Ink Exchange is the story of Leslie, a girl who wants to get a tattoo to reclaim her body as her own (though you’ll have to read the book to find out why she feels the need to do so). Leslie’s family is broken—her mother is gone, her father drinks, and her brother is high all the time. She feels distant from her friends, particularly Aislinn (the main character of Wicked Lovely), who seems to be changing in ways that Leslie cannot explain or understand.
Leslie’s tattoo is beautiful—a pair of winged eyes on her upper back. But, as it turns out, it is not a normal tattoo. Leslie has become the subject of an Ink Exchange, something which ties her to the King of the Dark Court, Irial. This bond, as well as her friendship with Aislinn and a growing romance between she and the faery Niall, plunges Leslie into the strange and dangerous world of Faerie.
As I said before, Ink Exchange is good, but not quite as good as Wicked Lovely. One reason for this, I think, is Leslie’s relationship with Niall. Ink Exchange is the story of a damaged girl attempting to regain control of her life, and I felt that her romance with Niall was superfluous, unnecessary. At times it was even melodramatic— earning a very teenage roll of the eyes from me (though I do tend to roll my eyes a lot). It also created a Niall-Leslie-Irial love triangle that was a little too similar to the Seth-Aislinn-Keenan love triangle from Wicked Lovely.
All in all, though, Ink Exchange was a gorgeously executed, fabulously dark urban fantasy—just what I would expect from Melissa Marr. Irial made me shiver (creepycreepycreepy) and Leslie was a believable and interesting main character. So read this book. It’s good.
I give it four daggers.
Shivering, creeped out, happy, and yours,
The Dark Court's nature is terrifyingly brutal. Its king, Irial, is icily cruel and oddly compassionate by turns. And Leslie--accidentally tied to them by the tattoo meant to set her free--is confused. Her will is not her own these days, and she has no idea why.
This is the world of Ink Exchange. It's scary, beautiful, and well imagined. Admittedly, it isn't as good as Wicked Lovely, but is quite enjoyable nonetheless. I didn't find the Niall-Leslie love shape quite as superfluous as Aislinn seemed to. He (Niall) is quite a good character.
I bestow three and a half out of five daggers on Ink Exchange.
Ink Exchange comes out on April 29.