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Kevin Hearne returns to the world of the Iron Druid Chronicles in book two of a spin-off series about an eccentric master of rare magic solving an uncanny mystery in Scotland. There’s only one Al MacBharrais: Though other Scotsmen may have dramatic mustaches and a taste for fancy cocktails, Al also has a unique talent. He’s a master of ink and sigil magic. In his gifted han Kevin Hearne returns to the world of the Iron Druid Chronicles in book two of a spin-off series about an eccentric master of rare magic solving an uncanny mystery in Scotland. There’s only one Al MacBharrais: Though other Scotsmen may have dramatic mustaches and a taste for fancy cocktails, Al also has a unique talent. He’s a master of ink and sigil magic. In his gifted hands, paper and pen can work wondrous spells. But Al isn’t quite alone: He is part of a global network of sigil agents who use their powers to protect the world from mischievous gods and strange monsters. So when a fellow agent disappears under sinister circumstances in Australia, Al leaves behind the cozy pubs and cafes of Glasgow and travels to the Dandenong Ranges in Victoria to solve the mystery. The trail to his colleague begins to pile up with bodies at alarming speed, so Al is grateful his friends have come to help—especially Nadia, his accountant who moonlights as a pit fighter. Together with a whisky-loving hobgoblin known as Buck Foi and the ancient Druid Atticus O’Sullivan, along with his dogs, Oberon and Starbuck, Al and Nadia will face down the wildest wonders Australia—and the supernatural world—can throw at them, and confront a legendary monster not seen in centuries.


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Kevin Hearne returns to the world of the Iron Druid Chronicles in book two of a spin-off series about an eccentric master of rare magic solving an uncanny mystery in Scotland. There’s only one Al MacBharrais: Though other Scotsmen may have dramatic mustaches and a taste for fancy cocktails, Al also has a unique talent. He’s a master of ink and sigil magic. In his gifted han Kevin Hearne returns to the world of the Iron Druid Chronicles in book two of a spin-off series about an eccentric master of rare magic solving an uncanny mystery in Scotland. There’s only one Al MacBharrais: Though other Scotsmen may have dramatic mustaches and a taste for fancy cocktails, Al also has a unique talent. He’s a master of ink and sigil magic. In his gifted hands, paper and pen can work wondrous spells. But Al isn’t quite alone: He is part of a global network of sigil agents who use their powers to protect the world from mischievous gods and strange monsters. So when a fellow agent disappears under sinister circumstances in Australia, Al leaves behind the cozy pubs and cafes of Glasgow and travels to the Dandenong Ranges in Victoria to solve the mystery. The trail to his colleague begins to pile up with bodies at alarming speed, so Al is grateful his friends have come to help—especially Nadia, his accountant who moonlights as a pit fighter. Together with a whisky-loving hobgoblin known as Buck Foi and the ancient Druid Atticus O’Sullivan, along with his dogs, Oberon and Starbuck, Al and Nadia will face down the wildest wonders Australia—and the supernatural world—can throw at them, and confront a legendary monster not seen in centuries.

30 review for Paper & Blood

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lou Jacobs

    Paper & Blood August 23, 2021 Book Review Paper & Blood Kevin Hearne reviewed by Lou Jacobs readersremains.com | Goodreads What we have here is a mystery cleverly tucked into a humorous fantasy mystery. Technically it is the second in a series—designated as Ink & Sigil #2—however it certainly can be enjoyed and devoured as a standalone. Hearne seamlessly weaves the necessary backstory into the beginning of the book. Thank the Gods! and Kevin Hearne. Another chance to re-enter the delightful world of t Paper & Blood August 23, 2021 Book Review Paper & Blood Kevin Hearne reviewed by Lou Jacobs readersremains.com | Goodreads What we have here is a mystery cleverly tucked into a humorous fantasy mystery. Technically it is the second in a series—designated as Ink & Sigil #2—however it certainly can be enjoyed and devoured as a standalone. Hearne seamlessly weaves the necessary backstory into the beginning of the book. Thank the Gods! and Kevin Hearne. Another chance to re-enter the delightful world of the Iron Druid—much to the delight of his legion of fans. This time through the eyes and action of the beguiling Al MacBharrais ( Mac Vare Ish), one of five Sigil Agents in the world, with his territory being Scotland and Europe. His job is to monitor and control visitation of spirits, creatures, and deities from the multiple other planes and pantheons. … especially the various creatures of the Fae. He not only makes and interprets magical contracts, but is able to create special effects and actions through the rendering on Ink “Sigils.” He handcrafts the inks from rare ingredients which instill the latent magic. The Sigils manipulate one’s visual apparatus, sort of hacking the brain. For example: Sigil of Porous Mind leeches away the target’s usual priorities and makes one open to suggestion with the secondary effect of difficulty remembering what happens in the next few minutes. MacBharrais crafts the Sigils on small placards and once revealed to the eyes of the target, result in the desired “beneficial” effect. These are used only to accomplish good for the citizens of earth and protect against the denizens of beings from other planes. … especially rogue elements of the Fae. Al is comfortably entrenched in his Glasgow shop when he receives a phone call from Chen Ya-ping, an apprentice of the sigil agent, Shu-hua, whose territory is Australia. Not only has her master “gone missing,” but also another sigil agent, Mei-ling and her apprentice have disappeared. Apparently, she actually contacted Mei-ling first, since her territory of Taipei was much closer. Both sigil agents simultaneously experienced the “twinges” which amounts to a sudden chill along your spine, accompanied by the sensation someone is screaming in one of your ears. This usually occurs when an uninvited rogue Fae or even God has crossed over into the earth plane. This disturbing signal was coming from the Dandenong Ranges, in the Australian bush. Both agents went to investigate without any further contact from either. What powerful being has tripped the wards of our plane and more importantly: Why? With popular culture embracing “science,” most of humanity dismisses the mystical and magic. Such a terrible mistake to be made, with the elaborate universe created in the mind of Kevin Hearne. Hearne does it again! He weaves a complex narrative filled with magic, wit and whimsy and suspense that leads one down a twisted and exciting pathway filled with creatures from unearthly planes. His masterful world building is astounding . Al and his crew will battle chimeric creatures, composed of body parts of several animals. Their first encounter is an engagement with a creature with the head of a Komodo dragon, forelegs of a praying mantis, fused onto a chassis of a giant tarantula, except the abdomen is covered with the armor of a tortoiseshell. Thankfully Al is accompanied by the Iron Druid himself, along with his two “dugs” —Oberon the Irish Wolfhound and Starbuck the Boston Terrier—both who can understand language and are fierce warriors in their own right. A number of formidable associates reprise their more than supporting roles. Among his eccentric and wacky entourage are his whisky-loving hobgoblin, Buck Foi (who is also wise and talented) and his office manager and bodyguard, Nadia, who happens to be a “battle seer” and usually sheaths herself in a symphony of black. Black lipstick and nail polish accompanies her spiked mohawk, along with her studded choker and belt and black leather corset and boots. And, we can’t forget his Canadian receptionist, Gladys Who Has Seen Some Shite, who certainly is more than she seems. One can never get enough of the over-the-top and ridiculous humor, as our bizarre crew go into battle to save the missing sigil agents. The action and battle scenes are surreal. Thanks to NetGalley and Del Rey books for providing an Uncorrected Proof in exchange for an honest review of this delightful and hilarious gem. (Published at Mystery and Suspense Magazine)

