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Showing 1-10 of 70 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 218 reviews
on July 7, 2017
well, the first book, wicked lovely, was a decent read, so i was expecting i guess more of the same in this book. instead the author attempted to take on darker subject matter and instead of fleshing this out to the full, she skirted around the issues and didn't really address them, kind of making the story/ characters fall flat. basically a pg book took on r rated issues but kept them pg, relying on suggestion to get a point across rather than just addressing the issues. because of this the plot had a kind of cardboard feel to it. i kind of felt like she kind of skimmed through the plot as well. events took place, but there was no conviction to anything and the author didn't really follow through and finish an event. i thought the ending was kind of rushed. overall decent set-up but poor execution.
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first became acquainted with the writing style of Melissa Marr back in February when I read her first book, Wicked Lovely. Which tells the story of Aislinn and introduces the reader to a world of faerie which co-exists alongside ours. In Ink Exchange we return that that world with the story of Leslie, Aislinn's best friend. Leslie's story is different from Aislinn's though because she knows nothing of the faerie world. All she knows is that her friend has changed over the last few months. Not only that but she has changed as well as her home life gets progressively worse as she deals with her alcoholic father and drug addicted brother. Leslie often works longer hours not just to escape from being at home but to also earn the money that will pay the bills. Leslie has also been thinking for months about getting a tattoo. No design ever seems to appeal to her though nor does she think she can justify the cost.

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.

[...]
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on September 13, 2015
Torn up inside after her drug-dealer brother betrays her in the most horrible way, Leslie puts on a brave front with her friends, pretending her drunken dad isn't letting the bills pile up and hiding all her pain. Hoping to take back control over her body, she decides to get a tattoo, and picks out a special design at the tattoo parlor she often hangs out at. Unbeknownst to Leslie, that tattoo is the symbol of Irial, the king of the faerie Dark Court, designed to allow him to filter the unpleasant emotions that feed his court through her into him and his people.

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
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on August 29, 2015
This is the second book in the Wicked Lovely series. The main characters are not together at the end, so it’s not a “romance.” The ending was complete, not a cliffhanger. But I would have preferred characters being together.

This story is about the dark court. Dark court faeries terrorize and kill humans. None of that is shown. It’s not that I want a lot of gory detail, but that part was vaguely referred to. I was frustrated because I wanted to know what the faeries did to humans. There is also addiction and reference to rape.

I read some reviews for the sequels. Book 3 has low reviews. Books 4 and 5 sound better, but I've lost interest in the series after this one.

DATA:
Narrative mode: 3rd person. Story length: 325 pages. Swearing language: mild. Sexual content: none, other than a reference to a past rape with no details shown. Setting: unknown time probably current day in fictional town Huntsdale, Pennsylvania. Copyright: 2008. Genre: fantasy fiction, young adult.
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on September 7, 2011
**SPOILERS BELOW**

I enjoyed Ink Exhange so much more than Wicked Lovely. I thought it was perfect...right up until the end.

I found Leslie to be a much more sympathetic character than Aislinn. As Rabbit the tattoo artist says, Leslie is "good people"; she's just had a hard life. So, as disatisfying as the ending was (she ends up with NEITHER of her romantic interests), I can at least respect her decision to do what is best for her.

I would suggest reading this book just to see the characters of Niall and Irial. They are my favorites in the series so far, and I feel the book gains so much depth because of them. Niall, although formerly of the Dark Court and highly ranked in the Summer Court, tries to do the "right thing" on a personal level, making him one of the most caring characters I've seen so far. I feel like he is one of the only characters that is actually true to himself. Irial, on the other hand, is the King of the Dark Court, and I expected him to be, well, evil. But he honestly tries to do the best thing for his people and comes to care for Leslie to the point that he wants the best for her, even if it harms him and his court.

I thought the protagonists were realistic and sympathetic, even if they were a bit heartbreaking, too.

The main complaint I have with Ink Exchange is that the ending is a bit...continuous. As with Wicked Lovely, I didn't feel like the book had fully resolved. The ending gave me the feeling of just finishing a chapter in a book instead of actually finishing a book. I do enjoy reading series, and in fact prefer it to stand alone novels, but I don't like feeling like I've been left hanging at the end of books, so I wish the ending had been a little more complete.

Overall, a deep, engrossing read with a stumble at the end. Recommended for those who like their fantasy dark.
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on January 14, 2011
After reading Wicked Lovely, I had high expectations for Ink Exchange, and for the most part, it delivered. I have to say that I enjoyed Wicked Lovely more, because I loved Aislinn's character. Still, it was interesting to see things from an outside character's perspective. (I love the way Leslie feels about her tattoo, as I felt the same about mine.)

