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Reviewed by Stephanie Chapman for Readers' Favorite
Rachel Rener’s Inked is the first book in the Gilded Blood series. Talia borrows ink from Zayn’s office to finish a tattoo of a cobra with a rattlesnake tail. After Roy enters the bathroom, Talia hears him scream. She discovers a snake identical to the tattoo, ready to strike. The next day, Talia goes to Zayn’s apartment and finds Biscuit, a parrot that looks like one of Zayn’s tattoos. Taking Biscuit and a Rune book with her, Talia returns to the tattoo studio. In Zayn’s office, she discovers a portal to the Fae Realm. Talia’s blood begins glowing gold, and she finds Zayn has a lot of explaining to do. Zayn needs Talia to accompany him on a mission to retrieve the rare delphinium flowers to counteract Sol’s control over the realm.
Rachel Rener uses Talia’s perspective to reveal her inner turmoil. It shows her lack of confidence and low self-esteem when Talia compares herself to others. Learning Zayn is an incubus, I could relate to Talia feeling that he had taken advantage of her. I found Biscuit’s antics humorous. He did aerial tricks for Talia in exchange for an almond. Each obstacle Talia has to overcome is written in exceptional detail. The story has multiple twists, which make it unpredictable. The suspense builds in intensity as Talia questions her feelings about her family’s heritage. Her Jewish mother’s constant phone calls with embarrassing questions made their dialogue realistic. The end was bittersweet, and I am eager to read the sequel. Inked is an urban fantasy romance where getting a tattoo may be more dangerous than you realize.