Krista Reviews: Tansy Rayner Roberts' - "Ink Black Magic"
I had never heard of the term “comic fantasy” until I was asked to review this book. I can now see exactly what the reference means and feel that this novel did an amazing job of portraying the comic affect in a novel form.
Ink Black Magic is the third and final book in The Mocklore Chronicles and the first book I have read in the trilogy. As a result, I went in not knowing any prior information about the characters yet was still able to enjoy the story as a stand alone novel.
My initial thoughts of the book was how Epic it was. The narrative was much like that of an Epic Fantasy, focusing on magic and especially the negativity of using black magic. As I have not read the previous books, I thought that Egg was really going to be the main character but I soon found that Kassa Daggersharp is the protagonist (and the heroine from previous novels). Egg caught my attention immediately and I liked him off the bat, but Kassa had to grow on me. However, she turned out to be one of the strongest and boldest characters I have read of late.
Kassa lectures first year students on the dangers of magic at the Polyhedrotechnical in Cluft. And Egg is the student who, through his stories and inner warlock talent, is unknowingly creating the city of Drak. Drak appears outside their doors suddenly one day and all people of Cluft soon get caught in it’s magical existence. It is a dark city, always lit by a full moon and an atmosphere of dangerous extravagance.
Early on in the story, Egg and Kassa figure out that the evil city is the creation of Egg’s imagination. Along with the city’s monsters and villains, it’s draw is causing a magical haze which makes them question what is reality and what is not. Cluft itself is a place full of wonders and magic that had me pausing to re-read passages.
When Drak is introduced and the whole world becomes a circus of sorts, the real “comic” comes out in this epic fantasy. There is some romance in the air between Kassa and the long lost Aragon and special attention is paid to details (clothing, accessories as well and building and room designs). There are also a lot of battles and lessons to be learned. It’s a story you can read several times, each time finding something new.
I found Ink Black Magic to be very unique and it opened my mind to a new sort of story-telling. I look forward to reading more speculative fiction of this type, starting with the previous books written by this author.
Paperback, 374 pages
Published October 2013 by FableCroft Publishing