Author: Rhys Ford
Publisher: DSP Publications
Rating: 3.5 stars
Received from Publisher
Blurb: 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.
I’m a HUGE Rhys Ford fan so I’m sad to say this is the first book of hers I didn’t absolutely love of hers. There was a ton of promise in this one that just didn’t quite work for me personally. Ink & Shadows isn’t really a romance but there were some HFN couplings in the book. I love War and Death. They were the most intriguing part of the book for me. There was some history there I was hoping to read about that never happened in this book. It’s a book one so maybe I’ll get more of their back story later. They’ve certainly been through a lot. I have no idea how Death can resist War’s constant and clever come-ons. I love how Alpha and yet vulnerable they both are. I think I could read entire books about them.
The imagery of all the creatures was brilliant and creepy. Things coming for humans that we aren’t able to see them is just plain freaky. Rules that are supposed to be followed by some gods that are being ignored and causing chaos on earth. I shivered thinking they could be right by me and I’d never notice. I didn’t really feel like the Horseman lived up to the fear they seemed to instill at the mention of their name. Sort of like I was missing some information or being told and not showed. There were a few times in this book that I felt lost or wanted more information. The bad guys were ruthless in their quest to be together and escape their current lives. It’s also that all those like the Horseman on Earth have callings. So they’re called out when humans need them. It creates a certain bitterness among some.
Mal and Kismet were another possible couple set up in this book. Mal certainly felt a strong need to protect Kismet who REALLY needed it. Poor guy. I have no idea how Kismet made it day to day given his past and all the ugliness he saw each day. Yes the drugs a were a temporary escape but they were ultimately changing his life forever. It was interesting and unique that Mal wanted to protect Kismet but he’s not really capable of much being a younger Horseman. Like he’s supposed to be this scary man in name but without the bad assery he’d need to protect Kismet from the creepy crawly bad guys that are after him. Still no idea how the humans who become Horseman come about or how they’re chosen. While just getting pieces of the puzzle was intriguing, it was also frustrating and I found it hard to get too involved in the story with the little glimpses of information. To be fair the Horsemen didn’t know how they came to be them either.
So while I can’t say I loved this one, I am intrigued by the world and characters. I want to know what happens with Mal and Kismet. How Kismet handles life now that he’s somewhat free of those demons. I’m pretty sure he’s still a target. Maybe see some of the baddies again and how they come back from licking their wounds. Does War finally break down Death’s walls and get his man? He has to. There’s just so much wrapped up in their relationship. It’s not just emotional. They have very important reasons for being who they are. Death needs War. They just have to be together. I’d also like to see Mal find a way to finally be himself and find his way with the four. Best summery of how I felt about this book is that I just needed more. More answers. More history. More cohesion. Good thing is I did want more!