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jane

    4 stars You can read all of my reviews at Nerd Girl Loves Books. Another great book in Hearne's new spinoff of the Iron Druid Chronicles series. This book has Al, Buck, Nadia, an Australian apprentice sigil agent and the Iron Druid tracking down the apprentice's missing mentor and another sigil agent in the Australian Outback. Once they track the general location where the sigil agents went missing, they quickly run into some very strange monsters that are determined to eat and kill their way thro 4 stars You can read all of my reviews at Nerd Girl Loves Books. Another great book in Hearne's new spinoff of the Iron Druid Chronicles series. This book has Al, Buck, Nadia, an Australian apprentice sigil agent and the Iron Druid tracking down the apprentice's missing mentor and another sigil agent in the Australian Outback. Once they track the general location where the sigil agents went missing, they quickly run into some very strange monsters that are determined to eat and kill their way through everyone they face. As the group pushes forward on their quest the big bads become, well, bigger and badder. There's a magical killing field and a seemingly never ending supply of weird monster combinations they must conquer. Not to mention a mercurial god impersonating an Australian wilderness agent and what's up with Gladys, Who Has Seen Some Shite, popping in and out along the trail making mysterious statements and then disappearing? What, exactly, is she? Besides Canadian. This is another fun trip with Al and the gang. Buck is once again grouchy, funny, and occasionally helpful. Nadia doesn't play as big a roll in this book, more the pity. I really like her. The Iron Druid plays a big part in the book, as do his two dogs. This was a fun adventure and I enjoyed the ride with the gang. I can't wait to see how this series ends, which will hopefully solve the mystery of who cursed Al. Twice. If you haven't started reading this series yet, it's not to late to start. The books are quick, easy, entertaining reads that you can read in a weekend. I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine, Del Rey. All opinions are my own.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Carole (Carole's Random Life)

    This review can also be found at https://carolesrandomlife.com/ I really enjoyed this book! I had originally planned to read an ebook copy of this book but I realized that I just had to experience the audiobook first. It was fun to slip back inside its world and I absolutely loved the fact that we are treated with a quick summary of the events from the previous book before diving into this story. (Authors/publishers, please do this more often!) I had a great time with this book! When a fellow sigi This review can also be found at https://carolesrandomlife.com/ I really enjoyed this book! I had originally planned to read an ebook copy of this book but I realized that I just had to experience the audiobook first. It was fun to slip back inside its world and I absolutely loved the fact that we are treated with a quick summary of the events from the previous book before diving into this story. (Authors/publishers, please do this more often!) I had a great time with this book! When a fellow sigil agent disappears, Al and his hobgoblin associate, Buck Foi, head to Australia to see what is going on. He soon runs into his secretary, Gladys, who is obviously more than he originally thought. The investigation really gets underway when Iron Druid, Atticus O’Sullivan arrives to help along with his dogs, Oberon and Starbuck. They make a great team and it was great to see them combine their skills to try to find out what was really going on. The mystery definitely kept me guessing and there was plenty of excitement to go around. I have to admit that I haven’t quite read all of the books in the Iron Druid series yet but I have read enough to be very familiar with the world. Since this is a spin-off series, I didn’t think that there would be any issues so I was really surprised how big of a role Atticus played in this story. I wasn’t lost or anything but if you want to make sure that you avoid all spoilers, it would probably be best to read the books in the Iron Druid series before jumping into this series. Luke Daniels did an amazing job of bringing this story to life. He uses wonderfully distinct voices for all of the various characters so that the dialogue flows naturally. I loved getting the chance to hear him narrate some of the characters that I loved in the Iron Druid series. I love the fact that he is able to add humor and excitement to the story at just the right moments. I am confident that his narration added to my overall enjoyment of this book. I would recommend this book to others. This story is set in a fantastic and interesting world filled with wonderful characters. I will definitely be reading more of this talented author’s work. I received a digital review copy of this book from Random House Publishing Group via NetGalley and purchased a copy of the audiobook.

  4. 4 out of 5

    ☕️Kimberly

    We are back with Al MacBharrais and Buck Foi, his whisky-loving hobgoblin. Al has just finished telling Buck about his curse and the implications when he receives a phone call from a sigil agents’ apprentice. Everyone knows to text him, but each apprentice has the other sigil agents’ phone numbers in the event of an emergency, and indeed, this is an emergency. XX has gone missing in Australia. So Al and Buck travel to Dandenong Ranges in Victoria to solve the mystery. The tale that unfolds had a We are back with Al MacBharrais and Buck Foi, his whisky-loving hobgoblin. Al has just finished telling Buck about his curse and the implications when he receives a phone call from a sigil agents’ apprentice. Everyone knows to text him, but each apprentice has the other sigil agents’ phone numbers in the event of an emergency, and indeed, this is an emergency. XX has gone missing in Australia. So Al and Buck travel to Dandenong Ranges in Victoria to solve the mystery. The tale that unfolds had all the elements I love from this author, along with some twists that both amused and delighted me. As with any urban fantasy, it is important to start at the beginning. If you haven’t read Ink & Sigil, I recommend you begin there. Nadia, joins them. Can you say road trip! Wait until you check out their wheels! Ink & Blood delivered, and I perhaps enjoyed it more than the first, as the world of sigils and magic has been established. It felt like coming home when we arrived in Edinburgh. Hearne brought humor, danger and surprises. Druid Atticus O’Sullivan and his dogs, Oberon and Starbuck, join them, but I will leave you to discover why. Gladys Who.. I have so many questions and gads I need the next installment now, even if this mystery wrapped up. Hearne answered questions, expanded our knowledge of the sigil agents world and their magic. I love the elements of this and the different skills each agent has. Unlike Druids, the sigil agents create magic using the language of sigils. When they write them, it evokes magic. Overall series thread arcs were strengthened while Hearne teased us leaving me with a thirst for more. While the mystery, battles and world building are superb and kept me listening, it is the well developed, unique and complex characters that make this series, the Druid world and heck all of Hearne’s writing, so addictive. He allows the reader/listener to connect and care for each of them. The interaction and banter between this motley crew of adventures and keepers is something you cannot get enough of. Herne weaves in current events, pop culture and thoughtful lessons, reminding us that this story takes place in our world. I bought the novel (and the audiobook), but my first encounter has to be with Luke Daniels narrating the voices. He adds an element to these stories and characters. His unique character voices and the way he enhances the emotions of the story bring it all to life. Hearne and Daniels are the perfect pairing. Now, I am waiting for my book to arrive so that I can read along as I listen for a second time. This series is a keeper. This review was originally posted at Caffeinated Reviewer

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mogsy (MMOGC)

