Unbeknownst to mortals, a power struggle is unfolding in a world of shadows and danger. After centuries of stability, the balance among the Faery Courts has altered, and Irial, ruler of the Dark Court, is battling to hold his rebellious and newly vulnerable fey together. If he fails, bloodshed and brutality will follow.
Seventeen-year-old Leslie knows nothing of faeries or their intrigues. When she is attracted to a eerily beautiful tattoo of eyes and wings, all she knows is that she has to have it, convinced it is a tangible symbol of changes she desperately craves for her own life.
The tattoo does bring changes - not the kind Leslie has dreamed of, but sinister, compelling changes that are more than symbolic. Those changes will bind Leslie and Irial together, drawing Leslie deeper and deeper into the faery world, unable to resist its allures, and helpless to withstand its perils...
Melissa Marr continues her tales of Faerie in a dark, ravishing story of temptation and consequences, and of heroism when least expected. (from book jacket)
Before I read the description of Ink Exchange, all I knew about it was that it was the sequel to Wicked Lovely. I did not know that the book would not be from Aislinn's point of view, but rather her friend Leslie's. Unlike Aislinn at the beginning of Wicked Lovely, Leslie knows nothing about faeries, and is introduced in a rather unfortunate way.
I missed reading about Aislinn firsthand because I wanted to see what it was like for her to be Summer Queen, but luckily for us she is still a character in the book. And I really enjoyed reading from Leslie's perspective (some of the other characters get narration time, but I think Leslie is the main character), because she was also a very strong person. She had gone through some horrible things, but still managed to survive and continue on with her life. With this, it is totally understandable that Leslie would want a tattoo to symbolize her new outlook on life, something that would change her for the better. The way Melissa Marr used the tattoo to tie Leslie to Irial, king of the Dark Court, was pretty awesome. It was unexpected and very creative.
The other characters who get to narrate some of Ink Exchange are Irial (who I just mentioned) and Niall, one of Keenan's, the Summer King, advisors. Once Leslie gets the tattoo both guys are drawn to Leslie, one for good reasons and one for bad. They both want her and it's kind of like a competition to see who gets her. Leslie ends up having feelings for both, but that's because their faery natures cause this to happen. So I didn't really like the romance because it never felt real to me. I don't know if it was because of the way it was written or if it was because I knew the whole time that Leslie was being influenced to feel a certain way. Suffice to say, the romance was not my favorite part of Ink Exchange.
I really liked how Ink Exchange ended and I definitely enjoyed seeing Leslie overcome the challenges and still remain a strong and courageous character. I think there's more books after this one in the series, so I will have to check them out to see what happens next.
Rating: 7 out of 10.
FTC: won in a contest.
2008/Harper Teen/325 pages.