Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Lis’ Review: Ink by Isabelle Rowan

Isabelle Rowan
Dreamspinner Press, December 12, 2011 | 225 pages

Author’s website | Goodreads | Buy book here

Roman centurion Dominic drew his last human breath during the time of Hadrian. In the centuries since, he’s seen much of the world change around him, but the vampire finds himself held captive in Melbourne, Australia, by his fascination with young, passionate, fun-loving, and alive tattoo artist Michael Chapman. Unable to resist the lure of Michael’s beauty, Dominic finds himself entering the parlor to get a tattoo he knows will fade.
The attraction he feels only grows, and despite Dominic’s extreme reluctance to get involved with a human, he and Michael form a bond—a connection that all too soon attracts the attention of a dark specter from Dominic’s bloody past. Soon, a dangerous game of cat and mouse threatens not only the budding romance, but also their humanity.

This is an expanded novel based on the novella Ink originally published in the Desire Beyond Death anthology by Dreamspinner Press.

Genre & Keywords:
M/M Romance, Supernatural, Vampires, Friendship, Australia, Tattoos, Centurion, Loneliness

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 1 out of 3

Reviewed by Lis:

Ink is most definitely not what you’d expect from a vampire romance story. Nowadays we see a lot of instant love between a vampire and his mate and they are perfectly happy together apart from a misunderstanding here or there. Nothing like that in Isabelle Rowan’s Ink. Ink is a dark story with a lonely predator in the lead.

Ink was, for me, not an easy story to read. It was both poetic and fascinating and tedious at the same time. Dominic is a tormented character, whose loneliness speaks out in this story. He is tired of his lonely existence and at the same time craves human contact.

He is undeniable attracted to tattoo artist Michael, who in contrast, is young, sweet, attractive and social. To Dominic Michael represents life and the sun he hasn’t seen in centuries. He wants Michael, but he also wants to protect Michael...from himself.

While Dominic has contact with Michael, through various tattoos he gets (which fade before morning), the contact is slightly one-sided as Dominic makes Michael forget him afterwards...until Michael doesn’t forget. And Michael is not so easily pushed aside. I loved his persistence.
When things slowly come along for Dominic and Michael, Dominic’s maker comes to town. Galen is one very nasty character! Or so he seems.

Ink is a very inventive story, with a lot of story building and a slow pace. It’s well written and worked out. It doesn’t just feature the main characters, but a solid support cast as well. None of the characters are stereotypes, sweet and romantic, but complicated and flawed. This made them seem more human than most romance characters.

While objectively, I can see why a lot of people love this story and it is an awesome read, for me the pace was a bit on the slow side and the many details made me sigh sometimes.

There is no explicit sex in this book. The why of it would be a spoiler, but overall the emphasis of this story is on friendship, which makes for a nice change.

What also makes for a nice change is the setting of this story: Melbourne, Australia. It did make me wonder why a vampire would be in Australia. It is a bloody hot climate with a lot of sun time.
Ink is definitely a story I’d recommend. It’s a gem in m/m romance, even if it is not an easy read, but I think that’s more personal. I was on a long bus ride at the time.


  1. I haven't read this one, but OMG the cover! I have seriously almost picked it up a million times b/c the cover is so gorgeous!

    1. The cover is indeedvery pretty!

  2. love the cover! I like the sound of this one. I kind of like these type of stories. Thanks for the review!

    1. Thanks Sharon! The cover is indeed gorgeous!


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