    3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2021/08/23/... Al MacBharrais is back in Paper & Blood by Kevin Hearne, the follow up to Ink & Sigil which introduced our Scottish sigil agent extraordinaire who is in his sixties, but can still work ink magic with the best of them. All he needs is a pen and paper to work some amazing spells. He’s also part of a global network which polices the travel of supernatural beings to and from our mortal plane, which makes his skills come in h 3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2021/08/23/... Al MacBharrais is back in Paper & Blood by Kevin Hearne, the follow up to Ink & Sigil which introduced our Scottish sigil agent extraordinaire who is in his sixties, but can still work ink magic with the best of them. All he needs is a pen and paper to work some amazing spells. He’s also part of a global network which polices the travel of supernatural beings to and from our mortal plane, which makes his skills come in handy as magically binding contracts are needed whenever these magical creatures go, and these can only be worked with certain sigils and special ink. A new adventure begins as Al receives word that a fellow agent had gone missing in Australia while on assignment, leading our protagonist to drop everything and make his way to the Dandenong Ranges in Victoria to investigate the disappearance. Fortunately, he’s got help. Nadia, his accountant who is also a fierce pit fighter, has offered to lend a hand. And of course, this would not be a true sequel without the return of Buck Foi, the mischievous hobgoblin who has also decided to tag along. But the real surprise is perhaps the appearance of Atticus O’Sullivan, also known as the Iron Druid. The ancient one has arrived with his two dogs, Oberon and Starbuck, to join Al and the rest of them in the Australian wilds, determined to follow the trail of their missing colleague. First off, I have to say this book was very entertaining, especially the setting and the world-building and the magic system. I loved Ink & Sigil, which made me want to know Al MacBharrais a bit better, not to mention learn more about the lore and fantasy aspects of his world. In this, Paper & Blood delivered exactly what I wanted. The main character also has a great sense of humor, which along with his Scottish brogue brings a kind of unique charm to this series. I’ve written before about how much I enjoyed Al’s genuine and down-to-earth personality, the fact that you don’t see many protagonists of his age and background in urban fantasy. His dialogue and interactions with the supporting cast were also delightful, and it was fun watching the shenanigans and clever banter fly between the members of this motley group. Still, at some point, I had to wonder why the author felt the need to bring back Atticus O’Sullivan, the protagonist from his Iron Druid Chronicles, from which the Ink & Sigil series spun off. Here is also the part of the review where I will get ranty, because I’m a firm believer that while spin offs can be a great opportunity to continue or expand the worlds and stories we love, they should also come from a different angle and be entirely capable of standing on its own two feet. Otherwise, why bother creating a new series with new characters? What I’m about to say next is also going to be an unpopular opinion, I think, but what the heck—I can’t stand Atticus! At times his snark can be a bit too much, and I can only take him in small doses. It’s also a huge part of why I abandoned the Iron Druid Chronicles after book three, and why I was so happy with the different tone and direction of Ink & Sigil, because Al was such a breath of fresh air. With the return of Atticus in Paper & Blood though, Al’s presence was diminished and he quickly began to feel like a guest in someone else’s world, playing second fiddle to Atticus’ larger-than-life personality. And it’s a shame, because I really felt Al was just starting to step up to the wheel of his own series. Until his role as main protagonist could be firmly established, or until readers could bond with the new characters, Hearne probably should have backed off on the cameos, or at least had Atticus play a smaller role. Instead, this felt too much like an attempt to write another Iron Druid book, or a blatant attempt to service Atticus fans. That said, if you followed the Iron Druid Chronicles, I think you will have a blast with this one. My quibbles notwithstanding, I did too. New readers will still have plenty to delight in, as Paper & Blood is bang-up sequel for what it is, a rollicking continuation of Ink & Sigil which touches lightly upon the aftermath of the previous book’s events while featuring a new adventure that can generally be read as a standalone. I have a feeling it’s going to take while for this series to develop its own hook and overall flavor, but that’s pretty common for urban fantasy. Hopefully we can refocus our attention on Al and have him retake the reins going forward.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sabetha

    Book 1 in this series was one of my top 10 reads from 2020, so when I received an email that book 2 was available to ARC, I squealed! This installment did not disappoint. From Gladys Who Has Seen Some Shite to Buck Foi, the ragtag band of hilarious characters is back to take out another problem that landed at their doorstep uninvited. It's one wizard van ride you aren't going to want to miss, unless you don't want to see some shite. Probably don't read this book, as it's full of shite to be seen Book 1 in this series was one of my top 10 reads from 2020, so when I received an email that book 2 was available to ARC, I squealed! This installment did not disappoint. From Gladys Who Has Seen Some Shite to Buck Foi, the ragtag band of hilarious characters is back to take out another problem that landed at their doorstep uninvited. It's one wizard van ride you aren't going to want to miss, unless you don't want to see some shite. Probably don't read this book, as it's full of shite to be seen. Kevin does a fantastic job at name dropping covid to keep the book solidly in current society, without wasting words to describe the situation. I mean we've been living it right? He also, yet again, painted a picture of the setting so perfectly I felt like I was in the bush with the characters. I love his attention to detail without info dumping. The development of Gladys Who Has Seen Some Shite as a character was unexpected but exactly what the world building needed. Her hilarious appearances made my anticipation for book 3 unbearable! So many questions, not enough answers with this one. I need to know, do Canadians really put maple syrup in their tea?! This mystery takes us deeper into the world of sigil agents, meeting & exploring the work space of an Australian apprentice, gave so much more depth to the life of an agent, and what Al is missing out on by his apprentices continually dying. It also gives a lot more information on the other worldly creatures/people/beings that Al & gang know of. This really gives weight to how expansive the world building is, and leaves me pondering over all the potential for future books. Many of the questions from book 1 are answered, but there are a few series long questions that will still linger after finishing book 2. I don't feel cheated by this, but glad that they will hopefully get their own book, and the attention they deserved, instead of being answered as a side quest. Every character in the book is well crafted, and has multiple layers to their being. I love that there aren't clear evil and good lines, but a lot gray and switching of sides potential. It gives more realistic traits to those of a different plane. He does a great job of showing that no two people are the same, and the world is full of variety without beating you over the head with it. The sigil magic system is masterful, this book builds on book 1 and gives more rules, and short comings of its uses. I love the way it is described during battles, and pretty much everything about how it operates. The thought of parts of it being able to die out with an agents death was terrifying! (great nod to the death of a language.) This series is riddled with life lessons, and deeper meanings. It shines light on the fact that we are all going through something, and have choices with potential to grow or wallow. I love the introspective nature of the characters, and the open communication. It is always refreshing when books don't use "if only they spoke to each other" as a way to create intense drama. Overall, you'll love this series if you love humorous fantasy with a wide range of fantastical characters. And good dugs, they were very good dugs, and I feel it would be a disservice if I didn't mention them in the review. Favorite Quotes without Spoilers: "It's like the Spanish Inquisition, nobody expects a turtle dragon spider." "Oi, there's a metaphor for evil, eh, MacBharrais? Industrial polluters are shitting demons in the creek. Clearcutting forests? Also shitting demons in the creek. And if ye put almond milk in ma coffee, ye're definitely shitting demons in the creek." (view spoiler)["Ye might as well say, I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for you meddling Scots!" (hide spoiler)]

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kathy Martin

    Sigil Agent Al MacBharrais is called from Scotland to Australia when a fellow Sigil Agent goes missing. Something pretty powerful has come through and is causing all kinds of trouble. He travels with his hobgoblin Buck Foi but is soon joined by his accountant Nadia. There are also appearances from Gladys Who Has Seen Some Shite who has a secret identity beyond that of being Al's Canadian receptionist. Al meets up with Ya-ping who is the missing agent's apprentice. She becomes their guide to all t Sigil Agent Al MacBharrais is called from Scotland to Australia when a fellow Sigil Agent goes missing. Something pretty powerful has come through and is causing all kinds of trouble. He travels with his hobgoblin Buck Foi but is soon joined by his accountant Nadia. There are also appearances from Gladys Who Has Seen Some Shite who has a secret identity beyond that of being Al's Canadian receptionist. Al meets up with Ya-ping who is the missing agent's apprentice. She becomes their guide to all things Australian. They travel to the Dandenong Ranges where they rendezvous with the Iron Druid and his dogs. The whole group finds themselves battling all kinds of monsters and trying to keep things secret from humans. The story is filled with banter. It is also filled with action and adventure and all sorts of paranormal critters based on mainly Irish mythology. Al is still trying to figure out who cursed him which has forced him to use a speech app on his phone for all his communications lest he earn the hatred of anyone he talks to. He also learns that he has a secondary curse linked to his first one which has caused the deaths of his apprentices. Now Buck in in danger of becoming a victim of the curse if Al can't get rid of it. I liked the worldbuilding and the Australian setting of this episode. The characters are interesting and mysterious. Fans of the first book in this series will enjoy this one too and be eager to find out what happens next.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lynn Williams