Overall, I enjoyed this novel. It was a quick read, but beautifully written. I'm enchanted with the Fae and the small glimpses of their world. The characters are nicely developed and relatable. My problem with this book was that the last third isn't as strong as the rest of the novel.

Toward the middle, the pacing started to get slow. Obviously, the entire book is a build up to Leslie getting her tattoo, and Marr tries to forestall that for as long as possible. At the end, after Leslie gets her tattoo, I spent the rest of the book just trying to finish quickly. I expected so much more from Irial, from Niall, from the Summer Court, even. It's over extremely way too quickly and easily. Marr indicates that large periods of time are passing, and for as important as everyone makes Leslie to be, it appears that everyone just forgets about her or stops making an attempt to do something for her.

Also, Keenan's character is seen in a totally different perspective in this novel. It kind of made me sad because I really liked him. Either way, I'm excited to see how the story progresses in Fragile Eternity.
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on April 17, 2015
This book is another example of Marr's skill as a writer. Her descriptions of the thoughts and experiences of survivors is so spot on that they surely come from either personal experience or time spent collecting the experiences of those with personal experience of the darker side of human experience. All of which makes this book harder to read than the first in the series. My only criticism is that Leslie's time with Irial seemed to drag on. However, I cannot be sure if that is poor editing or a literary tool to express how time dragged on for the character. Overall, another good book by Melissa Marr.
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VINE VOICEon April 24, 2010
I loved "Wicked Lovely". It is in my top 10 or 20 books I've read this year...I easily read 150 or 200 a year. I loved the way "Wicked Lovely" told a complete story and was more than happy with the ending. I was excited about the follow up novels, but I was pretty sure from the getgo that they might ultimately not live up to quality of "Wicked Lovely". This story focuses on Ash's friend Leslie. I was disturbed that Ash and Leslie actually didn't seem to really care for each other. They were unlike any friends I know of, in that they didn't especially talk to each other or want to hang out together or even respect each other. Leslie has a pretty nasty background story which made me root for her right away. I liked her character and I liked how intent she was on letting the badness go and coming to terms with a new Leslie. Then Leslie chooses a tattoo that binds her to the king of the Dark Fae, Irial. Irial wants to use mortal Leslie's fears and other dark emotions to literally feed his entire dark kingdom. Meanwhile, Ash and her King Keenan don't seem to care all that much either way although the utter a few words here and there to the effect that they do care. Keenan's friend and confidant Niall has come to have feelings for Leslie. He was once a member of the Dark court and switched his loyalty to Keenan's Summer Court. This, of course, causes all kinds of drama between Niall and Irial, who also comes to care for Leslie. The world is intriguing. Marr's writing is interesting here, as in it really keeps the book speeding along at a brisk pace; the reader NEEDS to know whats next. However, the book never lives up to its predassessor or its own potential and falls rather flat. My biggest gripes: Leslie and Ash are supposed to be friends. They say it but the reader doesn't 'see' it. Niall is madly in love with Leslie, again we see it but the book starts out with him feeling this way and we never know what led up to it. Again I just didn't 'see' it. Why does he feel this way? Gabrial is supposed to be big and bad a_ _. There is definately a great character who shows some glimpses of something more in his dealing with his children but we are left not really knowing him either. Irial could have been one of the greatest misunderstood bad guys in YA literature. We never get a fulfiling backstory on him either, and I know I was supposed to get that he loved Leslie but it didn't realistic either. I am proud of Leslie at the end of the story and I was happy with the way she resolved the "ink exchange". I didn't care for how quickly the time period was portrayed between when Leslie is completely bound to Irial and when she goes seeking help. This time period could have been used to make the connection between Irial and Leslie feel more real and it also could have been used to give us a bigger glimpse into Irial's background and why he made the choices he made in the past and present. It was rushed. The characters weren't fleshed out well enough, nor their backstories (minus Leslie!) and these also were rushed. I think Melissa Marr would have needed nearly double the book size to really do her story justice. This storyline was definitely bigger than the amount of pages she had allocated for it. Thats a shame because this could have been as good, or better than "Wicked Lovely". Marr has a vivid and detailed imaginiation and a knack for storytelling. This story just felt incomplete in many ways.
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on April 27, 2010
"Ink Exchange" is the continuing story of the world created in "Wicked Lovely". It's not purely a sequel, and can stand on its own, but parts of it will make more sense if you've already read "Wicked Lovely".

