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Ink Exchange (Wicked Lovely) Hardcover – April 29, 2008
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From School Library Journal
Starred Review. Grade 9 Up—This urban fairy tale, a sequel to Wicked 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 from Wicked 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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Newcomers and returning readers alike will devour this companion novel to Marr's ragingly popular Wicked Lovely (2007). The new peace between the Summer King and the Winter Queen isn’t good for everyone: those of the Dark Court, who feed on faeries’ destructive emotions, are dangerously weakened. Irial, King of the Dark Court, needs a solution, and he finds one in the Summer Queen’s mortal friend Leslie. Tormented by memories of abuse, Leslie wants nothing more than to reclaim her body by getting a tattoo, but the enchanted design she selects provides Irial with a direct link to mortals’ emotions. The tattoo binds Leslie and Irial together even as a third faerie works to prevent their destructive yet seductive connection. All of Marr’s characters are complex, defying easy description and evoking sympathy and horror in equal measures, and all cast a thrall that will leave readers willing to forgive plotting that can be difficult to follow. This dark fantasy about survival and transformation is as mesmerizing as its urban faery subjects. Grades 10-12. --Krista Hutley
Top customer reviews
Until one day a tattoo artist named Rabbit shows her some of his personal designs. One time only deals that means each tattoo once used will not be used on another person. Leslie flips through the pages and is immediately drawn to one. She can't get it out of her head and convinces Rabbit to sell it to her. Rabbit says that it will change her life and since that is what Leslie wants she doesn't think about the cost. This is also no ordinary tattoo, it was designed by one of the Fey and it will change its bearer and not always the way that they want.
I enjoyed returning to the universe that Marr created in Wicked Lovely and it was great to see the cameos of all the characters that were in that first book. However, this book didn't have the same draw for me as Wicked Lovely did. The build up for Leslie getting the tattoo was a little slow and often seem stilted. The relationships that were tossed in her path with the two Fey folk Irial and Niall seemed a little too contrived to be believable. Then when Leslie finally does get herself inked the changes seem to go so fast and then before you know it the book is over. I felt as though that there were parts of the story that were untold and these was no easy ending to it. Marr has obviously left the door open for a third book.
Despite the fact that the 1st half of the book doesn't really mesh well with the last half (the 1st was slow and plodding and the ending had that rushed feel) the writing style was the same as in Wicked Lovely.....although of a darker quality to suit the darker aspects touched upon in this novel. I am still intrigued with Marr and the universe that she has created and since she has left things open for a return then I will sit back and wait for the next installment. For I do wonder what mischief all my new Faerie friends will come up with next.
As Leslie finds her vision changing and her feelings shifting in unpredictable ways, Niall, a faerie of the Summer Court who has always admired her, steps in, hoping to help her and keep Irial away. He has his own tangled feelings about Irial, whom he once counted as a friend. But as Leslie sinks further under Irial's thrall, enjoying the escape from the hurt and fear she'd been living with, only she can decide when to pull away--or whether she would rather stay with him, after all.
INK EXCHANGE is a darkly imaginative novel set in the same world as Marr's first novel, WICKED LOVELY. Readers will enjoy exploring the lives of some of that novel's minor characters and seeing more of the shadowy side of the faerie courts. They may find Leslie, Niall, and Irial less engaging than the spirited and perhaps more sympathetic narrators of WICKED LOVELY, but the trio still make for a fascinating "love" triangle as each deals with conflicting emotions and tries to decide what is right both for him or herself and for those who are counting on them.
The imagery is striking and evocative, and the politics of the different faerie courts is intriguing to explore. A great book for dark fantasy fans