    3.5 of 5 stars https://lynns-books.com/2021/08/12/pa... My Five Word TL:DR Review: Mixed feelings for this one. Paper and Blood is the second of the Ink and Sigil books by Kevin Hearne. This is a series that is set in the same world/universe as The Iron Druid Chronicles and is therefore a contemporary setting with infinite supernatural possibilities. I really enjoyed the first in series, primarily because of the characters. Al MacBharrais is a blast of well needed fresh air in the urban fantasy genr 3.5 of 5 stars https://lynns-books.com/2021/08/12/pa... My Five Word TL:DR Review: Mixed feelings for this one. Paper and Blood is the second of the Ink and Sigil books by Kevin Hearne. This is a series that is set in the same world/universe as The Iron Druid Chronicles and is therefore a contemporary setting with infinite supernatural possibilities. I really enjoyed the first in series, primarily because of the characters. Al MacBharrais is a blast of well needed fresh air in the urban fantasy genre. He’s over 60,a widower and also suffering from a curse that prevents him having any real relationships with others, on top of this he’s a sigil agent which means he can wield magic through the use of symbols drawn onto paper with special ink. There are a number of sigil agents scattered across the world and in this instalment a real threat is posed to Al’s counterpart from Australia who has gone missing. Al immediately travels to Victoria to investigate and within fairly short order the body count escalates. Now, I mentioned in my five word review that I had mixed feelings so let me start there. What this series really has going for it is Kevin Hearne’s fantastic sense of humour. I’ve written before about this author and the fact that he clearly enjoys himself when he’s writing and this shines through on the page. His books are always a good deal of fun and he can create lovable characters with apparent ease. In fact, as I also mentioned above, the characters are what really hooked me in the first instalment. I also mentioned in my review of book No.1 that the plot felt a little scattered and wasn’t the winning element of the book for me and I think I had similar feelings in the case of Paper and Blood, which to be fair isn’t to say the plot here is bad (because it isn’t) so much that it, again, wasn’t my favourite part of the story. I liked the setting with Al and his companions travelling through the bush encountering all sorts of creatures and traps as their journey progressed. There’s an action adventure feel to this one, quick pacing and plenty of skirmishes, but, at the same time, I think I would have preferred to spend more time with Al in his Scottish setting as that’s something I really enjoyed in the first book and missed a little here. To the characters – which I think was probably one of my main issues with this instalment. I don’t think it’s a spoiler to mention here that Atticus (of the Iron Druid Chronicles (IDCs) and his two trusty dogs join Al for this encounter. Now, don’t get me wrong, I like Atticus very much and his dog Oberon is quite possibly my favourite fictional pooch – but, for me, it felt like Atticus stole the show a little, or more to the point Al seemed to take a back step and felt much flimsier than in the first book. In fact, in some respects this felt like an attempt to bring some closure to the IDCs, maybe not even closure now I really think about it because it still felt like certain issues remained unanswered. I think what I’m trying to say in a roundabout fashion is that this felt more like a way to bring Atticus back into the picture and whilst I think IDC lovers will enjoy his role here, the fact that new readers didn’t need to be familiar with that particular series felt like a bonus at the time and so this instalment muddies those waters a little in my opinion. Overall, this is a series that I would like to continue with but I’m hopeful that Al will recapture the feelings he inspired from Ink and Sigil and regain some of the agency that he seemed to lose a little here. I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publishers, for which my thanks. The above is my own opinion.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    Hoo-boy. Al and his crew are called into action when one of his fellow sigil agents goes missing in Australia and it turns out the most terrifying thing in Australia IS NOT A SPIDER. I'm inclined to question my own statement there because spiders are terrifying already without the addition of Australian super-sizing, but Al and crew DID run into some pretty horrifying critters. Some even had spider-esque qualities, so... You know what? I'm sort of creeping myself out. Let's move on. Sigil agents Hoo-boy. Al and his crew are called into action when one of his fellow sigil agents goes missing in Australia and it turns out the most terrifying thing in Australia IS NOT A SPIDER. I'm inclined to question my own statement there because spiders are terrifying already without the addition of Australian super-sizing, but Al and crew DID run into some pretty horrifying critters. Some even had spider-esque qualities, so... You know what? I'm sort of creeping myself out. Let's move on. Sigil agents gone missing! Very good dogs putting in an appearance! Australia! Spiders (probably)! And one Iron Druid doing the things that Iron Druids do! Al gets a few vague answers regarding his curse(s) from the various and sundry otherworldly types he and the others run into along the way. He also finds himself wallowing in a metric boatload of questions regarding his office manager. Gladys is a glorious enigma and I feel like we've only tapped the surface of her. Danger! A few answers! Dogs! New beginnings! Roxanne! Sigils and magic and monsters, OH MY! I'm still digging hanging out in the ID world with all the horrors and beauty that puts in an appearance. Al, Buck, and Nadia are a solid team who follow their intuition wherever it may lead them and manage to stay ahead of the most dangerous situations and magic. (Or at least they know people who are willing to give them a hand when they need it most.) *thumbs up* -Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sandra Guerfi

    Received this as an earc but the review is my own. Anyone who has read a Hearne book knows that they are entertaining and witty, funny and delightfully full of the unexpected. Book two in this series is no exception. We welcome back MacBharrais as he travels to the Land Down Under in search of a missing sigil agent. With a curse hanging over his head and the possibility of getting closer to who has it in for him, this feels like to much of a coincidence to hand off to anyone else. With the help o Received this as an earc but the review is my own. Anyone who has read a Hearne book knows that they are entertaining and witty, funny and delightfully full of the unexpected. Book two in this series is no exception. We welcome back MacBharrais as he travels to the Land Down Under in search of a missing sigil agent. With a curse hanging over his head and the possibility of getting closer to who has it in for him, this feels like to much of a coincidence to hand off to anyone else. With the help of the Iron Druid and his dogs, and a few surprise appearances, MacBharrais is about to discover that sometimes danger is not personal, just part of a package deal. Gods, monsters, favors, and magic are embroiled in one sticky mess and not even Gladys Who Has Seen Some Shite are missing out on the action. A rollicking good time that I would definitely recommend to anyone who loves their paranormal quirky and fast paced. Hearne continues to deliver in this series and I'm all ready chomping at the bit for book three. Best part, we finally get an inkling who Gladys is and yes, she has definitely seen some Shite!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne

    I liked book one in this series, but I enjoyed this one even more. Al MacBharrais gets a call from Australia and learns that two fellow sigil agents are missing and very possibly in danger. Of course, he and Buck Foi travel there and investigate. Some of my favorite things were: 1) The story! (of course). The monsters were great, and I loved how the plot came together. It did have a satisfying conclusion but also made me very interested to see where these characters go. 2) The setting - as I read I liked book one in this series, but I enjoyed this one even more. Al MacBharrais gets a call from Australia and learns that two fellow sigil agents are missing and very possibly in danger. Of course, he and Buck Foi travel there and investigate. Some of my favorite things were: 1) The story! (of course). The monsters were great, and I loved how the plot came together. It did have a satisfying conclusion but also made me very interested to see where these characters go. 2) The setting - as I read this, I was sure the author had taken an extensive trip to Australia because the descriptions were so vivid. Turns out, because of Covid, some friends had helped and he just visited virtually. But well done! I really felt like I could see the environment, but it also wasn't over-done. 3) The friends. All of Al's friends are great but we got to see more of Nadia, and Gladys Who Has Seen Some Shite - let's just say they aren't an ordinary office staff. 4) Last, but not least, joining up with a certain favorite druid and his dog was brilliant. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for letting me read and review an ARC!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Manda Scott

