While twenty-year-old FTM Hemingway is making an excellent living as a tattoo artist in a near-future version of Hell's Kitchen, the rest of the country is splintered and struggling in the wake of a war gone on for too long. Technology has collapsed, borders rise and fall overnight, and magic has awakened without rhyme, reason, or rule, turning average unwitting citizens into wielders of strange and specific strands of magic.
Hemingway's particular brand of magic has made him a household name. Not only is he a talented artist, but his work comes to life. Literally.
When NYC's most infamous serial killer—the East River Ripper—abducts Hemingway's best friend, Grace, he has only days to save her. Hemingway teams up with his stoic cop roommate to hunt for the killer and rescue Grace before she becomes the Ripper's latest victim. But as the duo chase clues to the serial killer's identity, Hemingway begins to fear the magic he and the Ripper share might eventually corrupt him too.
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Not the future anyone would choose
The magic chose you for bigger things, Hemingway. It’s kept you safe.”
Hemingway is a tattoo artist that owns Earnest Ink, a shop on the barricaded island of Manhattan in this dystopian future of Alex Hall. They are also a thaumaturge: a wonderworker that can change things in the physical world, and have become a phenomenon after tattooing the President following the destruction of Seattle’s Space needle. However, all they want to do is be left to do their art, either on canvas or preferably on skin.
The choice to move to New York was one to reinvent themselves. When their craft intersects with the political, they need to make decisions when their best friend goes missing, believed to be the latest victim of The East River Ripper that will make the future a very different place. They and their roommate hunt down the Ripper for different reasons that no matter what the outcome will change everything they know.
Alex Hall is an amazing magician in their own right. This book caught me from the beginning and really never let go. I recommend this and will search them out in the future. 5/5
[disclaimer: I received this book from an outside source and voluntarily read and reviewed it]