Synopsis from cover:
Unbeknownst to mortals, a power struggle is unfolding in a world of shadows and danger. After centuries of stability, the balance among the Faery Court 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. . . .
Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr is the second book in her Wicked Lovely Series, which are all dark, urban fantasies. The main character, Leslie, played a supporting role in the first book, Wicked Lovely. This book is her story. I would definitely recommend Melissa’s books to any YA reader. They are dark, enticing, intriguing… very engaging reads. I love how she isn’t afraid to explore darker themes.
In this book, the main character has been raped and struggles to find a way to deal with the pain and horror of it. In a desperate attempt to remove the pain, she ties herself to Irail, King of the Dark Court, and allows him and his Dark Fey to feed off her emotions.
Leslie spends weeks in a haze of numbness, never allowed to feel any emotion other then an addiction to Irial. Her relationship with him fills her with euphoria and then blinding, hazy numbness, which I feel is a metaphor for actual drug addiction.
In the end, Leslie realizes that while the pain is gone, she can’t feel anything else either. She can’t experience life; she can’t be who she was meant to be. She manages to heroically break her addiction, and move on with her life. The only downside to this book is that the love triangle is not satisfactorily wrapped up. As far as I can tell, none of the other books in this series features Leslie, or the love triangle with Niall and Irail. If the next book just hasn’t been written yet, then I eagerly await it. If not, I feel like this book does not have a satisfactory ending. I hear there is a short story from Melissa Marr that you can buy featuring Leslie, but it is electronic only. If the short story answers my questions satisfactorily, I’ll let you know!