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Ink is not as strong as Wicked nor are the characters as compelling.

  • Nov 13, 2009
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Wicked lovely was one of my favorite paranormal YA reads in recent years. I immediately connected with Aislinn and Seth, and was completely captivated by the Faerie world that Melissa Marr had created. So I fully expected to be equally enchanted by Ink Exchange. After all, it's the same wonderful world, and some of the same wonderful characters. So why am I left feeling slightly disappointed?

A human girl is singled out by a faery ruler as the one who could save his court and slowly drawn into the invisible world of the Fey. Torn between two men, one of whom she is drawn to despite her better judgment, she struggles to maintain her sense of self, deal with past family issues, and perhaps find true love.

I just described the general plot of both Wicked Lovely AND Ink Exchange. Now do you see why I'm disappointed? Ink Exchange does tell a different story in the details: Leslie is the human in question this time (we met her briefly in Wicked), and Irial is of the Dark Court (as opposed to Keenan's Summer Court). Leslie has spend her life oblivious of fey until she unwittingly chooses a tattoo that links her to Irial and allows him to siphon dark human emotions (fear, anger, lust, hate etc.) through her to feed all his fey and stave off starvation. The link is eventual fatal to humans and, in the meantime, Leslie lives as a junkie where her only fix is Irial's touch. The love triangle is completed by Niall, Keenan's guard who falls for Leslie while trying to protect her from all fey, including himself.

If I hadn't read Wicked Lovely first, I probably wouldn't be nit picking. The story is fascinating, but it is also familiar, too much so for me. And to be honest, Ink is not as strong as Wicked nor are the characters as compelling. The world of the fey even seems less vivid. Ink Exchange in not a bad book, quite the opposite. The only real criticism is that it doesn't live up to its predecessor. And considering how lovely Wicked was, that is hardly a fault at all.

Caution: I had a difficult time reviewing Wicked Lovely as a YA book because of some of the subject matter. I'm faced with that same problem with Ink Exchange. There are a lot of subjects in this book that I would be cautious about introducing to a young audience: Rampant drug use and abuse; child abuse; gang rape, orgies, sex addiction, self-mutilation, etc. Some of these topics are only briefly touched on, while others are recurring features throughout the story. Something to think about before handing this book to a teen.

Sexual Content:
Several references to a past experience where a character was drugged and gang raped. The concept of sexual addiction is present. Sex is implied, but never described. Orgies are implied, but never described.

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More Ink Exchange (Wicked Lovely) reviews
review by . August 07, 2010
Ink Exchange is the second novel in Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely series.  Of course, Marr, being the complex and fascinating writer that she is, chooses not to keep her readers on the edge of their seats by disrupting the sequence of the series.  You shouldn't make the mistake of believing this novel to be the sequel to Wicked Lovely.  This novel, which examines the story of Aislinn's friend Leslie, is a companion to rather than the sequel for Wicked Lovely.     …
review by . June 29, 2008
I had thought maybe it was just me and my own inability to get into this book. I loved Wicked Lovely and had high hopes for Ink Exchange. Maybe this is the downfall of this book; it just didn't live up to Wicked Lovely. It seems, after reading several reviews here on Amazon, that I'm not alone in my feelings for Ink exchange: It was good, just not as good as I'd hoped it would be.    Leslie, friend of Aislinn from Wicked Lovely, wants to retake control of her life; her mother's …
review by . June 10, 2008
Leslie has led a troubled life ever since her mother walked out on her family. Her father has turned to alcohol and can't be depended on to do anything like paying the bills unless he's in a good mood. Her brotherRen has turned to drugs, and unfortunately, hanging out with than crowd under the influence has caused horrible things to happen to Leslie. But Leslie is so ashamed and tries to hide it. She refuses to tell her friends and works as a waitress so she can pay the bills. She feels trapped …
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Abigail ()
Ranked #579
I am a 20-something book lover with an obsession for all things urban fantasy. I cut my teeth on the paranormal genre withBuffyandTwilightbefore discoveringPatricia Briggs and Ilona Andrews. Suffice … more
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Starred Review. Grade 9 Up—This urban fairy tale, a sequel toWicked Lovely(HarperTeen, 2007), is impossible to put down. Leslie lives with a father who has given up on life, a drug-abusing brother who allowed his dealer to rape Leslie in lieu of payment, and a burning desire to banish pain and fear from her life. Unable to confide in her best friend, Aislinn, she devotes herself to working to pay the family bills and to get the tattoo she believes will help her reclaim her body. What she doesn't know is that the art she has selected will bind her to Irial, the king of the Dark Court of Fairy. He removes her emotions like fear, panic, or anger, and uses them to nourish the fairies of his court. What Irial doesn't expect is his growing love for Leslie and her desire to make her own choices. In Leslie, Marr has created a damaged, wounded character who still comes across as being incredibly strong. Irial needs to care for his court, knowing them too weak to win a war, but his feelings for Leslie make him unwilling to do what needs to be done. The lesser characters are also well drawn: Rabbit the tattoo artist, his father, Gabriel, and also Aislinn, Keenan, and Seth fromWicked Lovely. While reading that book first would give more shades to some of the characters, it isn't necessary to appreciate the intricate world that Marr creates.—Lisa Prolman, Greenfield Public Library, MA
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ISBN-10: 006121468X
ISBN-13: 978-0061214684
Author: Melissa Marr
Genre: Teens
Publisher: HarperCollins
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