Ink Exchange by: Melissa Marr

Book: Ink Exchange
Author: Melissa Marr
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Tegen Other
Date Published: March 23, 2009


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. . . .

Why Did I Read This:

It was the second book in the series and as the first one rocked so much, I could hardly turn away from the rest of the series.


This is a dark love triangle between Irial, Nial, and Leslie.  Ash is trying to protect her closest friends and so won’t tell them of the land of fae.  Except Leslie has already seen her own horrors, is facing her own demons.  She seeks a way to free herself, to reclaim herself, and finds this choice in getting a Tattoo.

But the tattoo she chooses is no ordinary tattoo, and the ink used is no ordinary ink.  She is bound to the dark court and Irial, and was given just as much choice in the matter as Ash was before her mortality was taken from her.  Except Leslie gets to keep her mortality.  But instead she gets used to funnel dark emotions of those surrounding her to the dark court via Irial.

What I loved most about this story is that Melissa Marr was not afraid to touch the dark places.  She sunk down deep into the depths of it and she let it be what it needed to be.  She didn’t gloss over it.  She didn’t hold back.  She gave just enough.

I loved the ending of this book, and yet at the same time was disappointed by it.  This I assure you is a good thing.  A part of me wanted the happily ever after, but a part of me understood that choosing freedom was the best choice, and loosing both loves in the process, may be hard, but better for her in the long run.  Her own freedom under her own terms, not dictated by anyone else.

This book brought back some raw feelings from high school.  The need to hide from the darkness and to claim oneself as their own.  I had never experienced dark like Leslie, but I had my own demons (much as I think we all do).  I can understand her choices, and respect them.

Final Thoughts:

It is not a pretty tail, but it is a realistic one. If you are looking for those glossy perfect girls in the perfect world, this story is not for you.  But if you are looking for a more realistic depiction of what it is to be human, then this book is for you – even with its fantastic elements.

Rating: 9/10

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