    Pure sheer magic Oh, I love this world, where hobgoblins have integrity and filthy language and murderous goddesses get to learn the laws of life. Plus a cracking take down of predatory capitalism that would do Cory Doctorow proud and all dressed up in my native language. Gallus. Can’t wait for the next one. Read this in one sitting. You’ll love it.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lauren Stoolfire

    I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Paper & Blood (Ink & Sigil #2) Kevin Hearne is a great follow up to Ink & Sigil. It's such a fun little spin off to The Iron Druid Chronicles which is one of my favorite urban fantasy series. It was great to see Al and his ragtag gang again. Let me just say that the sense of humor in this was just right. There are quite a few laugh out loud moments. To be honest, my favorite parts were getting to see Atticus (aka Connor) again. At I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Paper & Blood (Ink & Sigil #2) Kevin Hearne is a great follow up to Ink & Sigil. It's such a fun little spin off to The Iron Druid Chronicles which is one of my favorite urban fantasy series. It was great to see Al and his ragtag gang again. Let me just say that the sense of humor in this was just right. There are quite a few laugh out loud moments. To be honest, my favorite parts were getting to see Atticus (aka Connor) again. Atticus, Oberon, and Starbuck just made my day. I can't wait to see more from Kevin Hearne in the future.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Catherine

    Thank you so much to Del Rey and NetGalley for giving me this eARC in exchange for an honest review. It's no secret to anyone who knows me that I'm a fan of Kevin Hearne. If you follow me on YouTube, I talk about his books ALL THE TIME. Ink & Sigil was one of my favorite reads of last year. While I didn't love Paper & Blood QUITE as much as I loved the first book, I still enjoyed it immensely. Since Paper & Blood is the second book in the series, I won't go too in depth about what happens in thi Thank you so much to Del Rey and NetGalley for giving me this eARC in exchange for an honest review. It's no secret to anyone who knows me that I'm a fan of Kevin Hearne. If you follow me on YouTube, I talk about his books ALL THE TIME. Ink & Sigil was one of my favorite reads of last year. While I didn't love Paper & Blood QUITE as much as I loved the first book, I still enjoyed it immensely. Since Paper & Blood is the second book in the series, I won't go too in depth about what happens in this book. Essentially, you follow Al MacBharrais, a Sigil Agent for the Fae. Al is in his 60s, and would greatly like to retire, but so far he's had 7 apprentices and they've all managed to die before completing their training. This books almost immediately follows the events of the first, but Al is called to rescue a fellow sigil agent in Australia that has gone missing. The murder mystery aspect of the first book is what really made me adore it, and while in this second book there is still a mystery to be solved, it didn't pull me in quite as much. I felt like the story slowed down quite a bit once they started hiking, although the end was a pretty great battle scene against a massive (and gross) foe. I loved that characters from the Iron Druid Chronicles had huge roles to play in this story, and honestly they kept me going through the slower middle section. The characters, the humor, and the plot were all still fantastic, though, and I definitely want to continue on with the series. The end felt rather abrupt to me however, because I really feel like Al didn't get any of his personal questions answered in this book. Overall, I did really love revisiting these characters and this world, and I gave it a 4 out of 5 stars.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin Thomas

    Aloysius “Al” MacBharrais and Buck Foi head to Australia to assist in the search for a missing sigil agent. For the ill-informed, only five sigil agents exist in the world and it is their ability to create sigils from special ink that make them powerful. These sigils work like magic spells and can be used for both offensive and defensive and even for more mundane purposes. So it is to be expected that the search for a missing one will be fraught with danger. Fortunately, the Iron Druid himself i Aloysius “Al” MacBharrais and Buck Foi head to Australia to assist in the search for a missing sigil agent. For the ill-informed, only five sigil agents exist in the world and it is their ability to create sigils from special ink that make them powerful. These sigils work like magic spells and can be used for both offensive and defensive and even for more mundane purposes. So it is to be expected that the search for a missing one will be fraught with danger. Fortunately, the Iron Druid himself is also nearby and seems to be engaged on the same mission. The second book in the “Ink & Sigil” series is a nice follow-on to the first, filled with all the quirky humor that one can expect from a Kevin Hearne book. The character of Buck Foi, a hobgoblin, continues to be the star of the humor, but most of the characters find a way to get into the act, leaving the protagonist Al to be the straight man. Whereas book one only mentions the Iron Druid, here he plays a sizeable role in what might almost be considered a continuation of his own book series. Of course, his Irish Wolfhound Oberon is along for the ride. Periodically, the characters tell stories to the others, snippets from their own histories. These amount to stand-alone short stories embedded in the overall novel, having little or nothing to do with the main story. While I enjoyed them, I felt it was a little odd and made me wonder if the author’s primary plot didn’t have enough to it to fill out a full-length novel. On the other hand, I prefer this approach to other books that have extended navel gazing scenes as bridges from one action scene to the next. And there is quite a bit of perilous action here as well, particularly in the final third of the novel. While the main plot is wrapped up in this book, there are plenty of threads left dangling to demand another book. I will add that I enjoyed the presence of the Iron Druid in this one, bringing all the gravitas of that character, However, I would like to see the next volume focus on Al, Buck, and the characters of this series. They can certainly stand on their own. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a free review copy of this book.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    I love this new series that Hearne has created, the characters are just great, but this one is exceptionally special because it includes an emergency trip to Australia, and although that trip left me missing a certain hacker from the first book, it included some old favorites from his previous series instead. I don’t want to say anything to spoil anything for anyone, but there is some wonderful resolution to storylines left over from the Iron Druid series. I can’t wait to see where he goes with I love this new series that Hearne has created, the characters are just great, but this one is exceptionally special because it includes an emergency trip to Australia, and although that trip left me missing a certain hacker from the first book, it included some old favorites from his previous series instead. I don’t want to say anything to spoil anything for anyone, but there is some wonderful resolution to storylines left over from the Iron Druid series. I can’t wait to see where he goes with this new series, new character additions, and some new loopholes. * I received this book from NetGalley for review.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Toni

    There’s just something about magic and Faerie stories that get me every time. This is the second novel in the series, Ink and Sigil. We get more Al and Buck Foi adventures. And let me tell you, this adventure was great! We get more info on lots of characters that were present in the first novel. We also end up with more questions! The novel doesn’t end on a cliffhanger, which is good, but important questions have yet to be answered. This means that I will definitely be looking for book 3! Any ti There’s just something about magic and Faerie stories that get me every time. This is the second novel in the series, Ink and Sigil. We get more Al and Buck Foi adventures. And let me tell you, this adventure was great! We get more info on lots of characters that were present in the first novel. We also end up with more questions! The novel doesn’t end on a cliffhanger, which is good, but important questions have yet to be answered. This means that I will definitely be looking for book 3! Any time an author reaches into mythology and makes it fit their unique author mold, my heart goes pitter patter. The novel dove into many mythological creatures all while keeping the flow of the novel running smoothly. It does help that Al and Buck’s chemistry are amazing and witty. With the benefit of added in characters, the commentary was funny and made for a great read. The description of the areas the MC was in were great as well. Hearne wrote this during the pandemic and wasn’t allowed to go site scouting but you would have never known if you didn’t read the acknowledgements! I received an ARC from netgalley for review.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jennybeast