Leslie comes from a broken home. Really, really broken. Her mother is dead, her father is numbing himself by gambling and is rarely home, and her brother is a minor sort of drug dealer. Not the powerful kind, the kind that always gets himself into trouble. When we meet Leslie, she's trying to piece herself back together after her brother allowed his "friends" to gang rape her to get himself out of trouble. Now she wants a tattoo. Not just any tattoo, though. She wants one that will help her reclaim her body as her own.

Irial is the king of the faery Dark Court. The Dark Court which feeds on the darker emotions of the other fae -- terror, lust, greed, etc. This wasn't such a problem when the former, evil Winter Queen was alive. But now there's a new Winter Queen and a tentative peace in the faery world. Irial's people are starving. So what's a king to do? He comes up with a way to feed them. Through a tattoo on a mortal made with his own shadowy blood, Irial can feed off of the mortal's feelings, and in turn feed his court. The only problem is, he needs to find a willing, hurting mortal...

In spite of the interesting-sounding plot, the book was rather slow, and felt more like it should have been a subplot in another novel, rather than have a novel of it's own. The book is more than halfway over before Leslie gets the tattoo, and after that, still not much happens. It wraps up a bit too quickly in the end, and takes a long time getting there. Leslie was a rather one-dimensional character, not someone you'd want to spend a lot of time with, and Irial was only a bit better. A strange subplot in which Niall (a faery of the Summer Court) inexplicably falls in love with Leslie isn't used to any great advantage. Nor is another subplot in which the the once-mortal Summer Queen, Aisleen, agonizes over Leslie's fate, without taking any steps one way or another. It's a book with a lot of potential, but that's about it.

Needless to say, the book's pretty dark (considerably darker than "Wicked Lovely"), especially for the under-13 set, though none of it's very graphic.
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on March 25, 2010
FYI: Author Melissa Marr defines this book as a companion novel to Wicked Lovely (Wicked Lovely (Quality)), rather than a sequel. Secondary characters in Wicked Lovely come to the forefront in this book, along with the introduction of a new faery court, the Dark Court, or the "court of nightmares."

THE SET-UP: Home life is desperate for 17 year-old Leslie, though she pretends otherwise to her school friends. Ever since last year when her mother left, her father has stopped being a parent and is missing a good deal on drinking binges or gambling sprees. Leslie has had to get a job waitressing to pay the family bills. Her older brother, Ren, even wasted her on drugs one time to use her as payment to his dealer and some of his other drug pals (in other words, got her raped). Just one more year and she'll be gone from all of this at college. But until then, she's decided to get a tattoo as her one sign of freedom and independence - that she owns her own body.

Meanwhile, due to the relative peace between the Summer and Winter Faerie Courts (a result of the events in Wicked Lovely), King Irial of the Dark Court, is having desperate troubles of his own. Since he and his court are nourished by dark faerie emotions, the new peace leaves them starving and weak - so weak that one of his own faeries is even killed by mortal bullets. Irial's plan is to perform an "ink exchange." Utilizing a tattoo inked with his own blood and tears, he will forge a link between himself and a mortal source, allowing him to also feed off the darker emotions of humans and then channel this feeding to the rest of the Dark Court for their sustenance.

WHY I CHOSE THIS BOOK: Honestly? It was the eerie beauty of Ink Exchange's cover image that intrigued me. I had read Wicked Lovely, but had not been overly enthused by it, so I hadn't planned on reading Ink Exchange. However, the book's cover drew me enough to wonder if its content would be just as fascinating. Fortunately, it was. (I later learned from a web search that the cover is a real photograph of a model named Laura Flemming, who stated that the tattoo was a combination of paint and real feathers glued onto her back. And here I thought the tattoo and feathers were a product of digital photographic manipulation!)

MY THOUGHTS ON INK EXCHANGE: This novel is a darker and more disturbing read than Wicked Lovely. Irial's character presents a quandary rather than a clear-cut villain. He is trying to do what is right by his court - keeping them fed - as best he can. Yes, he uses Leslie, but he cares for her as well. On the other hand, Keenan, who was someone to cheer for as the underdog King of the Summer Court in Wicked Lovely, shines less bright as someone who doesn't hesitate over the morality of using his own friends to further the cause of his court. Although there is a love triangle with Leslie, Niall (a Summer Court adviser), and Irial, the emphasis on this book is not on romance. (Please note, because this book deals with the aftermath of gang rape, even if only in a peripheral sense, I would recommend it to the older teenage crowd and above.)

HOW GOOD A READ IS IT? I found this to be an engrossing, absorbing, even haunting, book. Despite a power outage on the afternoon I began reading it, I stayed up during the night with a flashlight, unable to put it down when it became too dark to read by the window. Leslie's descent into debauched madness after receiving her tattoo is a darkly fascinating thing as the reader tries to make sense of it all.
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