|Genre||Young Adult Fiction|
|Release Date||April 24, 2008|
|Website||Melissa Marr Books|
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...
The prologue begins by re-telling a scene from Wicked Lovely where Leslie walks into a tattoo shop with Irial, King of the Dark Court, narrated from Irial's point of view. The first chapter then shows Leslie preparing for a normal day of school, and it is revealed that she is being neglected by her alcoholic father and that her brother, Ren, is a drug addict. When Leslie reaches school, Aislinn, the protagonist from Wicked Lovely, is shown to have adjusted well to her new life, and Leslie is suspicious of the changes. Later, Leslie walks into a tattoo parlor and chooses a tattoo of eyes surrounded by wings, which turns out to be the symbol of Irial. While she does not know the significance of the tattoo and its connection to Irial, she feels compelled to get it. The book then cuts to Irial. It is revealed that the Dark Court needs to feed off dark emotions (such as anger, hate, and pain) to stay strong and that Irial's solution is to have an ink exchange with a mortal (Leslie). The ink exchange would consist of the Dark Court's blood and tears as being used for the tattoo ink, joining the Dark King and the mortal together, and allowing for the Dark King to drain the emotions from the mortal to feed his court. When Leslie starts to get her tattoo, Irial is curious about Leslie and approaches her, but Aislinn tries to keep them apart. Simultaneously, Niall is also developing an infatuation with Leslie, even though Aislinn has forbidden Niall to interact too much with Leslie as Aislinn wants Leslie to be kept out of the world of the fey.
It is also revealed that Niall had history with Irial, that he is a "Gancanagh", a faerie with a drug in his skin that mortals become addicted to, and that Irial wanted Niall to rule after him but Niall refused after seeing the horror that happened in the Dark Court bruig (the place where the Dark Court feed off humans, usually killing them or driving them insane in the process). This refusal causes Irial to order Gabriel (the leader of the Hounds, Gabriel is the name of the position, not an actual name, e.g. "Gabriel's Hounds") to give Niall the scar on his face. After this, Niall swore fealty to the summer court to escape the things he had done with Irial.
When Leslie's tattoo is complete, Irial takes her away while Niall leaves the Summer Court when he found out that Keenan has been using him and his connection with Irial and Leslie to find out more about the Dark Court. Niall and Leslie meet up and Niall tells Leslie that he has a way of breaking the bond between Irial and her, should she ever want to. When Leslie learns that Irial is killing other mortals to keep her alive, she takes Niall up on his offer. He uses sunlight and frost taken from the Winter and Summer Queens to burn and freeze the link and the tattoo off Leslie. In the end, both Irial and Niall leave Leslie alone so she can pursue a normal, human life. Irial then hands over his throne to Niall, saying that he is the only Faerie he has found in all these centuries worthy to lead the Dark fey after him, and then Irial swears fealty to Niall. The book ends with Irial walking away thinking he has made a good choice.