I love novellas or short stories. They can be the perfect introduction to a new world if done right or they can leave you wanting more, which can be both good or bad. Thankfully, Jocelynne Drake has not only given us a fantastic glimpse into her Asylum Tales world with Asylum Interviews: Bronx, but she’s definitely left me hungering for more.
The first of two prequel stories to Jocelynn Drake’s Angel’s Ink. It’s not easy being a tattoo artist and a wizard, especially when you’re in hiding. Or when a botched ink job has amplified an incubus’s existing sex appeal into one that could wreck the whole town. And your only help is a troll.
Seriously. Bronx is like the perfect tease for this new series. We get to meet a bunch of different creatures – warlocks, incubus, Vestal Virgins (who are so not what you think) – that inhabit this world, but they don’t clutter up the story. We’re given just enough to see what their role (or potential role) will be and then they’re gone. It’s perfect. I totally can’t wait to see how Gage’s relationship with Gideon and the Ivory Towers pan out, because I can already tell it’s going to be rocky and chaotic and just fabulous tension. Plus the whole thing with the Vestal Virgins…love it. The characters Drake has developed for Angel’s Ink (and the sub-sequential novels) is going to give readers a whole new world to fall in love with.
Bronx is definitely setting up a new world and the plot helped that immensely. Trying to fix the incubus’s tattoo meant Gage had to encounter a few of the races we’re going to get to see. Obviously there’s only so much one can do with 87 pages, but Drake spins in enough interactions with these other races that not only help move the plot along, but we get to see what they can possible do for Gage later. Not only that, it gave Gage and Bronx time to just be men. This means there were moments of easy camaraderie as well as times where the two were determined to do what they set out to do. Bronx was definitely well paced and if this is an example for the following stories, I better set aside some time because I am going to be so engrossed when Trixie and Angel’s Ink come out.
Since this is a new series for Drake, I do want to say this. For fans of Drake’s Dark Days series, I’m pretty confident in saying that Gage is nothing like Mira. He’s not going to jump into any situation without some form of plan and he’s cautious about what he does do. I’m not saying Mira wasn’t as well, but in comparison, Gage is a lot less intense. He doesn’t have to live up to any kind of reputation. In fact, he’s trying to blend into the walls and not attract notice. So there’s going to be a different feel to the Asylum Tales vs Dark Days. This isn’t a bad thing, but it’s going to be noticeable in the fact that Gage is male. I have nothing against male protagonists, but they never sound male in my head. So that was one thing I had to do – keep reminding myself that Gage is male.
Overall, if Bronx is any indication of how the rest of the new Asylum Tales series is going to go, I’m really excited. The characters have this fresh new feeling attached to them (and not in the sense it’s a new series) and we’re given a lead that isn’t quite like any others. He’s going to be fierce when put in a corner, but will know how to keep it covered. In addition, there’s this fabulous world we’re given a glimpse of and I totally want to go exploring. I have a feeling there are going to be a lot of fun, dark aspects of Low Town to discover. If you can’t wait to get a look into the world of Angel’s Ink, then I would definitely download a copy of Asylum Interviews: Bronx when it comes out on the first. Even if you don’t have an e-reader, get it, you won’t be disappointed.