Joy already has a tough enough life before a stranger tries to stab her in the eye. Her mom abandoned their family in the company of a younger man, her brother Stefan doesn’t talk to her since leaving for college and Joy just can’t relate to her father. Needless to say, Ink stabbing her in the eye is the last thing Joy needs. Especially when he accidentally misses and ends up marking her as his instead. Thus, Joy is thrust into a new world of strange creatures, dark corners, and danger at every turn.
Joy is a typical YA MC. A whiny, moody, “nobody understand me” type of girl. We are never really given a physical description on her, so it’s pretty hard to make Joy unique from all of the other characters I’ve read about. Throughout the majority of the book, Joy is always the damsel in distress. She does her best to solve her problems, but she always needs to rely on others to finish the job for her. Mind you, most of these situations were out of her control, so we’ll cut her some slack. (Plus, she did really kick some butt in those last few pages!)
As for Ink &Inq, they’re what Melcalf describes as “scribes.” From what I got from the book, they’re there to act as a type of messenger between the other-worldly beings also known as the Twixt. They are given jobs by different members of the Twixt (some warriors, some aether spirits, amongst a whole slew of other un-named creatures), to carry and mark their signaturae on humans so that they can claim them as their own.
Why the Twixt needed them to mark people for them is unknown to me. In the book Metcalf explains it as keeping the Twixt safe and out of the way of exposure… But the only reason Joy was even able to see all these other-worldly creatures was because she has the “Sight,” which obviously gives her the ability to see Ink & the like. Ergo, I am very confused as to why these Twixt would need to keep to themselves from “risk of exposure” if there really is no risk at all.
Now, let’s break down this plot…. Wait. What plot? Pretty much the first two-thirds of this book are dedicated to Joy & Ink and them being seen together so that Ink doesn’t get in trouble for messing up and marking Joy by accident (Ink & Inq claimed that marking Joy was done on purpose so that they wouldn’t be considered fuck-ups & therefore disposable & replaceable). It’s not until you hit about page 200 that there is even a baddy/conflict identified for Ink & Joy to beat/over-come.
So, by now you’re probably thinking to yourself… Lex, why the hell did you give this book a 3.5 star rating if all you’re doing is trashing everything about it? Well, let me tell you…. This book has some unknown addictive quality to it that I can’t even begin to understand… Also, I was really in the mood for a super cheesy paranormal romance thing, AND! THE CREATURES IN THIS BOOK WERE SO FANTASTICAL. I think that’s why the plot and everything else was so lacking, because if I were Metcalf and I had images of these creatures in my head, I would want to spew them out on paper and show them off to everyone, too. These creatures, and the last 150 or so pages make up for pretty much all of the weak points of this book.
I read a review of someone else’s that mentioned that the creatures reminded her of a Miyazaki film and I think that’s why I liked this book as much as I did. I love his movies and I can’t help but be amazed by the different types of creatures. So, if you’re a fan of Miyazaki films I would suggest checking this book out and giving it a shot for yourself. :)