If I don’t do this now…

…I never will, since I finished the book two or three days ago and still haven’t written about it. I’ve been busy with my new job, which is going well, but I don’t have oodles of hours in which to do nothing anymore. In fact, I’ve got to slam this post out and then get my behind over to the store again.

Please don’t be mad at me, all you men out there, but this is about the second in the Wicked Lovely series, so it’s another book for teenage girls.  Sorry! I love them, and I’ve got to get through these books so I can give them back to the person I borrowed them from. Don’t worry, next to come is The Scarlet Letter, then hopefully followed by a nice gory murder mystery (but NOT one of those mass-produced trashy ones by ahttp://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=Bibliograph07-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0061214701&fc1=F3EDED&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=040404&f=ifruthors with fifty plus books on the shelf).  Something fun in here for everyone, isn’t there?

And without further ado: Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr.  Though I originally decided to do these posts separately because I need to start posting more blogs, I think it works out well because each of the novels follows new characters, rather than being a continuation of the characters’ stories from the last novel.  Rather than focusing on Aislinn, Seth, Keenan, and Donia, Ink Exchange picks up on characters that were obsolete in Wicked Lovely: Aislinn’s friend Leslie, Keenan’s court advisor Naill, and the king of the Dark Court, Irial. I don’t see much of this in other series that I read. Most simply follow the same characters throughout, or introduce new ones. Marr has taken characters that no one was supposed to be interested in, and made them come alive. It reflects, I think, the human tendency to focus on our own lives and ignore the fact that the people we get angry with in traffic or in line at the grocery store are also characters in their own stories.  I like that Marr does this. A lot.

Another great thing about this novel is that it is not fluff and filler for the great finale that she has planned (if she has one planned, I don’t know). Each novel could very easily stand alone, were it not for the fact that they are linked by the same characters. Therefore Ink Exchange has an entirely unique plot from Wicked Lovely. In a time when many authors of YA fantasy seem to simply be writing one enormous narrative and then chopping it into several pieces with a meat cleaver, this is seriously refreshing.

So then, plot.  Another love triangle in this one, between Leslie, Naill, and Irial.  Irial gains power over Leslie, who is besotted with both of them, though not for healthy, human reasons.  As she seeks to be free from her own painful past, she becomes a prisoner of the Dark fey, who use her as a conduit for all the darker human emotions–lust, greed, hate, anger, fear, etc.–on which they thrive. This is, once again, a very tense novel, though for different reasons this time.  Unlike in Wicked Lovely, the reader knows exactly who they want Leslie to fall for, and who they want her to run away from.  The tension in this novel is purely sexual.  Both Naill and Irial hold otherwordly power over the girl, and they both want her bad.  This makes for a novel that, if I had to describe it in one word, is just plain sexy. I guess that’s three words. Oh well. There are no actual sex scenes, which would be surprising, except for the fact that it’s a teen book, and many authors opt to leave that out.

Though I enjoyed this novel greatly, it was not as well done as the first.  The plot felt like it dragged a bit in the beginning, and then was forced and rushed at the end.  Also, I do no recommend this novel for a younger crowd. There are some very heavy themes in this book. Throughout the novel, Leslie struggles with an act of abuse by her brother and his friends.  Also, sexual desire and obsession are present in the novel, and are equated with love–something I feel floods YA book content right now, and firmly disagree with.  However, for women (or men?) of a discerning age, the book is fun and easy, so go ahead and read it. It was still thoroughly enjoyable.

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