First off, I just have to say how impressed I am with Melissa Marr. She has created such a vast, richly detailed world in her first two novels, this one and Wicked Lovely. It’s astonishing. The characters feel so real, so alive. She makes you feel as if you’ve met these people, they are your new best friends and makes you care deeply for their welfare.
Which is why this was just such a heart-crushing read for me.
The characters in this novel feel things extremely. All the emotions are extreme; love, hate, fear, disgust, passion, lust; it’s all felt hard, fast and thoroughly. Ink Exchange veers away from the story of Keenan and Aislinn, the two main characters from Wicked Lovely and instead focuses on Aislinn’s friend Leslie, Irial the King of the Dark Court, and Niall, friend and advisor to Keenan for nine centuries.
Personal aside here, while this is not a sequel to Wicked Lovely, you do need to have read Wicked Lovely first. Otherwise you are lost. Likewise, if you go from Wicked Lovely to its sequel, Fragile Eternity without reading Ink Exchange, you will be lost. Even though they are calling Fragile Eternity the sequel to Wicked Lovely, which is true, you need to know what happened in Ink Exchange. This irks me a bit, but anyway. Aside over.
Leslie has had a hard life. Her mother left her, her brother and her father for reasons that I do not remember off the top of my head. Abused in ways a girl should never be abused, by the people who are supposed to love and protect her, she wants nothing more than to reclaim her autonomy over her life, her soul and her body by getting her body inked.
The new peace between the Summer and Winter Courts is not good for everyone. The Dark Court is nourished by the more destructive emotions of faeries and is perilously weakened. Irial needs a solution and finds one, in Leslie. Which does not make Niall, newly infatuated with Leslie and sharing a conflicted past with Irial, very happy. And it all comes down to Leslie’s tattoo.
I don’t want to say any more because I am dangerous close to spoiler territory. Suffice it to say, I highly enjoyed this book, and highly recommend it. If you liked Wicked Lovely, if you like Holly Black, if you like dark fantasy, if you like a well-told story, you will like Ink Exchange. This is a great read for the Once Upon a Time Challenge.
I leave you with a few little blurbs of other reviews:
“Another highly addictive read…Compulsive enough to give the Twilight series a run for its money, and dizzyingly more sinister.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Readers will be drawn in by Marr’s darkly poetic imagery and language, her vivid portrayal of the art of tattooing, and her shadowy love triangle. This is indeed a delicious, smoky delight.” — Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“This urban fairy tale…is impossible to put down.” — School Library Journal (starred review) –This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Also reviewed, and, much better by:
If you have also reviewed this book and would like for me to link to it here, please let me know in the comments!