Dead Man’s Deal
The Asylum Tales, Book #2
By Jocelynn Drake
ISBN#  9780062117885
Author’s Website:

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Heidi

*Beware of Spoilers*

In the heat of the moment magical tattoo artist and ex-warlock-in-training, Gage, made a mistake and killed his former mentor using magic, meaning that he will have to forfeit a year of his life; a year that will be spent in the underworld with Lilith who already has a piece of his soul.  He doesn’t know when that year will be taken, but Gage knows it could happen at any time.

In the meantime, he is trying to live a normal life, but his problems keep stacking up.  He wants to help his hot elf girlfriend, Trixie, from being hunted by her race, he is stuck working for the dark elf mafia and needs to find a way to free himself along with Bronx who was dragged into it because of Gage, and now the Ivory Towers are about to declare war over some information that was discovered.  Gage has his plate full, but he has to tackle one problem at a time and hope that he gets himself and his friends through to the other side alive!

But Gage can’t save himself and his friends without making a few sacrifices along the way.  But will the price he’s forced to pay be too high?

I liked this book, but it wasn’t as fast-paced as I was hoping it would be.  Don’t get me wrong there is a lot of action going on and something is always happening.  But all of the warlock duels started to blend together after awhile and became monotonous.  Gage had so many problems and it was hard to keep up with all the hoops he had to jump through, but it never left the reader lost.  And, overall this was another good book in The Asylum Tales series that I wouldn’t have wanted to miss.

The relationship between Trixie and Gage has really started to take shape and I’m really enjoying what I’m seeing there.  You can just feel the love they share and it feels real, not forced like some relationships I’ve read in other books.  Drake writes this couple beautifully and the sex scene in Asylum was explosive!

“I think I should be in mourning. Many brain cells were lost in the creation of that orgasm.”

Trixie chuckled. “I appreciate their sacrifice.”

As for Gage himself, I think I enjoy him more with each book or novella.  He is just so….male!  The things he says are funny and his thoughts are laugh-out-loud hysterical at times, even if they can be a bit crude.  But I’m no prude which makes his comments right up my alley, as long as they make me laugh and don’t feel  forced, I’m a happy girl!

“I could feel her wipe away something wet, but I refused to think she had made me cry as well as admit that I was a coward. The League of Men was going to come confiscate my balls at this rate. But it didn’t matter. Trixie was worth it.”

I’m also really starting to enjoy Gage’s warden, Gideon!  I never disliked him, but as I learn more and more about him and really start to see him look out for Gage, I can’t help, but be fond of him.  And, to know that he too is bucking the system of the Ivory Towers only makes me like him more!

“I didn’t mean it to sound so challenging, but I needed to try to reassure my friend. Gritting my teeth, I tried to think of some way to placate Gideon. It was as if I was standing in quicksand, the earth slipping away from my feet the more I spoke. A smart man would keep his mouth shut. I wasn’t always a smart man.”

My favorite part of this book was the last chapter.  Gage visiting his parents was emotional and really exposed his vulnerabilities and I loved every moment of it.  I hope we get to see more raw emotion from Gage and those around him as this series continues to progress.

The decisions Gage was forced to make in this book were definitely hard for him and will shape the rest of the series, but I can’t wait to see him face his demons head on and come out living the life he was meant to.  I feel he is a strong character that keeps growing and strengthening and this book in particular really shows the sacrifices you sometimes have to make for those that you love.  Those choices may be hard, but in the end you know they’re right and for that reason alone, I know Gage will continue to thrive!

*Please note that this review is based off of an ARC received by the publisher months in advance and everything including the quotes included in this review is subject to change.