Ink Exchange – Melissa Marr



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. . . .

My Thoughts

This book made me so uncomfortable. That said, Ink Exchange was still a neat adventure, with more world-building and character developing elements that are necessary to more forward with the series. There are a lot of political and social power plays and coups occurring that make for a very interesting tale.

My discomfort in this book lies solely in how Leslie is treated – as an object – by most of the men in her life, Irial and Niall included. Leslie has had to fight tooth and nail in order to survive what she’s been through. She’s tough, she’s strong, and she’s one hell of a fighter. But, she wants an escape, she wants change, she wants to do something to take back complete control of herself. These are all feelings I can relate to on a deeply personal level.

Irial is in a desperate position to save the Dark Court from starvation – Beira is gone, and the chaos that she came with, that kept the Dark fey sustained, has vanished. Irial does not have a very good backup plan. The Dark Court is known for its cruelty, violence, and murderous intents. Irial is not looking for war, or murder. In a way, he is a very unusual Dark King, but, alas, he is still cruel and ambiguously deceitful – the fey cannot lie, but they can certainly spin tales and twist words.

Ash is, also, ever so desperate to protect her friend, to keep Leslie away from the dangerous world of the fey. Niall is her best bet at protection, but Ash is very adamant about keeping the fey as far away from other mortals as possible.

However, there is very little Ash can do once Leslie decides on the tattoo, and the ink exchange begins. This ties her to the Dark Court indefinitely. Leslie is trapped in the very situation she was fighting so hard to run away from – being someone’s possession and conquest. Irial, the Dark King, and Niall, the Summer King’s right-hand man, are both vying for her attentions and affections. They speak about her as if she is theirs to possess and simply take. That left a really, really bad taste in my mouth.

Overall, there are very interesting political plays occurring in the world of the fey. It was very interesting to see how the Summer Court gaining full power affects the other courts. The Dark Court, in a way, certainly gets the short end of the stick – though it’s hard to argue that that’s a bad thing, seeing as they’re so incredibly cruel and malicious to mortals and other fey alike.

There is some discord between the ranks of both the Summer Court and the Dark Court – discord that results in changes within the ranks that I certainly did not see coming. Situations seem tense, currently, and it’ll be interesting to see what happens next. Thankfully, Ink Exchange ends on a fairly good note – Leslie is saved, she seems happy, and she remains mortal. And that’s all Ash could have asked for.


~ by Aubrey Smith on September 26, 2016.

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