This is the second book in the Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr. I will try not to give away any spoilers for the previous book in this review.
Ink Exchange continues where Wicked Lovely ended, only it primarily focuses on one of Aislinn’s friends, Leslie. Leslie is having a hard time at home and dealing with some very painful memories. She wants to change her life, symbolically, by getting her first tattoo. But this tattoo is more than it seems. It ties her to a world she has never known anything about.
This was a very difficult book for me to read. It was well written and executed, but it touched on a personal phobia of mine. The whole book is a metaphor for addiction and drug use, and often alludes to drugs in the plot, not just as a metaphor. Drug use in any written, visual, or spoken form make me very sick to my stomach (I blame the movie Trainspotting for this phobia). I was forewarned going in, so I was able to keep my nauseous stomach in check, but I know this won’t be a book I revisit simply because I don’t know that I could handle it a second time. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a good book. I don’t know exactly what Marr was trying to accomplish with it, but I felt like it did two things, and did them well. First, it gave a very clear anti-drug message without being heavy handed or condescending. Second, it provided some understanding and sympathy for the addict and, to a smaller extent, the dealer. It shows that these people are people too, even if they’ve made the wrong choices.