Xan and Ink by Zak Zyz


Banished from their homeland, two disgraced brothers, a fanatical priest and an escaped slave who venture into the foreboding Kalparcimex, an uncharted jungle teeming with an incredible variety of wondrous and murderous insects. When the legendary ranger Xan refuses to help the adventurers on their quest for redemption, they enter into an ill-advised pact with Ink, a cursed sorceress who stains everything she touches. Caught in the conflict between the two powerful figures, the four banished heroes must confront their darkest desires to escape the Kalparcimex!


Super unique characters. Just from the dialogue you could pick out who was who. Each is likable and not in their own way. I personally loved the story between Ink and Xan better. Like two superpowers fighting but it was more a battle of wills. However, the hapless 4 were just as interesting – the brothers very well tied together. Sandros with all his flaws a force to be reckoned with. Something to be aware of is the shift in POV – it is a little jerky and unexpected at times.


Let me start by saying, this is a weird book. Weird but oddly good. Very unique – particularly the Kalparcimex. Although some of the plot felt inevitable and predictable, it was not all predictable. Sometimes I wasn’t 100% sure what was going to happen, and one story line I didn’t see coming at all. This is for sure an adult book, from the language, to the violence and gore, to the explicit scenes.


Despite its weirdness, adult content, and a somewhat non-ending ending, it was very good. The writing was very easy to follow, and if you weren’t interested in getting to know the characters until later, perfect. There is lots of action with character development peppered throughout the book. This is like a fine wine, some people will love it, some will hate it but it is still worth trying. The Kalparcimex is awesome – giant insects!

It starts off a little rocky, there are parts that leave one wanting, but once Ink enters I really started to love the book. The sorceress adds a complexity to all the characters – from Xan to Sandros. Once she enters that is when things get really interesting! There are a few plot twists – some of which are hinted out subtly and some a little more openly. Also some well written sex scenes.

Despite everything I liked about this book there was something missing. It took me a while to put my finger on it. I thought it was the non-ending at first because I only like books that stand alone – as stated on my review policy and this was pitched to me as standalone – but that wasn’t the only problem. There was something else that was making me just not love it. I realized the author keeps too much hidden about the characters. The reason I liked Ink so much was because we get information about her – she is unique and we get some history on her so we can connect with her. I get having mysterious characters, but there is a fine line between mysterious and flat.


4 Stars

I liked it! Unique story, great actions scenes, but this does not stand alone and it needs a little more character development. Don’t get me wrong, love the characters! I’m actually more upset at how much is left unanswered and kept hidden, which makes this book feel incomplete. Beware of an ambiguous ending but worth the read!


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