Home       About Me       Review Archive

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Review: Ink Exchange (Wicked Lovely #2) by Melissa Marr

Publisher: HarperTeen
Published: May 1, 2008
Pages: 325
Source: Library
Rating: 4 Stars - I Loved It!
Description: Unbeknownst to mortals, a power struggle is unfolding in a world of shadows and danger. After centuries of stability, the balance between the Faerie 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.
17-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 that Leslie had 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 faerie world, unable to resist its allures, and helpless to withstand its perils.

In short: Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr is darker and edgier than Wicked Lovely but just as engaging. I still hate Keenan.

After reading Wicked Lovely, I was really looking forward to reading more about Aislinn and Seth's story so I was a bit bummed that they were only secondary characters in Ink Exchange. Instead, Ink Exchange focuses on three different characters who were minor in Wicked Lovely. The story rifts off of a two second scene in Wicked Lovely where Aislinn runs into her friend Leslie and a dark faery in a tattoo parlour.

Leslie comes from a broken home. Her mother abandoned her. Her father is an alcoholic. Her brother is a drug addict who abuses her. And one time, her brother let his drug dealer rape her. Definitely much darker than Wicked Lovely. Like an episode of Degrassi on crack.

Still, I found I could admire Leslie's strength to overcome what has happened to her in the past. There was something very powerful about her decision to get a tattoo, reclaiming her body as her own after the rape, making herself whole again. It's this quality that in her that makes her an ideal candidate for an ink exchange with the Dark King which would bind them together and allow the Dark King to feed on mortal emotions through her.

Thankfully, Keenan, the Summer King, was in this one a lot less than in Wicked Lovely. Unfortunately, he's still a dick. He purposely puts Leslie in danger and he manipulates his friend and Leslie's love interest, Niall, to get what he wants. I'm wondering if I'll ever come to like him.

We get to learn more about faery mythology in Ink Exchange, specifically the Dark Court. Still, I wish we got a little more background information during some of the scenes. Some scenes were a bit confusing and I had to read them twice to figure out what was going on.

Overall, Ink Exchange wasn't as fun as Wicked Lovely with its serious subject matter, but I still found myself taken into the story of Leslie as she struggles to reclaim herself. This book was largely about the importance of making your choices your own and the ending of Leslie's story was very satisfying in this respect.

Previously, My Review for Wicked Lovely

Other Reviews:
i swim for oceans
Musings of a Reader Happy
Novels On The Run

Stalk the Author (not for serious):

*Read as part of the YA Series Challenge
*Qualifies for the Into the Old World Reading Challenge

*The Letter I in the A-Z Reading Challenge


  1. I'm wondering if you'll like the next one, then. They focus less and less on Aislinn. And I agree about the confusing aspects. But the court ways do develop more and become clearer. They just don't stay focused on one, which is sometimes annoying.

    Nice review!

  2. Oh, bummer. I really want to read more about Aislinn now that she's changed! I'm looking forward to learning more about the High Court I guess and more new characters but I really feel that the background info about the courts that we've seen so far aren't complete.

  3. "Keenan is still a dick" LOL!

    I didn't really enjoy Ink Exchange as much, either. I felt like it could have just been a novella or a side-story, rather than a part of the series. But I guess you really need to read all of the not-so-Aislinn-related books in order to understand Darkest Mercy (from what I hear). *shrug*

  4. Hi ,

    With this Wicked Lovely series , sometimes it does get a bit confusing and I found I had to take it slowly in parts to read as Meliisa can be very detailed . Im looking forward to Darkest Mercy. I did love Seth in first book and I did miss him in Ink Exchange.


  5. @Lauren: Yes, I felt that I needed to read it. And I did enjoy it... it was just rather serious. Apparently there are quite a few novellas for this series that she has released. But It appears all of them are eBooks and none of them are free.
    @Michelle: I missed Seth, too! Yes, some parts were confusing and I needed to read twice. But it's quite interesting, as well!

  6. I own the first two books of this series but for some reason I have yet to read either of them.

  7. You crack me up Aylee! I thought Keenan was a bit of a dick in Wicked Lovely as well, but I loved Aislinn and Seth and I think part of the reason I didn't pick this one up immediately is because it's not a continuation of their story. I still really enjoyed the world, and I like that Marr's world of Faery is a bit darker, so I know I'll get to this one eventually. Fabulous review:)

  8. I didn't read this partly because I knew it doesn't really have too much of Aislinn and Seth. Book 3 has more of Seth so that's good.

    Oh, and I'm not a fan of Keenan either!

  9. I hate Keenan too. I just don't get him most of the time. Ink Exchange, I feel, was necessary because we get to know more about the Dark Court and a lot of characters come into prominence in Radiant Shadows anyway. Can't wait for Mercy!!

  10. I have this on my shelf but just haven't got ot it yet. Mind you, it is so long since I read Wicked Lovely that I think I'm going to have to read it again before I move on to Ink Exchange LOL.

    Enjoyed reading your review. Glad you enjoyed it.

