The righting of an ancient wrong. A future foretold. The bands tattooed around her wrists are laced with a dragon’s green and more, destiny preordained…
Mind Thief. Gift Thief. Feared for an ability to seize another’s thoughts and powers with a touch, San Francisco tattoo artist Etaín is such an elf—and the time has come for her to learn it.
Close to the transformation and about to discover her place in a supernatural world, Etaín once thought intimacy and permanence were impossible. Now she’s bound to Cathal, the son of an Irish mobster. And claimed by Eamon, an Elven lord with powerful gifts of his own.
Eamon is determined to keep her safe—from others as well as herself. But a quest for justice is more than it seems, leaving their future to hinge on choice and magic. On promises made and dangerous bargains.
This blurb came from the author’s website.
About a year and a half ago I read the first book in this series, Inked Magic, and thought that the world was interesting, characters intriguing but that it suffered from some flaws. However, I liked the importance of just the right tattoo and it had Elves so I attributed the flaws to the first-book-in-a-series syndrome. My decision was also aided because I have read other works by Strong and enjoyed them. So when Inked Destiny was available for review, I accepted. Unfortunately, I found myself slogging through the book. Inked Destiny takes place immediately following the events in Inked Magic. As a result if you decide to read this I strongly suggest that you read or reread the first one before starting because I didn’t reread and I found myself lost with the connections between characters outside of the primary three. Strong does not include much if any recapping of previous events, which works in some cases but in this particular complex world I needed a few reminders.
Etain, Cathal, and Eamon were still trying to figure out how to make their relationship work. Matters between them were complicated by Cathal’s doubts about sharing Etain, Etain’s evolving power as she changes, and Eamon’s ulterior motives and belief that he knows best. The power struggle was a continual theme even as outsiders tried to exploit the fissures in their bond. Their relationship was set against the backdrop of Elvish and Other politics, gang politics, and police politics all of which were tugging at their loyalties. I felt for a while that they were on an endless circle with Eamon wanting all of Etain and willing to accept Cathal, Etain wanting to be free but enjoying both men, Cathal wanting Etain and not really happy about Eamon. Things would appear to smooth out slightly then something would happen and the trio would revert.
Strong included a lot of different characters from a variety of sources: humans, gang members/leaders, police/federal government agencies, Elves and Dragons. I found myself confused at times wondering who worked for whom and what various characters were. Some individuals seemed to be Elves, or Halflings nearing transformation, or Dragons or something yet to be defined. Add in the various gangs and everyone had their own agendas and wanted to use Etain, Cathal or Eamon to accomplish them. It reached the point when I honestly stopped trying to keep track of the political subplots and just tried to focus on the primary and secondary love relationships. One of which I really hope works out but I am concerned given the latest developments.
I did find some things in Inked Destiny enjoyable. Strong usually provides intense smexy scenes and these were no exception. The relationship between Etain, Cathal and Eamon is M/F/M to this point and does not contain any BDSM but I did not find them lacking. The other thing that really intrigued me was the Dragon that visited Etain’s dreams and knew a lot more then he volunteered, even for a price. However, the things I enjoyed were outweighed by the issues I had with the majority of the story. Some might have been avoided if I had re-read the first book immediately before starting this one but I think I still would have struggled with all of the subplot lines. Given the issues I had with the first story and the fact that I had more with this one, I am afraid I will not continue reading this series.
I give Inked Destiny a C-/D
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