    One the one hand: totally delighted for more stories from the world of the Iron Druid, and quite pleased to hear more about Al and the life of sigil agents. Love that this adventure is mostly in Australia, love the continuing slow-reveal of character backstories, and my paper-nerd self is very pleased to see some rhapsodic waxing about papermaking and ink creation. On the other hand: I seem to have misplaced my sense of ridiculous, over-the-top humor, and mostly find the hobgoblin sidekick annoy One the one hand: totally delighted for more stories from the world of the Iron Druid, and quite pleased to hear more about Al and the life of sigil agents. Love that this adventure is mostly in Australia, love the continuing slow-reveal of character backstories, and my paper-nerd self is very pleased to see some rhapsodic waxing about papermaking and ink creation. On the other hand: I seem to have misplaced my sense of ridiculous, over-the-top humor, and mostly find the hobgoblin sidekick annoying or obnoxious throughout. The bit with the wizard van was pretty spectacular, but as non-human foils for the main character, Oberon works so much better than Buck ever will. Nonetheless, without spoilering the heck out of it -- the unfolding plot is very intriguing, and I really appreciate the lessons that Al is taking away from this adventure. Looking forward to the next book! Advanced reader's copy provided by Edelweiss.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Will

    3.5 / 5 ✪ https://arefugefromlife.wordpress.com... Fresh off the Case of the Trafficked Fae and Stolen Whisky, Al MacBharrais and his hobgoblin Buck are thrown into another mystery involving missing sigil agents, a rising body count, and a untracked god appearing in the south of Australia. It all begins with a mysterious, god-level event in the Dandenong Mountains, a range just north of Melbourne, Australia. Sigil agent Shu-hua goes to investigate, only to disappear without a trace. Another sigil 3.5 / 5 ✪ https://arefugefromlife.wordpress.com... Fresh off the Case of the Trafficked Fae and Stolen Whisky, Al MacBharrais and his hobgoblin Buck are thrown into another mystery involving missing sigil agents, a rising body count, and a untracked god appearing in the south of Australia. It all begins with a mysterious, god-level event in the Dandenong Mountains, a range just north of Melbourne, Australia. Sigil agent Shu-hua goes to investigate, only to disappear without a trace. Another sigil agent, Mei-ling, and her apprentice set out shortly after to attempt to find Shu-hua, only to suffer the same mysterious fate themselves. As folk keep disappearing Down Unda, Shu-hua’s apprentice Ya-ping frantically contacts Al, desperate for some help finding her missing mentor. Now it’s up to MacBharrais and his wee pink hob to travel to Southern Victoria and find the missing agents, people plus whatever’s been taking them. Oh, and he invites the Iron Druid Connor (formerly Atticus)—who has taken up residence just south in Tasmania—to come along for the ride. Thus the adventure begins, with Al, Hob and Ya-ping joining forces with Connor, Oberon and Starbuck to find their brethren and foil whatever nefarious forces are at work. There will be plenty of time for fun along the way—with a plethora of guest stars, cameos, heists, and stories to distract from all of that ass-kicking that is sure to commence when the team hunts down their prey. I found this adventure a good read; fun, exciting, and interesting in all the right ways. As with the first book in the series, I enjoyed Al in a way I never did Atticus. Therefore I was initially disappointed when the Iron Druid showed up—but forgave the choice as he proved to be a much more mellow, far less superpowered god as I remembered. The same core characters from Ink & Sigil return as Nadia, Buck, and of course Al reprise their roles, much to the same tune as last time. However, except for a little piece of backstory on Buck, we really don’t learn anything especially new or interesting about them. Ya-ping is a welcome relief as the apprentice sigil agent is funny but deep, interesting, and relatable without being too wise for her age. I even enjoyed the Iron Druid, after a fashion. Unfortunately that doesn’t hold true for Gladys (MacBharrais’s secretary from Book #1), who returns with a bit of mysterious backstory. I found her as unlikely as she was unlikeable, and the whole concept of her surprise reveal stupid. While it’s a good, fun read, Paper & Blood is far from perfect. ⎡[They want to bag a druid, and not just any Druid: They want the Iron Druid.] “Me? Why?” “So many reasons!” Buck said, spreading his arms wide but keeping his voice low. “A Lot of human violence is committed over the idea of proprietary sex partners. Could that be it?” “…Nnno.”⎦ First off, as the story itself comes directly after Al’s realization that he’s the victim of not one but two curses, I really would’ve thought we’d’ve focussed on that more. But other than a little tidbit at the very end, we end back where we started. It’s like… So, the spinoff was a hit. Episode 1 ended on a high note and we’re all invested in the mystery and can’t wait to see where it leads in Episode 2. But instead of any continuation of what must be the overarching season plot, Episode 2 is a self-contained story that has very little to do with anything (although it’s all well and good and interesting in its own right), only to spend the last minute or two refocussing everyone on what happened at the end of Episode 1 and where the story’s sure to be headed now. In short, while Episode 2 was good, we made no season plot progress from #1 but end the episode assuring the audience that we’re totally going to come Episode 3. Now I realize that this might’ve been an attempt to expand the world, the lore, or more firmly establish the connection to the Iron Druid universe. And it does two out of the three—though doesn’t teach us anything more about different sigils—the connections and lore being leaned on heavily. The lore was particularly interesting, as it expands the world, the pantheons, and their capabilities. Additionally, within this self-contained adventure, there are a few (three) “campfire stories” that didn’t seem to connect to anything. Okay, okay—I’m sure you could come up with some connections, but they’re tenuous at best, and at worst have nothing to do with either the plot of Episode 1 or 2 and are just included to waste time. Combined, the three take up roughly 15% of the book. I found the first one (3%) interesting, the second (2%) boring, and the third (10%) especially pointless. TL;DR All in all, I left Paper & Blood feeling a bit annoyed, but overall pleased with my time spent within its pages. After waiting on it a few days however, mostly now I just feel that while the story was entertaining, it was didn’t leave any lasting sense of accomplishment. Nothing happens that relates to the overarching plot of the series: Al’s curse. It’s a self-contained adventure that—while interesting and entertaining in its own right—is pretty much just a waste of time. I’m not saying Paper & Blood wasn’t good—it was! It told a fun, ofttimes exciting story, but related to fuck all of the story from Book 1. If you enjoyed the Iron Druid series, it’ll probably just be worthwhile to see Atticus again. If you thought Ink & Sigil thinking that it was a lovely time, full of laughter and fun—you’ll probably like Paper & Blood. But if you like a bit more substance out of your series, you’ll likely still enjoy your time, but leave feeling a bit disappointed.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kristin Sledge

    Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for an eARC in exchange for an honest review. Paper and Blood is the next chapter for Al MacBharrais and his band of merry men. When he gets reports of Sigil agents going missing and bodies begin to pile up will Al be able to solve what is causing the deaths? And in doing so, will he be able to figure out how to undo the curses places upon himself? I really enjoyed Ink & Sigil. It was funny, quirky, and had a great story. The characters were all each more f Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for an eARC in exchange for an honest review. Paper and Blood is the next chapter for Al MacBharrais and his band of merry men. When he gets reports of Sigil agents going missing and bodies begin to pile up will Al be able to solve what is causing the deaths? And in doing so, will he be able to figure out how to undo the curses places upon himself? I really enjoyed Ink & Sigil. It was funny, quirky, and had a great story. The characters were all each more fantastic then the last and the world was a pleasure to submerge myself in. Paper & Blood is absolutely nothing like Ink & Sigil. It has it's funny moments, but it almost just feels like the entire book was written how you would imagine the Lord of the Rings would go if it was just what Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli talked about while they walked for days. No real plot to speak of, just random stories told by random people and random times. Even the visit from the all powerful Iron Druid was lost on me as I didn't read that series before reading these. It seems the magic of Ink & Sigil has dried up for this reader and I will not be looking for the next in the series. Two stars from me as I didn't absolutely hate it and there wasn't anything off putting to make me not like it, other than the lack of plot. Recommended for those 12+ who have read The Iron Druid series and don't mind alot of random filler.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Amy Braun

