Wednesday, August 4, 2021

ARC Review: Paper & Blood by Kevin Hearne

Paper & Blood

Kevin Hearne
Series: Ink & Sigil (Book 2)
Publication: Del Rey (August 10, 2021)

Description: From the New York Times bestselling author of The Iron Druid Chronicles comes book two of an “action-packed, enchantingly fun” (Booklist) spin-off series, as an eccentric master of rare magic solves a supernatural mystery Down Under!

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.

My Thoughts: 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. 

Favorite Quote:
"Does it get easier?" she said when she returned.

[Grief is never easy. But it gets softer around the edges, smoothed over like a river rock given time enough and water. It's still a rock and it's heavy and dangerous and capable of hurting you. Just not immediately to the touch, if that makes sense.]
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.


  1. I do like your quote. I think it is very apt, very descriptive.

  2. I’m hoping to get my hands on this sooner rather than later


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