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Once Upon A Bookshelf

Where Fiction and Reality Meet

Ink Exchange

Author: Melissa Marr
Originally Published: 2008
Publisher: HarperTeen, an imprint of Harper Collins
Source: Received from the Book Blogger Secret Santa last year

The Story

Set in the same universe as Marr’s debut novel, Wicked Lovely, this book tells the story of Leslie, and how she is used by fairy King of the Dark Court.

Since the Summer and Winter Courts started getting along (due to the events in Wicked Lovely), the Dark Court hasn’t been faring well. As they feed off really negative emotions, and the Summer and Winter Courts are no longer at war with each other, the Dark Court needs to look for alternate methods to gather these negative emotions… and what better way than to create a strong bond between a fairy and a human that will allow all that human’s emotions (and all the emotions in the close vicinity of that human) to filter directly to the Dark Court?

And so, when Leslie decides to get a tattoo, she unknowingly chooses one that will directly link her to the King of the Dark Court, leaving her very much in the middle of a world that she doesn’t even know exists.

The Response

I know that a lot of people are mixed about Marr’s books. Some love them, some really don’t. Me? Well, I haven’t gotten THIS much enjoyment out of a book in almost three months! They aren’t the best written books, but gosh darn it, there is something in it that draws me so into it, that makes me need to keep reading, that won’t allow me to put down the book until I read the very last word on the very last page. Why did I leave this sitting in my TBR for THAT long???

I actually enjoyed this more than I remember enjoying Wicked Lovely. So, yay! Maybe this will be the start of a good trend.

What I really liked about this one most of all was the depth that she gave her characters. Especially because most of this whole book circled around the Dark Court… I mean, we all know fey are not to be trusted… and they don’t typically come across as being terribly human (which is a good thing) but there was so much more to these fey than I would have expected. They’re not portrayed as evil – even though they need to feed off negative emotions, they don’t go around torturing people just for kicks. And they all genuinely seemed to care about Leslie’s well-being (more so than just to make sure that she was a good conduit of emotions towards them). I ESPECIALLY loved Gabriel, the Dark King’s enforcer/security-dude/right-hand-man/whatever. He’d be the guy to go out and take out any threat to the king, but there was so much more to him than the expected stereotypical dumb muscle-man/dude/fey/thing.

Leslie herself, I’m a little torn over. It was hard to empathize with her – in regards to her draw to Irial (the king of the Dark Court) at any rate… She’s supposed to be hating Irial, and yet so intoxicated by him. It didn’t seem like the struggle was really there… and it didn’t leave me at all satisfied when she got the tattoo finished and ended up being okay with being the channel for the Dark Court… I guess at that point, with her not being able to feel her emotions, it would be very similar to her dealing with depression, but that’s not how it came across.

Anyway! That was really the only thing that really bothered me in this book. Everything else was wonderful! I loved the characters, I loved how dark this was (without feeling overwhelming), I loved that Marr tackles some serious issues (drugs, rape, etc) (again without overwhelming the reader), I loved that the fey had so much depth to them… Ah! Wonderful book!!!

The Bottom Line

Awesome second book in this series. Will be reading more of them eventually (though not sure when!).

Other Reviews

Dear Author, Fyrefly’s Book Blog, My Friend Amy, Bookshelves of Doom, The Written World. Have you reviewed this book on your blog? Let me know and I’ll add your link.

Posted by Courtney Wilson @ 7:17 am October 13, 2010.
Category: Young Adult
Book Author(s):
Publisher(s): ,

  • Maggie

    I just finished reading ‘Radiant Shadows’ and absolutely loved it! I think her writing gets better and better as she goes. :)

  • Audra

    I’ve been so nervous about reading Ink Exchange because I liked Wicked Lovely so much — so this review is encouraging!