Book Review: Indelible by Dawn Metcalf

Some things are permanent.


And they cannot be changed back.

Joy Malone learns this the night she sees a stranger with all-black eyes across a crowded room—right before the mystery boy tries to cut out her eye. Instead, the wound accidentally marks her as property of Indelible Ink, and this dangerous mistake thrusts Joy into an incomprehensible world—a world of monsters at the window, glowing girls on the doorstep, and a life that will never be the same.

Now, Joy must pretend to be Ink’s chosen one—his helper, his love, his something for the foreseeable future…and failure to be convincing means a painful death for them both. Swept into a world of monsters, illusion, immortal honor and revenge, Joy discovers that sometimes, there are no mistakes.

Somewhere between reality and myth lies…


My Rating:  3 cupcakes

I loved the premise behind Indelible. At first I thought this book would end up being Wicked Lovely meets City of Bones: a girl sees a mysterious boy across the room that no one else can see because she has been gifted with the Sight. However, as the story progressed, the fae-like beings that inhabit the Twixt were shown to be much different than the traditional “faeries.” I loved the originality behind the Scribes, their signaturae and the process by which they are applied, and the descriptions of these acts were lush and beautiful. The creatures themselves were truly fascinating to read about; I could easily visualize their extra limbs, rows of sharp teeth, and other unusual features, and they often reminded me of something straight from Pan’s Labyrinth (which is a huge compliment, considering how lovely and strange Guillermo del Toro’s sketches are).

Unfortunately, a few of the worldbuilding aspects are rather confusing. It takes a while to discern what Ink and Inq do, let alone what they are. In some ways this is nice, since it creates an air of intrigue and mystery around the Twixt and allows readers to form their own conclusions along the way. On the other hand, it results in a lot of infodumping, which can be hard to follow and a bit overwhelming at times.

I’m not quite sure how to feel about Joy. She’s cautious and curious about the new world that she’s been thrust into, but also recognizes that danger lurks beneath its seductive and beautiful exterior. She often came across as whiny and selfish, and there were many times when I found myself growing annoyed with her childish behaviour. In the beginning, she was fairly proactive and spent a lot of time trying to figure out what was happening to her — but all of this changed when she met Ink. Not only does she fall head over heels into instalove with him, but she also demonstrates many concerning signs of codependence. Joy soon starts failing her classes (when she goes to them), ditches her friends, and starts ignoring her own family all because she’s too wrapped up in her relationship with Ink. She transforms from a character capable of standing up for herself to a damsel in distress, calling out for Ink whenever she needs rescuing. That’s not to say that I didn’t like Ink – he was much more interesting than Joy was – but the way that their relationship progressed was not the healthiest and was much too fast.

I was pleasantly surprised by Ink’s character. Stabbing someone in the eye isn’t the greatest first impression, but Ink’s adorable naivety quickly caused me to forget about this transgression. He’s oblivious, innocent and rather blunt, but that’s not because he’s standoffish — instead, Ink has little experience with emotions and humankind, so he is unsure of how to act as one. With Joy’s assistance, Ink begins a slow transformation from an emotionless Scribe to something much more human, which is really sweet to watch.

Overall, Indelible was an enjoyable read. I quickly fell in love with the original, intricate world that Metcalf created and the characters that inhabit it, and I can’t wait to visit the Twixt again in the future.

Thanks to Netgalley and Harlequin Teen for providing me with an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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