Wednesday, July 9, 2008

"Ink Exchange" by Melissa Marr

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. . . .
This followup to last years' excellent urban fantasy Wicked Lovely is a dark and harrowing tale of a young womans search for identity, independence and lasting peace from her dysfunctional family. Leslie a minor character in Wicked Lovely is now the central focus this time around. As was her best friend Aislinn in the previous book, Leslie is slowly ensnared in the fae world despite her friends efforts to keep her safe.

The portrayal of the seemingly immoral and inhuman fae, particularly the dark court as they seduce mortals for their own purposes, creates a constant atmosphere of menace and pressing inevitability especially as it is portrayed in a contemporary urban setting. Leslie's spiralling loss of control of her fate and the ultimate results are not quite what you would expect. At one point Niall, one of her Summer Court protectors says to her, "Sometimes all you can do is survive.". Indeed this is a tale of survival and worth the journey. Recommended.

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