Skip to main content

Ink Exchange


Ink Exchange

Seventeen-year-old Leslie has endured tough times since her
mother left her behind with her father and brother, most of which
she would like to forget. Although she has made mistakes of her
own, they pale in comparison to her brother Ren’s
out-of-control drug abuse. When Leslie isn’t in school or
waitressing to pay for college (as well as the bills her
often-absent alcoholic father fails to pay), she tries to avoid her
brother as much as she can.

As an escape, Leslie hangs out at Pins and Needles with tattoo
artist Rabbit and his younger sisters Ani and Tish. It is there
that Leslie searches for a symbol of empowerment --- the first step
in claiming her own life after years of trying to keep her family
together --- and tries to put behind her the horrific moment when
Ren sold her in exchange for drugs, despite the nightmares that
continue to plague her.

Leslie also seeks to mend her friendship with Aislinn, who has gone
through some life changes of her own, one of which is a strange
friendship with the new guy at their high school, Keenan, who
Aislinn’s boyfriend Seth seems to tolerate. Although Leslie
isn’t sure about Keenan, she finds herself attracted to his
mysterious guardian and “uncle” Niall. The attraction
is mutual, but Niall has to remain unavailable, since Leslie is
mortal, unaware of the faery realm or that Aislinn is the new
Summer Queen.

Meanwhile, Irial, the Dark King, is at a crossroads in an
increasingly perilous situation. When Keenan, the Summer King,
overthrew his mother Beria --- the conniving Winter Queen ---
Donia, the Winter Girl, took power, forming a fragile yet peaceful
alliance between the Summer and Winter courts. This new union
affected all of the other fey courts, particularly the Dark Court,
which relied on Biera’s power(s) for some of their own. Now,
Irial must either nourish his chaotic court or risk mutiny and
full-fledged war, exposing mortals to the fey world as well as the
Dark Court’s secrets, destroying his followers and himself in
the process. In an effort to restore control, he has already set a
plan in motion that will have an intense effect on the fey and

When Leslie sees a mysterious piece of artwork, she is determined
to have it as her tattoo, regardless of Rabbit’s strange
reluctance. At first, Leslie feels invincible, ready to take on the
world. As time passes, however, and she begins seeing --- and
feeling disconnected to --- the bizarre sights and events happening
around her, Leslie wonders if she is slowly losing her mind.

Already concerned about Leslie's well-being, Niall is alarmed when
he hears of Irial's visit at the restaurant where Leslie
works. The news brings up disturbing memories for Niall, and
he realizes that he has to protect Leslie from the ruthless Dark
King, despite the Summer Court's disapproval. As his feelings for
Leslie grow, Niall must decide between doing the right thing and
what he feels is right, regardless of the consequences.

Morality and power are major themes as readers are given an
unflinching look at the (much) darker side of mortals and fey
alike. A compelling companion to WICKED LOVELY, INK EXCHANGE will
haunt and intrigue Melissa Marr’s many fans from beginning to


Reviewed by Sarah Sawtelle on October 18, 2011

Ink Exchange
by Melissa Marr

  • Publication Date: April 29, 2008
  • Genres: Fantasy, Romance
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins
  • ISBN-10: 006121468X
  • ISBN-13: 9780061214684