Stopping Time is a short story, about 50 pages long, and a continuation of Leslie’s story after Ink Exchange with both Irial and Niall looking on.
And there were parts of that story that would be interesting to continue – Niall as the new king and what Irial’s place in the hierarchy is. How is the Dark Court developing and changing? There is such a lot to explore here, such a lot of depth and politics.
None of this was continued
Instead we followed Leslie and her non-relationship with Niall and Irial. And I didn’t like it – to me it undermined so much of what I liked about Ink Exchange. At the end of that book Leslie’s story, at least so far as the fae was concerned, was finished. Leslie walked away. In a brilliant representation of strength and survival and independence and agency, Leslie saw that relationship with the Dark Court, with Niall, with Irial, was destructive and dangerous and not something she wanted. She walked away. Going against a thousand tropes screaming that a girl should stay with the guy for twu love no matter how dangerous, abusive or unhealthy he or the relationship is, Leslie said No. Leslie walked away. Leslie chose her own path and decided she didn’t need these men. She moved out of the city away from them to have a fresh start, with no fae at all.
It was truly excellent and novel.
And in this book? Irial is stalking her, following her everywhere to keep her safe. And she calls Niall on the phone at night so she can feel safe in her apartment. She is constantly having to resist going back to either of them. And, ultimately, she is rescued by them when she is threatened by her abusive brother.