    Kevin Hearne will always be one of my favorite authors. Not just because he understands the craft and is able to put together an excellent story, but because it's so clear that he never loses the joy, adventure, and imagination of writing. When reading his work, you can tell he is having fun. And that couldn't be more clear with PAPER & BLOOD. Reuniting with characters, many new, old, and really old was an absolute delight. I was surprised at some of the reveals and while the story went in a diff Kevin Hearne will always be one of my favorite authors. Not just because he understands the craft and is able to put together an excellent story, but because it's so clear that he never loses the joy, adventure, and imagination of writing. When reading his work, you can tell he is having fun. And that couldn't be more clear with PAPER & BLOOD. Reuniting with characters, many new, old, and really old was an absolute delight. I was surprised at some of the reveals and while the story went in a different direction than I thought, it nonetheless gave me what I wanted: A good time. Al, Buck, and Nadia are treasures, each with distinct personalities and some with some wild stories. They are endearing, intelligent, and utterly charming. Not to mention Buck is absolutely hilarious. This is honestly one of the funniest books I've read in a while. The story had some great twists that expanded the world as a whole. While this didn't quite focus on Al as much as I expected, I did find it to be an exciting adventre/mystery with some truly terrifying creatures. The ending was packed with action, but the most memorable parts involved the characters sitting down and talking to each other, whether just to banter or to have more philosophical conversations. Hearne's work is always charming and charismatic, but thoughtful and smart as well. I loved returning to the INK & SIGIL world and can't wait for more of it to continue.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Nick Brett

    The second in a fun series. Set in the world of the Iron Druid (see previous books) we do get to meet the Druid (and his dogs) in this one. When some of Al’s fellow Sigil Agents go missing, Al heads off to Australia to find out what drew them there and if they are still alive. And of course he takes his right hand Hobgoblin along too. The investigation in the wilds of Australia is a dangerous one so the Iron Druid comes to help, but even so the odds are stacked against them. Cue some extra support The second in a fun series. Set in the world of the Iron Druid (see previous books) we do get to meet the Druid (and his dogs) in this one. When some of Al’s fellow Sigil Agents go missing, Al heads off to Australia to find out what drew them there and if they are still alive. And of course he takes his right hand Hobgoblin along too. The investigation in the wilds of Australia is a dangerous one so the Iron Druid comes to help, but even so the odds are stacked against them. Cue some extra support and familiar characters but even that might not be enough to save the day. It’s fun and clever as one might expect, although at times felt slightly padded by diversions into stories told by the characters. But lots of nice ideas here and the fun the author is having comes clearly through in his writing.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kat Hooper

    Will review at Fantasy Literature.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Tracy

    Lots of fun and all the gods ;) Not sure if I believe the story about the truck nuts

  25. 5 out of 5

    Tattooed Bibliophile

    Ink & Sigil was the first book I read by Kevin Hearne. While I knew that this was a spinoff from another series, I was able to read and enjoy that book without having read the other series (The Iron Druid Chronicles.) So I thought this one would be the same. But the last book didn't even have the Iron Druid in it, and this one does. So I could feel that I was missing important information to make the dialogue and plot more meaningful. *Spoilers-ish* There's this whole thing going on between The Mor Ink & Sigil was the first book I read by Kevin Hearne. While I knew that this was a spinoff from another series, I was able to read and enjoy that book without having read the other series (The Iron Druid Chronicles.) So I thought this one would be the same. But the last book didn't even have the Iron Druid in it, and this one does. So I could feel that I was missing important information to make the dialogue and plot more meaningful. *Spoilers-ish* There's this whole thing going on between The Morrigan and The Iron Druid that I don't get and not enough info is given for me to get. *End spoiler* There was also this odd political-view dropping that didn't always go with the story. That is NOT to say that I disagree with the author's views, I actually very much agree, but it needs to fit into the story if you're going to drop it in there. The ableism, for instance, fit in because of the Druid's lived in experience having lost his arm. But Al gets into several discussions with an apprentice that don't really flow well with the plot. Again, not bad, it just felt forced. It needed to be a puzzle piece that fit into the story, not just sprinkles thrown on top. Of a puzzle. That doesn't make sense, but you see what I'm getting at? The pacing of the action was also kind of cut up. It should have been suspenseful as hell but it didn't feel like it. I'm not sure why, maybe it was just unemotional? I didn't get that nervous feeling like I was concerned someone would die even though the danger was there. The author was like, "hmm, we might die. Ok, you good? Because I'm good." It just didn't FEEL dangerous. So basically - plot was excellent, I especially liked the good dugs and the story one of them told which was very sausage-themed. I love all of the characters in these books, I just want to FEEL more suspense, maybe to get a bit of inner dialogue or something. That's not the most specific feedback ever, aaaaaand that's why I'm not the writer, I'm the critic, with nothing to lose by sharing my word vomit opinions. So there you go.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Brittney

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Three words that can describe this book and this series. Pure. Unadulterated. Fun. WARNING: SPOILERS! Al MacBharrais is back. The witty, intelligent, aging Sigil Agent, his Hobgoblin apprentice Buck Foi, DemiGoddess and Battle Seer Nadia and the enigmatic Gladys Who Has Seen Some Shite embark upon a remarkable adventure to rescue fellow Sigil Agents. Aided by a Young Apprentice, a human police officer who has no idea what the hell is going on, and a familiar red-headed hero and his two "good dugs", Three words that can describe this book and this series. Pure. Unadulterated. Fun. WARNING: SPOILERS! Al MacBharrais is back. The witty, intelligent, aging Sigil Agent, his Hobgoblin apprentice Buck Foi, DemiGoddess and Battle Seer Nadia and the enigmatic Gladys Who Has Seen Some Shite embark upon a remarkable adventure to rescue fellow Sigil Agents. Aided by a Young Apprentice, a human police officer who has no idea what the hell is going on, and a familiar red-headed hero and his two "good dugs", Al and his associates travel to Australia to do battle with forces well beyond human comprehension. Kevin Hearne, with his razor sharp wit and decidedly uncouth sense of humor, has released another piece of visual and mental art with this new book. A little dark at times, but mostly uproariously funny and decidedly irreverent, the book will reel you in from the first few lines and leave you breathless until the adventurous climax. Most of that breathlessness will be from laughter. And I'm not going to lie, most of that laughter comes from Buck. At the same time as being exceedingly funny and absolutely inappropriate at times, there is also a great depth of character in Al, Buck and many of the other characters that you would not expect. I hope that this is an ongoing series, as it seems to be. I will continue to read about the adventures of Al and his companions. Can't wait for the next one! Thank you to Netgalley, Kevin Hearne and Del Rey/Random House for allowing me the privilege of reading this ARC. All opinions are my own. Trigger Warnings: bloody violence, swearing/cursing, comical sexual references

