As soon as I finished reading Ink Illusions, I wanted to write down my impressions of it, but I needed to get to sleep. Still, my memory hadn't faded too much in a day.
I put this on AE:
This is the first book of Val Kovalin's I'd read, though I've read lots of her Obsidian Bookshelf book reviews. It was different from the usual. Of course she didn't have what she rates as flaws. She avoided a good amount of what I consider flaws, too. The novella was a bit less than 100 pages, and I felt like I'd missed some backstory. I don't mind some exposition if it's interesting, and I would have liked some. Other people like very tight writing. There wasn't anything you couldn't pick up sooner or later from dialogue or characters' memories of events.
A good deal of the book's plot involved a child and child-raising. I'm not much for children myself, but if you like them, there's some great reading here for you, and some fine shading of the adult characters as parental figures.
I felt like certain pretty big issues and events in Travis' past were thrown in near the end, and I would have liked more of how the characters felt and were handling it. I would have liked for more focus on the protagonists' relationship towards the end of the novella, and a little more room for it. Perhaps this was also due to story length.
Those were my impressions. I'm sure I'll read more of Val's books, and this was definitely high quality writing. Overall, I felt it was quite a good book. It didn't have the general problems I sometimes find in m/m romance stories. To me, it seemed a few parts were rushed, but I like to have things explained outright to me more than some readers do.
It's interesting to me when a reviewer transitions to being an author. First you see what they say about books, then you see how they construct their own books. Val's definitely well worth checking out as an author.