Ink Exchange (Wicked Lovely Series #2)

Ink Exchange (Wicked Lovely Series #2)

4.1 1003
by Melissa Marr, Nick Landrum
     
 

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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

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Overview

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. . . .

Editorial Reviews

Mary Quattlebaum
As the sequel to last year's popular Wicked Lovely, Ink Exchange is even more compelling, thanks to Melissa Marr's more nuanced characterizations.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly

Returning to the faery world of Wicked Lovely, Marr serves up another highly addictive read, this time centering on Leslie, a mortal girl who made a cameo appearance in that earlier work as a friend of its protagonist, Aislinn. Broken by terrible trauma, Leslie seeks to anchor her mind from slipping into oblivion. She finds salvation—or so it seems—in a strange tattoo that gives her power and strength like she's never felt before. But Leslie's euphoria is short-lived, and the tattoo comes with a shocking price. Its ink has been laced with the blood of Irial, king of the fey's Dark Court. Upon the tattoo's completion, Leslie will be bound to Irial as if a slave, with Court rules forbidding even Aislinn, the new Summer Queen, and Summer King Keenan's guard, the handsome Niall, to sever this dark attachment. Once again readers will find a love triangle that simmers, this time among Leslie, Irial and Niall—all of whom face choices that could cost them everything they prize. Compulsive enough to give the Twilight series a run for its money, and dizzyingly more sinister. Ages 12—up. (May)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature - Melissa Joy Adams
Compared to her classmates', Leslie's life is a struggle. Her mother left years ago. Her father is a drunk. Leslie works part-time to pay the family bills. She is terrified of her drug-dealing brother, who sold her for a few bucks to his creepy friends, letting them do whatever they wanted to her for a night. Leslie survived but is still full of fear and pain. She desperately wants to get a tattoo as an act of reclaiming her body. She wants to change, to feel safe, to be in control, and to feel fearless. The tattoo represents all she wants, the changes she intends to make, and the fact that her body belongs to her and no one else. Unknown to Leslie, there are far more dangerous things to fear than her brother—the dark fey. The secret world of immortals surrounds her. Her best friend, Aislinn, is the Queen of the Faery Summer Court, so a life filled with fey is inescapable. Leslie's longings draw her to the dark faeries, and despite Aislinn's protective forces, Leslie's horrific past leaves her vulnerable to their powers. What neither girl realizes is that when Leslie chooses her tattoo, she is being marked as property of Irial, King of the Dark Court. Leslie's desire to feel painless and fearless is granted, but for a terrible price. For the second time in Leslie's life, another person takes control of her body to use it for his pleasure. Unlike before, this time she might not survive. In this sequel to Wicked Lovely, Marr takes readers back to where the beautiful but dark faery world intersects with the real world. The sensual writing lures in the reader, letting him or her experience every moment of terror or pleasure that Leslie experiences. The intense plot, vividcharacters, and stellar writing will captivate readers, making them long for more. Reviewer: Melissa Joy Adams
KLIATT - Janis Flint-Ferguson
Leslie is a high school senior who has been sexually molested by her brother's "friends." Her mother has abandoned the family, her father is nonexistent and her brother is an unscrupulous drug addict. Leslie tries to hold herself together with the help of her friend Aislinn. She decides that she wants to get a tattoo, as a way of reclaiming her life and asserting control over her own body. What she doesn't know is that the tattoo artist is part of the dark side of the fairy world; the dark fairies are responsible for much of the chaos and violence in the mortal world. His special collection of tattoos is designed to connect mortals to the Dark King, Iriel. Iriel's plan is to attach himself to a mortal and use her, her fears and her pain, to feed his subjects. But while Leslie is getting her tattoo she becomes interested in Niall, Aislinn's strange bodyguard. In fact, she doesn't completely understand the relationship that Aislinn has with Niall, who always seems to be with Aislinn's friends Keenan and Seth. The reality is that they are all part of the fairy world, a world that Aislinn wanted to keep separate from Leslie. Niall is a tormented former dark fairy who is himself interested in Leslie. This is a violent tale of fairies in the gritty city and the havoc they wreak on the mortals who live there. Older readers of fantasy will be drawn in by the dark supernatural element and surprised by a theme that reinforces the affirmation of human identity and self-reliance. Reviewer: Janis Flint-Ferguson
Kirkus Reviews
This sequel to Wicked Lovely (2007) focuses on a damaged mortal girl who unknowingly becomes the property of a dark faerie king. An abuse survivor, Leslie wants to take control of her body by getting a tattoo. What she doesn't know is that her tattoo will bind her to the iniquitous Irial, who plans to take enough of her mortality to enable him to feed on both mortals and faeries. Niall, a servant assigned to protect Leslie, finds himself falling for her despite an injunction against romancing mortals. Unfortunately, the intrigue and themes of physical and sexual autonomy get lost in the bloated writing; the speech of the teen characters is archaic and ridiculous. Rather than stimulate the senses, the overwrought descriptions only serve to confuse the reader and slow down the plot. Too many throwaway characters make up the periphery of this meandering, cluttered book. Despite its many shortcomings, however, this title is likely to be just as popular as its bestselling predecessor. (Fantasy. YA)
The Bulletin for the Center for Children's Books
“A delicious, smoky delight.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“A delicious, smoky delight.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“A delicious, smoky delight.”
Booklist
“This dark fantasy about survival and transformation is as mesmerizing as its urban faery subjects.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"A delicious, smoky delight."
Washington Post Book World
“As the sequel to Wicked Lovely, Ink Exchange is even more compelling. Their [the characters’] fierce, sometimes despairing search for their true selves gives Ink Exchange its sinister power.”

