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. . . . [Summary from B&N]
I had made peace with the understanding that Wicked Lovely wasn’t for me. I had tried to read it too many times to have any delusions that it was simply a mood thing. It wasn’t until Angie’s review of Radiant Shadows came along that I got to thinking maybe I should try again, but with Ink Exchange. Go ahead and add that to the list of things I should have done sooner.
The weight of my enjoyment rests firmly on the shoulders of Niall and Irial. Individually, each is wonderful, together…Oh, but they’re something more than remarkable. And what’s more, they might as well have been a trap designed just for me; if there is one thing I cannot resist it’s affection, hesitant or not, between two strong, but darkened men. I will freely admit, then, that these two kept me turning the pages more than anything else.
Except for maybe Gabriel; he snuck up on me with his growls, his fast car, and the flowers he brought for Leslie. But then there was his insight and his steadfast support of Irial. His pride in his pups, too. Perhaps he wasn’t such a surprise after all. Still, it proves one thing: what worked for me in this novel was the characterization of the Dark Court. Even Bananach, the rival for Irial’s throne, provoked emotion – I may have harbored some serious dislike for her, even wanted to snarl at her myself a few times, but she created a spark.
The Summer Court didn’t fare so well with me. Keenan – has he ever not been an ass? If he has, I couldn’t tell by his actions in this book. I didn’t like him in the brief bits of Wicked Lovely I read, and I really didn’t like him in this. As for Ash, she was pleasant, vital, even, when she was around Seth, but otherwise her presence in any given scene meant little.
And Leslie – it was like her inability to feel emotion for longer than a few seconds leeched into me when it came to her. I sympathized with her completely, appreciated what motivated her, but, like Ash with Seth, she only really came alive when with Niall. That was when I found myself wanting to read about her.
Perhaps I’ve become desensitized, but I have to admit that this book wasn’t as dark as I anticipated it to be. The intent was there, clearly. But – and this is where I’m going to take a deep breath and blurt it out – the writing didn’t feel like it supported the tone or, at times, the atmosphere the story demanded. For one, several paragraphs came over as repetitious; I’d finish a bit and have a sense of deja vu, like the character was reliving the same thought, just mulling it over a little differently. It happened enough so as to be decidedly and regrettably noticeable. And there were times that I wanted to feel something in my bones and just didn’t, couldn’t. That I didn’t could be chalked up to the fact that I love dark fantasy, and have read enough of it to have become immune to a book that uses a lighter hand.
Despite the few problems I had, I’ll definitely be continuing with the series. In fact, I finished Ink Exchange the day I bought it, and went out the next to pick up Fragile Eternity. (Which has the story “Stopping Time” in it; thanks to Angie, I’m pratically chomping at the bit to read it!) Am I glad I decided to skip Wicked Lovely and take the plunge with Ink? Absolutely.