Another book talk, and today I'm doing a double: Ink Exchange, the stand-alone spin-off of Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely, and Fragile Eternity, which is Wicked Lovely's sequel. For my take on Wicked Lovely, click HERE.
What I loved best about these two stories, and Wicked Lovely, was the way faeries are their own culture, both apart from the mortal world and at the same time, influenced by it.
Something else I loved was how I found both good and bad in all the major characters. Good guys made mistakes, villains had beating hearts and redeemable qualities. Ink Exchange especially was all about understanding the harsh, cruel world that must exist, and bad guys good making good decisions, but Fragile Eternity also showed good guys acting selfishly and nothing was ever easy or straight-forward.
Ink Exchange is a trip into the sultry, frightening side of the faery world, and I was intrigued by the Dark Court and it's strange and necessary connection to the mortal one. Leslie was the perfect character to fit into this world, both alluring and damaged. At first I thought this story was a romance like the first book, and I wasn't sure who-- Niall or Irial, would be the right match for Leslie. As things progressed I understood it more as a story about choices and addiction, and it turns out, love, but the kind of love that means doing what's best for the people we care about. Ms. Marr is a master at making me think over what I understand about good and evil.
In Fragile Eternity we return to the light of summer. The prologue drew me in and I was right at home with my old faves, to the point that it was impossible to stick to my read-only-before-bed rule. I was reading in the kitchen while trying to make dinner for goodness sake! But I'm a sucker for angst and drama, so mix that in with magical powers, beautiful writing, faery feasts and a love rectangle that left me guessing (and hoping!), this was pretty much a story-come-true for me. I loved every second of Keenan's pursuit, and I felt bad for poor Seth's desperate knowledge that no matter how much Ash loved him, he was going to get old and die. It's obviously a middle book, and the ending is pretty much one of those, "Aren't there more pages??? There must be another chapter here somewhere..." but I am happy knowing that my time spent in the faery world isn't over.
Both books are a departure from the first story, a girl with a crush who can see faeries, and I enjoy seeing how the story events have changed and affected each character differently. I don't like to say, "This book is better than that," because we all connect to books for our own, inexplicable reasons. That being said, I enjoyed the storyline of the Wicked Lovely/Fragile Eternity books more, but the Ink Exchange storyline is more thought-provoking and unique.