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Friday, July 16, 2010

Ink Exchange (Wicked Lovely #2) by Melissa Marr


Release Date: May 1, 2008
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: Fantasy, Faeries
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 325

Blurb (taken from Goodreads)

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 an 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.

The Quickie Review

Ink Exchange will not disappoint, it’s a dark yet engrossing read that had me captivated from the start. I found Melissa’s magical faery world just flowed off the pages into my imagination. All three of the main characters had depth to them and were well developed. I emotionally connected with all three even though sometimes I didn’t agree with their actions I could understand why they did what they did.

Marr never took the easy route with this story especially the ending which, whilst heart wrenching and strangely uplifting at the same time, was really the only appropriate way to end.

Whilst it’s definitely a darker read than Wicked Lovely fans of Marr will not be disappointed, I know I wasn’t.

The Full Blown Review

Move over Seth, I have found not one but two new swoon worthy characters that will give you a run for your money, Niall and Irial, thank you Melissa Marr. Now with that out of the way I can begin my review ….

I have to admit I was a bit skeptical about this book at first when I heard that Ink Exchange was not a continuation of Aislinn, Seth and Keenan’s story but instead focused on Aislinn’s friend Leslie, Keenan’s advisor Niall and the King of the Dark Court Irial. Oh how wrong I was, I could kick myself for having this sit next to my bedside table for months without reading it, shame on me!

Ink Exchange begins with Leslie, a mortal friend of Aislinn’s we met briefly in Wicked Lovely, who has had a difficult life since her mother left. Her father is a drunk and never around and her brother Ren is a drug addict who did an unforgivable thing to Leslie. In order to get some control over her life Leslie decides she needs to get a tattoo (I’m not sure why a tattoo would help but hey each to their own) but she can never find the perfect one. Finally after months of searching she sees one that calls to her, once she see it Leslie knows it’s her tattoo. However, little does she know the consequences that will follow this decision. Suddenly and unbeknownst to Leslie she is being followed by Dark Court faeries, these events worry Aislinn who asks Niall, who has a long history with the Dark King, to keep a closer watch on Leslie. This particular task is difficult for Niall when he is finding it harder to control his growing feelings towards Leslie especially when he knows he cannot touch her as his touch is addictive. With the completion of Leslie’s tattoo she abruptly finds herself bound to the swoon worthy Dark King Irial who needs her in order to feed off human emotions so he can in turn feed his court. Suddenly Leslie is thrown into the faeries world of politics and deceit.

Marr never shied away from dealing with the difficult issues that were dealt with in the book particularly Leslie’s rape which we lean about early in the novel. Marr does an excellent job getting into Leslie’s head, we see her fears and worries, as a reader I really felt for Leslie I wanted to give her a big hug and say everything is going to be alright.

A major theme throughout the novel was that of addiction, Leslie’s father was an alcoholic, her brother was a drug addict and Leslie herself became addicted to Irial, craving his touch. Whilst her brother and father were not able to overcome their addictions, Leslie showed just how strong a character she was by overcoming her addiction and surviving. Leslie understood what was happening to herself and knew she needed to change even though it would cause her pain in the beginning.

For all his faults especially what he put Leslie and Niall through I could not dislike Irial. There were no sinister motivations for his actions they were all based on his need to help his fae. It’s a credit to Marr’s writing that Irial and his court were not simply one dimensional, it would have been easy to put them in the evil box and leave it at that, but there were so many different layers. Whilst some of the things that went on in the court in order for them to survive were unpleasant they were necessary. Irial also softened as he grew closer to Leslie, falling in love with her, a mortal, who he knew he would eventually destroy. On the other hand I felt that some of things Keenan did were improper especially when he knew Leslie was a good friend of Aislinn’s. He also managed to push Niall away which really annoyed me especially when Niall was such a loyal advisor and friend. I loved getting to know more about Niall especially his past with Irial which definitely shaped who he was now. He was so torn between his duty to his King and his feelings for Leslie. In the end Keenan made the choice easy for him.

The ending wasn’t what you could call a traditional ending, but I think that’s really refreshing because things don’t always turn out how you want them to in real life. I could understand Leslie’s reasoning and choices in the end but it still made me a little sad.

*I should also mention for all you Aislinn, Seth and Keenan fans out there they do appear in the novel however briefly.

The Good

* Niall and Irial, two hot faeries who both loved Leslie need I say more?
* Marr’s writing, it just flowed off the page into my imagination
* The darker tone of the novel
* Leslie, a female protagonist who wasn’t passive!

The Not So Good

* So many new faerie species were mentioned that I got a bit confused who was who and what they were
* I didn’t understand Leslie’s explanation for why she wanted a tattoo, how would it help her situation?

Rating

4.5 out of 5

Cover Notes

The design team over at HarperTeen have done it once again and produced a cover that is not only exquisite but also relates to the book! It has a darker feel than Wicked Lovely which is understandable given Ink Exchange is a darker book.

There’s Another Book?!?

Yes my bloggy readers there are in fact three more books in the series after Ink Exchange:

7 comments:

Bilal said...

Hi, check my response to your comment at Beta Templates!

http://www.betatemplates.com/2010/06/add-beautiful-fonts-in-blogger-blogs.html?showComment=1279210350437#c7716634630116235835

Denny said...

Thanks for the great review ... I have 3 books from the series sitting on the shelf waiting to be read ... think they just moved up a place after reading your review

Sue Bursztynski said...

I'm reading this book at the moment and found the idea of linking faerie culture to tattoos fascinating - and why not, since tattooing was something done in ancient Britain and these folk of Faerie have a Scottish background? I had just read a book on Celtic folklore which mentioned, among others, Beira the Winter Hag... The author has done her research - and then played with it. Good on her.

Angie said...

Just found your blog on book blogger. I read Ink Exchange awhile ago and while I really loved the connection between the tattoos and the mystical, I had a hard time connecting with Leslie's character. I have a review up of book #3 in the series if you're interested, and god yes, I love the covers for these books. I almost want to buy them for that alone.

http://addktd2books.blogspot.com/2010/07/book-review-fragile-eternity-3-of.html

Angie said...

Hmmm..tried to follow your blog but it wouldn't let me... weird. Interesting that you're from Australia - I've met so many people from down under lately. :)

mummazappa said...

i loved this book too. my take on the tattoo thing is that it was about Leslie claiming her rights to her own body (something experienced intellectually and spiritually) through a physical act (the tattoo) - have you got one? I have and i found it a powerful thing to do. i didn't like the third book as much, but i'm halfway through book four and its pretty good so far!

Denny said...

These books are on my "To Read" pile ... but loved your review!

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Romy @ Lost.in.Stories
Greetings fellow blog readers, welcome to my blog and thank you for stopping by. Now you may be wondering who is lost.in.stories? Well lost.in.stories is also known as Romy, a 23 year old graduate student from Australia who loves to read. I read (maybe devour would be a more appropriate word) largely young adult novels, with a particular love of fantasy and paranormal novels, however I am also a sucker for a good romance.
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