Kismet Andreas lives in fear of the shadows.
For the young tattoo artist, the shadows hold more than darkness. He is certain of his insanity because the dark holds creatures and crawling things only he can see—monsters who hunt out the weak to eat their minds and souls, leaving behind only empty husks and despair.
And if there’s one thing Kismet fears more than being hunted—it’s the madness left in its wake.
The shadowy Veil is Mal’s home. As Pestilence, he is the youngest—and most inexperienced—of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, immortal manifestations resurrected to serve—and cull—mankind. Invisible to all but the dead and insane, the Four exist between the Veil and the mortal world, bound to their nearly eternal fate. Feared by other immortals, the Horsemen live in near solitude but Mal longs to know more than Death, War and Famine.
Mal longs to be… more human. To interact with someone other than lunatics or the deceased.
When Kismet rescues Mal from a shadowy attack, Pestilence is suddenly thrust into a vicious war—where mankind is the prize, and the only one who has faith in Mal is the human the other Horsemen believe is destined to die.
Writing this review was hard as I want to do it without giving anything away. As such, here we go:
Have you ever found yourself eating dinner and as you eat, the food seems tasteless and boring so you try not to think about it. And when you’re finished, you find yourself absolutely over the moon with how wonderful the dinner was and how while you’re full, you are ready for more? That’s kind of what reading Ink & Shadows was like for me.
Ink & Shadows is NOT a romance in any way, shape or form. So if you love the author’s other works, realize this is a huge divergence from them. However, that does not mean it’s not good. No, Ink & Shadows is absolutely fantastic. But, it is gritty urban fantasy so if that isn’t your cup of tea, you might want to pass it by. However, if you’ve never read UF, I suggest giving it a try. It’s got a myriad of immortals all fighting for one thing or another – such as the four horsemen of the apocalypse are doing their jobs…only their jobs tend to bring death and disorder. Then you have wraiths and darkfae and…well, you see where I’m going with this.
Along with a tremendous amount of religious mysticism, I found the irony used in the book to be quite delicious. Who are the good immortals? Who are the bad? As they started out the story, I had Death, War, Famine, and Pestilence as the good guys, but what about Faith, Hope, Charity, and Peace? As the four horsemen end up on the opposite side of conflict from Faith and Charity, it draws into stark relief the concept of what is ‘good’ and what is ‘evil’ and is it truly important? After all, it’s completely subjective.
If there is one complaint I have about the book and it is a rather large one, it is that Ford spent too much time building the world of this UF series in this book. That’s where some of the ‘tasteless’ (first paragraph) quality came in for me. Experts tell authors again and again: start in the middle of the action. Delete all backstory. Now, admittedly, the backstory holds quite a bit of the world building in Ink & Shadows as well, but it did make the book start out quite slow for me. But even with that, it was so good I will be rereading it – thus 5 stars.