Done: Ink Mage by Victor Gischler, 2014, 9781477849309.
Took a while to get this thing cataloged. The library's current cataloging source is not good.
First, the complaints:
1. Gischler says, "'in need of an editor' is the current smarty pants reviewer go-to move on Amazon. Makes them feel smart." Yeah, well 47North should hire some more copy editors because one page had three instances of "solider" instead of soldier. EDIT: After some thought I realize that comment may sound snotty. It's not meant to be, I see typo errors in plenty of books. But, it still annoyed me and, after all, this is the internet where nitpicking is king.
2. No map in the print edition. What the heck? The e-book has a freaking map.There is no way I missed it somewhere in the novel. Is a map really needed? No, but I like maps.
Second, the comments:
1. It's Gischler, so you know it's good. Even if you don't usually read fantasy. Hopefully he'll sell enough of these to put out a sequel.
2. Swords and magic in a make-believe land with made-up fantasy names.
3. Klaar is a smaller duchy in the large kingdom of Helva. The kingdon is invaded by the Parnassians (or something like that). Rina, the Duke's daughter, witnesses the murder of her parents - under the invader's flag of truce no less - and escapes with her bodyguard into a winter storm. Bodyguard takes her immediately to a mountain cave where a real old wizard lives. The wizard tattoos a couple spells onto Rina. The spells are built into the tattoos and give her power. The wizard gives her the Prime tattoo down her back and a strength tattoo.
4. Meanwhile we've met Alem and Tosh, two Klaarian dudes. One is a stable boy - Head Stable Boy - and the other is a soldier who escaped the invasion slaughter. Alem ends up aiding Rina along with a loutish but charming RoyalOfSomeSort. Tosh tries to escape the city, fails, and is taken in by a bordello and is hired as a cook.
5. Rina's plan is to escape the mountain ringed Duchy of Klaar and inform the wider kingdom of the invasion. Rina gets another tattoo from a gypsy wizard. Rina travels across the kingdom - Rina doesn't have a map either but remembers her dad's maps - to another wizard for another tattoo.
6. Tosh starts training the prostitutes in sword play. No pun intended. The patriotic prostitutes are pointedly plotting resistance to the invaders.
7. Rina, Tosh and Alem all end up back in Klaar to try and take the city. This is more easily done since Gischler, I mean the Parnassian commander, quartered most soldiers outside the city walls.
8. Everyone lives happily ever after as the invaders leave. Except for all the dead people from the war.
9. A good book. No surprise about that. With Gischler-style humor. No long, drawn out battle scenes.
10. No over emphasis on creating detailed religious, cultural, or political systems for Klaar and Helva. Gischler keeps things going and gives us good characters, a couple brief sex scenes, and chopped off heads. Not much sword play either. No detail on weapons and giving swords names and histories.
11. No outdoor grilling.
EDIT: I should note that this was first published as a Kindle serial in 2013. I had to wait for the paperback version to release.