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 ressist its allures, and helpless to withstand its perils....
This book doesn't focus on Aislinn and Keenan like in Wicked Lovely (see my reveiw), but instead focuses on Leslie, one of Aislinn's friends, and Irial, the Dark King. It also focuses on Niall, one of Keenan's guards from the Summer Court. I suggest reading it and not skipping ahead to the next book, Fragile Eternity. They make many references to events that happened in Ink Exchange.
Leslie is a likable character who's having lots of problems. Her family life is crumbling, her mom abandoning Leslie and her older brother with their father. Her father turns into an alcoholic, her brother a drug addict. Leslie is forced to be the responsible one in her family, working hard and trying not to reveal any of it to her friends. Then her brother ditches her in a time of need, and she breaks. All the while her friendship with Aislinn is slowly degrading as Aislinn moves away to keep the faerie world away from Leslie and her other friends. She has a crush on Niall, Keenan's guard, and feels like he's untouchable because Aislinn keeps him away, making all the more irresistable to her. She has no idea that he is a faerie.
Niall has been apart of the Summer Court for awhile, but he is originally Dark Court, craving feelings and emotions. Leslie is a craving to him, and he wants to keep her safe, thinking she's different than other humans, knowing about her life at home and wanting to help her. But he remembers his life in the Dark Court and why he left, and keeps away from her, not wanting to destroy her the way he destroyed others.
Iriall needs to feed his court. It's hard to control the court of darkness, when they need human and faerie emotions to survive. He needs a donor to give their feelings to the Dark Court. When Bananch (a strong and powerful Dark Court faerie) threatens to bring war, Irial feels the need more. When he finds Leslie, he knows she's the one. That is what the tattoo is, a vine connecting Irial to Leslie, feeding Leslie's emotions into Irial who feeds his court. But Leslie starts to worry and think about what she's doing, more than how wonderful Irial makes her feel.
Marr has made another captivating tale, this one darker than the last. The Dark Court is so much different than the Summer Court; they have different problems, different needs. Leslie, although being friends with Aislinn, is so much different than her and her point of veiw on everything is clouded by her brothers betrayl. She thinks that Irial is a way out, a way to make the dark feelings leave her. Marr makes it action packed, but by the middle of the book, is slows. It picks up again, and the ending left me in shock. Niall doesn't pop in much, but when he does, he tells his story of the Dark Court, his relationship with Irial and his hatred for the world he left behind. You get small glimpses of the Summer Court, but mostly you see how the Summer Court is affecting the other three courts around it.
If you enjoy/like/love Ink Exchange, and want to know more about Leslie after the books finish, Marr has been so kind as to write the beautiful Stopping Time, Part 1 and Part 2, the sequels to Ink Exchange.