too great or too terrible . I enjoyed the story for sure, but there wasn't anything especially great or new about it. The concept of ink magic is a little different from magic in other books I've read, and I enjoyed the new take on magic, but there's not enough depth in the book's exploration of ink magic to keep the reader interested for longer than the book's short length. The plot is pretty straightforward and well-paced, which made the book an easy read, but I'd have preferred more nuance and complexity to the story. The characters aren't entirely 2-D stereotypes, but don't expect a lot of depth there. The ending felt a little sudden and underwhelming, but not too bad.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
  • Scottish Lady
  • 05-30-17

fabulous fantasy adventure

A spell binding story thats impossible to put down.. very enjoyable.. well read with passion.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Kindle Customer
  • 03-05-17

magic unusual

very well written book and a very enjoyable audio to
listen too, can thoroughly recommendation

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Sarra
  • 08-24-16

Enjoyed

It's an easy listen to.
Think squash buckling hero,the drama and humor with serious story and enough gore to keep you interested ,all this but the hero actually a heroin.
Downloaded 2nd and 3rd book together

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Farnham_red
  • 09-20-17

Good book I enjoyed it

Where does Ink Mage rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Its in the Good but not exceptional category. Not as good as say Anne Bishops Black Jewel series or the Kate Daniels books by Illona Andrews but definitely above average.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Ink Mage?

The book has an interesting idea of tattoos giving magical powers. Most of the characters are still believable though . I like the way the characters grow throughout the book, and in fact the whole series

What about Fiona Hardingham’s performance did you like?

Its just perfect, I just loved her voice and she had good timing and kept the voices of the major characters distinct it was also nice to have books read in an English accent rather than American you usually get in this Genre

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Not really - some funny scenes but you did get involved with the characters

Any additional comments?

This book can be read stand alone but its the first of a trilogy so its worth continuing.<br/> The second book is a bit disappointing as its not a complete tale but more a setup for the much better final book which is also very good.

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  • eddie19
  • 02-18-16

good opening book

good start to a new trilogy, more detail about whole picture and less detailed sex would have been appreciated.

hopefully 2nd book will fill the gaps and expand the story line.