  11. I haven't bought this sequel yet. I didn't know it wasn't about Aislinn and Seth. Thanks for the honest review. :D I now know what to expect of the 2nd installment.

  12. @Rebecca: I would recommend it because the final book is coming out soon!
    @Jenny: Thanks! Yeah, I was bummed it wasn't exactly a continuation but I felt it was still necessary if I want to move on to Fragile Eternity.
    @A Canadian Girl: It didn't even occur to me to skip this one; it felt necessary to read for some reason. Good to know about more Seth in Book 3!
    @Ani Raye: Glad to know I'm not the only Keenan hater! I agree about the necessity of reading this one!
    @The Slowest Bookworm: Yeah, it really launches right into the action; it doesn't rehash Wicked Lovely so that might be a good idea.
    @Selfcentered: I didn't know it wasn't about Aislinn and Seth either until I started reading it! They are still there in the story but much less.

  13. Wow, this one does sound a lot darker than the first one. I love the way you talk about Keenan :P I haven't read this one yet because I didn't love Wicked Lovely. I'm curious to see how you'll like the rest of the series.

  14. @Small Review: I'm hopeful that the series will get better as it goes on and I get more involved with the characters.

  15. I actually haven't read this series yet...a bit intrigued, I must say. I'll have to find some more reviews of it to make a decision.

    By the way, I wanted to let you know that I gave you an award over at my blog - The Stylish Blogger Award. I hope it makes you smile :)

  16. Great review! I didn't know that Aislinn and Seth would become secondary characters. :(
    I'm glad you enjoyed the book. Leslie's story sounds pretty heavy, but at least Keenan doesn't make as much of an appearance. :)

  17. I'm with everyone else - your Keenan comments are hilarious! That's interesting to have minor characters from the first book become the central focus of this one.

    PS - I love how you link to other reviews. Have I said that before? If I did, then it bears repeating. I like that feature. I may steal it from you. :P

  18. I was surprised I liked this one so much (thanks for linking my review btw)! It was very good, eh? Awesome review, Aylee :)

  19. @Book Geek: I would definitely recommend reading more reviews... some reviews I've read have liked this series a great deal more than me and other a great deal less. I'm kind of in the middle.
    @Jessica: haha, unfortunately he's back in full force and just as arrogant as ever in the next book Fragile Eternity.
    @Logan: Aw, thanks! And I am by no means the originator of that idea. I've seen some other people who do it as well, especially if their review differs from others significantly.
    @Melissa: I was surprised I liked it so much, as well. I thought I wouldn't because it wasn't exactly a continuation of Aislinn's and Seth's story.

  20. I finally got around to buying the second and third one today so maybe sometime soon I can start on it. Love the review as always. :)

  21. I think I may have to start this series...I keep seeing it pop up everywhere.
    Thanks for a great review!

  22. Hey! I don't know if you've already received this award, but it's the Stylish Blogger Award!
    Your blog is so funny and unique, and I love everything from your reviews to Muggle Mondays! Click here for more info about the award!

  23. I see that a lot in series. To make it more exciting (?), the focal characters change with each book. I haven't started this series, yet, but I want to.

    I'm glad to hear that more of the mythology was revealed with this one. I remember that was kind of problematic for you the with the first book.

  24. @AngelicNytmare: Excited to know what you think of it!
    @Jamie: Would be interested to know what you think of it!
    @Maggie: You're right, it's the 7th time! But thanks :)
    @Missie:Yeah, I guess I like the change of POV. I didn't at first, but it's grown on me. Ditto with the mythology... I kind of like that it's revealed bit by bit though I didn't at first.

  25. I haven't read this one yet but I want to. I would miss Aislinn and Seth too, but I do like how Marr seems to focus on different characters for each book. So it can essentially stand on its own. It's different than other YA series and I admire it for that.

  26. This one was a bit depressing to me but I still loved it. I do agree that some of the stuff is a little confusing and you have to read it again. Great review! =)

  27. @Alison: Yeah, I've come to appreciate it a lot more... I'm not sure I liked it at first. I wouldn't say it was a completely stand alone book; it would probably be a pretty confusing read if it was.
    @Cynthia: Exactly: depressing but enjoyable in a different way.

  28. I really, really love Melissa Marr! I think these books are just wonderful. Even though Ink Exchange is such a hard one to read, I think books like these are so amazing because they seem the most real - there's not a cookie cutter ending for everyone :) Awesome review!

  29. I'm holding off on reading this review until I read Wicked Lovely. After reading your review on that book I took it out.So I plan on reading it soon. I'm glad to hear you liked this Ink Exchange and gave it 4 stars. I'm glad to hear it's dark and edgy!

  30. @Emma: Yeah, I'm noticing that. Great way of putting it! There she isn't a perfect happy ever ending for everyone.
    @Julie: I hope you like WL!

  31. Oh, you made me want to read and I've never been attracted to this author before! Great review :D

  32. Cool. It's definitely not for everyone but I would say it's worth a try!

  33. Excellent review! I love books about faeries, can't believe I haven't read Wicked Lovely yet!

  34. I couldn't believe I hadn't read it either!