The Ink & Sigil Series: Book 2
by Kevin Hearne
NYT bestselling author Kevin Hearne dives back into the world of his Iron Druid Chronicles, this time dragging elderly Scotsman Al MacBharrais to the land down under. As one of five sigil agents for the First of the Fae here on Earth, Al’s job is to keep the Fae from terrorizing humanity. When the sigil agent in Australia goes missing, Al must investigate.
Like the first book, Paper & Blood includes an Author’s Note at the beginning to explain some of the Glaswegian Scots dialect and complex Irish words. The book then includes a recap of the previous book titled “The Story So Far” which negates any requirement to read the first book of the series. It’s also a lovely feature for readers who don’t have the time or inclination to reread the first book before picking on the newest one.
Paper & Blood picks up not long after Ink & Sigil ends, with Al and his contracted Fae hobgoblin, Buck, discussing issues from the previous book. That’s when Al receives news that his Australian counterpart is missing. Worse yet, the next closest sigil agent in also missing, along with her apprentice. Al notifies the other two sigil agents and travels with Buck from Scotland to Australia. Still, he fears they “may be dealing with a problem that requires a heavy hitter.” He reaches out to The Iron Druid for help.
Fans of the Iron Druid Chronicles will absolutely love this book. It was so good seeing Atticus O’Sullivan and his dogs, Oberon and Starbuck. The previous book had a flashback of Al meeting Atticus once, but nothing compares to having the ancient druid back in action. As the scope of the danger in Paper & Blood kept expanding, so did my excitement. It brought back the more fantastical, overwhelming foes from the previous series, which was befitting three sigil agents, a hobgoblin, the Iron Druid, and other heroes gathered along the way.
One of the best thing about this book, though, was seeing Atticus accept the loss of his arm, which had traumatized readers in the druid’s last book, Scourged. Now I could almost be okay if I never saw the ancient druid again. He’s going to be okay. That alone made this book special for fans of Hearne’s books.
Again, you need not have read any of his other books to enjoy Paper & Blood, but I will always recommend them. Hearne is an exceptionally talented author with a delightful sense of humor, and he weaves captivating tales with enviable skill.
I’ve already preordered this book and the audiobook, and anxiously await another installment.
Paper & Blood book design credit: Caroline Cunningham.
Paper & Blood art director credit: David Stevenson.
Paper & Blood cover art credit: Sarah Coleman.
Audiobook narrated by Luke Daniels.