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781436137706
Publisher:
Recorded Books, LLC
Publication date:
01/01/2008
Series:
Wicked Lovely Series, #2
Age Range:
14 Years

Read an Excerpt

Ink Exchange

Chapter One

Early the following year

Leslie slipped into her school uniform and got ready as quickly as she could. She closed her bedroom door softly, staying quiet so she could get out of the house before her father woke. Being retired wasn't good for him. He'd been a decent father before—before Mom left, before he'd fallen into a bottle, before he'd started taking trips to Atlantic City and gods knew where else.

She headed to the kitchen, where she found her brother, Ren, at the table, pipe in hand. Wearing nothing but a pair of ratty jeans, his blond hair loose around his face, he seemed relaxed and friendly. Sometimes he even was.

He looked up and offered a cherubic smile. "Want a hit?"

She shook her head and opened the cupboard, looking for a tolerably clean cup. None. She pulled a can of soda from the meat drawer in the fridge. After Ren had doped a bottle—and thereby doped her—she'd learned to drink only from still-sealed containers.

Ren watched her, content in his chemical cloud, smiling in a perversely angelic way. When he was friendly and just smoking pot, it was a good day. Ren-on-Pot wasn't a problem: pot just made him mellow. It was Ren-on-Anything-Else that was unpredictable.

"There's chips over there if you want some breakfast." He pointed to a mostly empty bag of corn chips on the counter.

"Thanks." She grabbed a couple and opened the freezer to get the toaster waffles she'd hidden. They were gone. She opened the cupboard and pulled out a box of the only type of cereal her brother didn't eat—granola. It was nasty, but hispilfering stopped at the healthy stuff, so she stocked up on it.

She poured her cereal.

"No milk left," Ren mumbled, eyes closed.

Sighing softly, Leslie sat down with her bowl of dry granola. No fights. No troubles. Being home always made her feel like she was walking on a high wire, waiting for a gust of wind to knock her to the ground.

The kitchen smelled strongly of weed. She remembered when she used to wake up to the scent of eggs and bacon, when Dad would brew fresh coffee, when things were normal. It hadn't been like that for more than a year.

Ren plunked his bare feet on the kitchen table. It was covered with junk—news circulars, bills to pay, dirty dishes, and a mostly empty bottle of bourbon.

While she ate, she opened the important bills—electric and water. With relief, she saw that Dad had actually paid ahead on both of them. He did that when he had a good run of luck at the tables or a few sober days: sent extra on the big bills so it wouldn't be a hassle later. It didn't help for groceries or the cable bill, which was overdue again, but she could usually cover those when she had to.

Not this time, though. She'd finally decided to go through with it, to get a tattoo. She'd been wanting one for a while but hadn't felt ready. In the last few months, she'd become near obsessed with it. Waiting wasn't the answer, not anymore. She thought about that act far too often—marking her body, reclaiming it as her own, a step she needed to take to make herself whole again.

Now I just need to find the right image.

With what she hoped was a friendly smile, she asked Ren, "Do you have any money for cable?"

He shrugged. "Maybe. What's it worth to you?"

"I'm not bargaining. I just want to know if you can cover cable this month."

He took a long hit off his pipe and exhaled into her face. "Not if you're going to be a bitch about it. I have expenses. If you can't do a guy a favor now and then, make nice with my friends"—he shrugged—"you pay it."

"You know what? I don't need cable." She walked over to the trash and dropped the bill in the can, fighting back the sickness in her throat at the mention of making nice with his friends, wishing that someone in her family cared about what happened to her.

If Mom hadn't taken off . . .

But she had. She'd bailed and left Leslie behind to deal with her brother and father. "It'll be better this way, baby," she'd said. It wasn't. Leslie wasn't sure if she'd want to talk to her mom anymore—not that it mattered. She had no contact information at all.

Leslie shook her head. Thinking about that wouldn't help her cope with her current reality. She started to walk past Ren, but he stood up and grabbed her for a hug. She was stiff in his arms.

"What? Are you on the rag again?" He laughed, amused by his crass joke, amused by her anger.

"Never mind, Ren. Just forget I—"

"I'll pay the bill. Relax." He let go of her, and as soon as he let his arm drop, she stepped away, hoping the scent

of pot and cigarettes wouldn't cling to her too obviously. Sometimes she suspected that Father Meyers knew exactly how much things had changed for her, but she still didn't want to walk into school reeking.

She put on her fake smile and murmured, "Thanks, Ren."

"I'll take care of it. You just remember it next time I need you to come out with me. You're a good distraction when I need credit." He looked at her calculatingly.

She didn't reply. There wasn't an answer that would help. If she said no, he'd be a prick, but she wasn't saying yes. After what his druggie friends did—what he let them do—she wasn't going anywhere near them again.

Instead of rehashing that argument, she went and grabbed the bill out of the trash. "Thanks for taking care of it."

Ink Exchange. Copyright © by Melissa Marr. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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