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Saturday, February 21, 2009

“Faeries of Dreamdark: Blackbringer” by Laini Taylor (Reviewed by Cindy Hannikman)

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Fairies are often seen as helpful creatures, but are never really looked at as the main character in a storyline. Which makes coming across a book that solely focuses on faeries a rare find. Laini Taylor, in her YA novel “Faeries of Dreamdark: Blackbringer”, brings to life a whole new world of faeries who are on the brink of destruction by an evil force...

Magpie is an adventurous fairy who has spent most of her young life in pursuit of finding the devils that the humans have unleashed on the world, and sealing them up before they can cause any problems. While on her journey, Magpie comes across an evil so powerful that it will take more then she is capable of to capture and protect the world. If Magpie doesn't succeed then darkness may soon take over.

While trying to save the world, Magpie runs into a whole series of mysteries, including finding out what happened to the ancient warrior queen Bellatrix who disappeared centuries ago, and discovering where the dragons went, if they even existed. Along with the mysteries there are also plenty of adventures that Magpie encounters: awaking an ancient djinni that must help save the world, having vampire-like creatures sent after her to distract her from her goal, and even having close encounters with the humans known as “mannies”.

Because there are so few books out there that use faeries as a main character, there are many directions that a writer can take. In Taylor’s case, she dives head first into this world making it a treat for young and old readers alike. While readers might believe that the main plot—a great evil set to destroy the world with only a born champion capable of preventing the destruction from happening—is a story that is often overused and can be found in any assortment of YA books currently available, there are however, plenty of interesting subplots that make this book appealing even for the veteran fantasy reader. At times though, the plot does get boring or starts to lag, and cutting the page count down from its 440 pages probably would have aided the novel.

Storyline isn't the only element that will bring in readers: the characterization of the faeries is also unique and intriguing with just the right mix of different types of faeries. There are the traditional faeries that can talk with the earth and use its properties for good, and the warrior-like faeries that carry daggers and are trained to attack anything that might harm their land. A diverse cast of characters also adds to the many faeries that the readers come across, including the band of crows that follows Magpie around, an evil rat, and the legendary Djinni, all characters who bring a little bit to the storyline.

While the story and the use of faeries as a main character are some of Taylor’s strengths, there is one major weakness. There are a lot of instances where it feels as though readers are jumping into an already established story where the author knows what’s going on, but we don’t, and very little information is given to keep us in the loop.

Along with this, there’s also the lack of convincing development between characters. For example, Talon, a wingless fairy prince, falls in love with Magpie, but since there is so little interaction throughout the book between these two characters, it felt like this subplot was just randomly thrown into the novel.

Overall, as much as I wanted to love the story of warrior faeries battling evil devils, I found Laini Taylor’sFaeries of Dreamdark: Blackbringer” a hard book to get into. Nevertheless, I understand this is Taylor's debut and the novel wasn’t a complete letdown, especially since it offers a fresh look at faeries. So I hope “Blackbringer” will open the door for other authors to take a fresh approach at faeries, and with the second Faeries of Dreamdark book on the horizon, I also hope to see Laini Taylor’s writing grow and improve...


geoffery said...

this book was sooooooo awesome!!!!! i am a very animated reader, so i am not very easily impressed, in fact i have only been this impressed 2 times before it was just enough of a cliffhanger to make not stop reading it i spent all day, from 7:00 to 5:00 reading it and now im done with it i cant wait to read the other books

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