Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr

inkNovel Facts:

  • Published: April 24th, 2008
  • Publisher: HarperTeen (an imprint of Harper Collins)
  • Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
  • Pages in Paperback: 325
  • Series: Wicked Lovely (5 novels)
  • Preceded by: Wicked Lovely
  • Followed by: Fragile Eternity
  • Quote: “What does it mean when nightmares dream of peace? When shadows wish for light?”
  • Goodreads
  • Amazon/Barnes and Noble/Book Depository
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Seventeen-year-old Leslie knows nothing of faeries or their shadowy power struggles. When she is attracted to an eerily beautiful tattoo, 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 that Leslie has dreamed of, but sinister, compelling changes that bind Leslie to Irial,  a dark and dangerous faery king fighting for the soul of his court. Slowly, Leslie is drawn deeper and deeper into the faery world, unable to resist its allures, and helpless to withstand its perils…

Melissa Marr continues her tales of Faerie in a dark, ravishing story of temptation and consequences, and of heroism when least expected.

Review of the Characters:

Leslie- This is a novel that should have been included on the 100 Young Adult Books for the Feminist Reader list and the reason is because of Leslie. This was a girl who grew up in horrible circumstances, experiences an awful event yet is ready to help her friends with any problem. She has strength and spirit and proves it several times throughout the novel, with mortals and fae alike. I enjoyed her much more than I did Aislinn in Wicked Lovely for the reason that she was more open. She always let the reader know what she was feeling even when she couldn’t feel. (Very hard to do). She became relatable in a way that Aislinn couldn’t. As much as I wish she would have chosen differently in the end, (I mean yelling at the book pretending she could hear me) I see that it was the only way, and I respect her all the more for it.

Niall- Niall was…well lets just say it was very hard not to like (love) Niall. I especially love the first time we are in his head when he is assigned to protect Leslie unseen and he yearns to interact with her but knows he can not. Marr wrote it beautifully. However, I was rooting for him and I feel like he should have fought more for Leslie. I realize he does a lot, but at the same time he seemed resigned to a fate he felt he deserved.

Irial- I did not like Irial at first, no doubt because Marr intended it that way. He just wasn’t the typical fellow I like to love in novels, but he snuck up on me. I found myself liking him and it was his attachment to Leslie that did it. The way he started smoking more because of his worry, the way he wanted to walk away from everything for her. It’s hard to resist that kind of commitment and for the first time in a novel I found myself rooting for both parts of the love triangle. Marr is trying to make her readers insane with worry over the characters and my heart does not appreciate it. (Wink, wink).

Review of the Story:

I was told I would like this story more than Marr’s debut and that promise was upheld. I loved the underlining theme of addiction that played throughout the novel, it wasn’t obvious but it was there. The idea of the Dark Fae living off emotions was very interesting and I loved Leslie’s part. At times people wish they can feel nothing, thinking it would better than the absolute terror or depression that is upon them. But feeling is freedom and Marr explained that excellently. Even though the ending seemed a little too easy and rushed Marr produced another great novel.

Review of the Writing:

This is what I’ve concluded about Marr, she is very (VERY) good at writing moments. Capturing a scene, explaining a fleeting second is most certainly her strength. She can write beautiful moments. It’s piecing it together where she has problems. The story did move faster than Marr’s first novel but just like her debut the ending was abrupt. Also I was left confused on many aspects of the story such as the Hounds, I didn’t quite understand what they were (but that may just be me). She just needs to work on writing around the moments that make the story.


If you’re looking for a dark, young adult fantasy novel then look no farther. Ink Exchange is compelling and engaging. While I feel that Marr has done a better job with this novel versus her debut, Wicked Lovely, she also makes the same mistakes; an abrupt ending and unexplained details. If Marr can learn to get past the initial build up of a story she will make for an excellent author.

However those faults, Ink Exchange is a refreshing take on faeries and it promises to get better and better with each novel.


Overall Rating:


P.S.- My next read is Fragile Eternity (hoping to get some clarity).

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4 thoughts on “Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr

  1. I’m so glad you’re enjoying this series! Its so underappreciated imo. Ink Exchange was actually my least favorite of them but it’s still very good and I love Niall obsessively.

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