  27. 4 out of 5

    S.J. Higbee

    I really have rather fallen in love with Al. It’s such a refreshing change to find a sympathetic, enjoyable protagonist who also happens not to be in the full flush of youth – and yes… I’m aware that Atticus is two thousand years old. But he looks like a twenty-something, whereas Al doesn’t. The extra weight of years and wry wisdom has completely won me over. It doesn’t hurt that I also enjoy the company he keeps, especially his foul-mouthed hobgoblin companion, Buck Foi and Nadia. And yes… ther I really have rather fallen in love with Al. It’s such a refreshing change to find a sympathetic, enjoyable protagonist who also happens not to be in the full flush of youth – and yes… I’m aware that Atticus is two thousand years old. But he looks like a twenty-something, whereas Al doesn’t. The extra weight of years and wry wisdom has completely won me over. It doesn’t hurt that I also enjoy the company he keeps, especially his foul-mouthed hobgoblin companion, Buck Foi and Nadia. And yes… there is a lot of swearing in this book, so if you find that offensive, then this won’t be for you. It was the one thing that, at times, slightly niggled as I wished that Al had reported that Buck Foi cursed, rather than giving me the benefit of all the sweariness. But it wasn’t a dealbreaker, because I enjoyed the characters and the action. And the great big bonus for me is that Atticus and his dogs also heavily feature in this adventure. I’ve really missed tucking into yet another amusing story featuring Atticus since the Iron Druid series finished, so I was delighted that he has such a big role in this book. And it is also fascinating to see him filtered through Al’s viewpoint. As ever, Hearne tells a cracking tale, full of action and suspense. As the mystery of the missing sigil agents deepens, Hearne’s warm-hearted, larger-than-life characters are genuinely concerned. When we meet the horrible monsters intent to tearing apart everyone they meet, I did wonder if we’d ever see them again. Because for all his folksy fun, Hearne isn’t afraid to kill off a likeable, affectionate character if it fits the plot. A large part of the story is set in the Australian outback, which is effectively evoked and certainly adds to the vividness and tension, while Al and his gang attempt their desperate rescue. As ever with Hearne, I didn’t see the denouement coming – but that didn’t stop it being entirely satisfying. While there is lots of action and humour, I also appreciated the discussions and stories between the characters and the philosophical deliberations. All in all, this was a thoroughly enjoyable read, and is highly recommended for urban fantasy fans with a liking for their fantasy with a strong Celtic twist and lots of quirky humour. While I obtained an arc of Paper & Blood from Netgalley, the opinions I have expressed are unbiased and my own. 9/10

  28. 4 out of 5

    Debra

    Wish granted! I did not think I would be able to get an advanced copy of this book and am really happy that Random House Publishing-Ballantine provided me with a copy- thank you RHP and Netgalley for an advanced readers e-copy of this book. "Paper & Blood" picks up where "Ink & Sigil" left off. Al MacBharrais is still double cursed- he can't talk to anyone for a long period of time without being hated by that person. Anyone that is under his service is doomed to die. Seems pretty bleak... but aut Wish granted! I did not think I would be able to get an advanced copy of this book and am really happy that Random House Publishing-Ballantine provided me with a copy- thank you RHP and Netgalley for an advanced readers e-copy of this book. "Paper & Blood" picks up where "Ink & Sigil" left off. Al MacBharrais is still double cursed- he can't talk to anyone for a long period of time without being hated by that person. Anyone that is under his service is doomed to die. Seems pretty bleak... but author Kevin Hearne weaves a hilarious story with likeable characters and an easy-to-follow plot line. Al is off to Australia after hearing of the disappearance of other sigil agents. Realizing that he is in over his head, his group expands with the Iron Druid, a goddess, a baffled human, and a very worried sigil apprentice. I never finished the Iron Druid series, although at this point I can't remember why. I love that Hearne was able to make such a fun crossover that gives the Iron Druid some significant 'screen' time. It is not necessary to read the Iron Druid series, although I imagine that reading it will help the reader understand some more of the minor nuances of the story. This is a band of travelers, urban-fantasy quest story. There are a couple stories told by side characters that help "pass the time" and really make this book spectacular. The future is unknown, but it's nice to stop for a while to laugh and enjoy the scorching, death-inspiring landscape of Australia with a circle of almost-friends.  If you enjoyed "Ink & Sigil," you will likely enjoy this follow up. Thanks again to Netgalley and Random House Publishing- Ballantine for an advanced copy of this book. Paper & Blood will be published on August 10, 2021.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Donna Bull

    I have never been so happy to have requested a book before!! So I dove right into Ink and Sigil and oh my how freaking hilarious and wonderful is this world!! Then it was right into Paper and Blood and it is just as fantastic as the first and I am so in love with these characters!! Al, Buck, Nadia, Connor and Gladys Who Has Seen Some Shite are the people you want out in the bush fighting off eagle bulls and whatnot. This story picks up not long after the events in Ink and Sigil and Al is still t I have never been so happy to have requested a book before!! So I dove right into Ink and Sigil and oh my how freaking hilarious and wonderful is this world!! Then it was right into Paper and Blood and it is just as fantastic as the first and I am so in love with these characters!! Al, Buck, Nadia, Connor and Gladys Who Has Seen Some Shite are the people you want out in the bush fighting off eagle bulls and whatnot. This story picks up not long after the events in Ink and Sigil and Al is still trying to figure who laid the curses on him and has now told Buck about what will happen. However, they have received a call from the agents in Australia and some very bad things seem to be happening there so Al and Buck travel the Fae planes to help figure out what is happening. Let's just say, things get a tad out of hand, the Iron Druid is back to provide help, and the laughter continues unabated!! Action, battles, stories told by a dog, creatures combos from hell, and one fantastic wizard van later you will be so glad you went on this journey. But it isn't all just laughs and mayhem, these characters have heart and depth, and they become this wonderful, quirky, awkward, loving family who will do whatever it takes to keep each other safe. Whether you have read the Iron Druid Chronicles or not, this is a fantastic addition to this world and I know I will be going back and reading the earlier books. If you need a laugh out loud fantasy with heart, action and amazing characters then you need these books and I am so looking forward to what comes next for Al and Buck!!! ARC provided by Del Rey books and NetGalley

  30. 4 out of 5

    Karissa

    Series Info/Source: This is the second book in The Ink & Sigil series. I got an eGalley of this book to review through NetGalley.com. Thoughts: We are still spending time with Al and Buck. This time they are called on to check on the disappearance of a fellow Sigil agent and their journey takes them to Australia. This was a decent read but rambled on at times. There are diversions on paper making and ink making and many other things which I alternately enjoyed and found annoying because they detr Series Info/Source: This is the second book in The Ink & Sigil series. I got an eGalley of this book to review through NetGalley.com. Thoughts: We are still spending time with Al and Buck. This time they are called on to check on the disappearance of a fellow Sigil agent and their journey takes them to Australia. This was a decent read but rambled on at times. There are diversions on paper making and ink making and many other things which I alternately enjoyed and found annoying because they detracted from the main story. I love the characters and world here. However, this book also contained a few stand alone short stories that were embedded in the main story and these detracted from the overall book because they really pull the reader away from the action and the main storyline. The story that Buck told was particularly painful to get through. This would have been an awesome book if Hearne had said then Buck told the tale of "..." and then the full story itself had been included at the end of the book rather than breaking into intense action scenes to divert the reader. There is quite a bit of action here and some interesting encounters with various gods. It was fun to see Atticus and Oberon again; they are in a good portion of this book. However, this didn’t seem to really tie in to a larger story and was just a quick jaunt to help out some fellow Sigil agents. My Summary (4/5): Overall I enjoyed this and would recommend it. It's humorous and entertaining and has some good mythology and unique characters in it. I do hope we see tighter writing in the next book; vast portions of this book wandered off onto side stories or spent copious amounts of time discussing things like paper making. This book wasn't as exciting and thrilling to me as the first in this series but I do plan to continue on with the series.

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