Home > fantasy, Genre > Book Review: Faeries of Dreamdark: Blackbringer by Laini Taylor (Series, #1)

Book Review: Faeries of Dreamdark: Blackbringer by Laini Taylor (Series, #1)

Faerie on a crow.Summary:
Magpie Windwitch has spent most of her life traveling the world with her parents fighting to save the faerie magic and rid the world of demons and devils mannies accidentally loose from their bottle prisons.  Now chasing after a surprisingly powerful demon has brought her and her crew of crow guardians back to her birthplace of Dreamdark, a faerie land no mannie can enter.  Here she encounters more members of her generation of faeries, including Poppy who can speak to plants and Talon who possesses an extraordinary knitting talent.  Soon Magpie will discover not only secrets about the world, but about herself as well.

I’ve been working at reading from the bottom of my print TBR pile, and I really do wish I could remember what led me to pick up this book.  Faeries and fantasy are generally not my thing, but clearly something caught my eye about this story, and rightly so, for I found myself swept into the tale and really quite enjoying it.

Taylor has created a fun heroine with all the usual traits of a chosen one in fantasy.  Blessed by those more powerful, something special about her, has a few flaws such as a strong will, yadda yadda.  One thing that really sticks out though is that she’s a girl.  The chosen champion is a girl, and so was the most famous prior champion.  Nice to see that difference!  Plus, seeing a guy fall for a girl because she’s exciting, adventurous, and strong-willed is always fun to see depicted for a change.  I truly enjoyed Magpie and Talon, and to me they are the ones who held the story together.

The faerie world is richly imagined without crossing over into being overly romanticized or sexualized like so many faerie stories are wont to do currently.  The entire setting reminds me of the books about the adventures of animals in the woods that we humans just can’t see that I used to so enjoy reading as a child.  It’s just that in this case in addition to the animals, there are faeries.

The author was inspired by her own drawings, and they pepper throughout the book.  They are truly beautiful drawings, and I found myself stopping reading entirely just to get lost in them.  Don’t read this one on the tiny screen of an iPod.

The mystery itself is logical within the setting, although it honestly seemed a bit trite and commonplace among fantasy.  I was hoping for something a bit more unique.  Must every fantasy story be about saving the whole world?  Additionally, there were a few side-plots that seemed totally unnecessary, particularly once all was revealed at the end of the book.

On the other hand, the more progressive aspects of the story-telling excuse these short-comings in my mind.  Taylor gently expresses a necessary respect for all living creatures, as well as non-gendered expectations and inter-racial relationships.  I confidently recommend this to those seeking a fantasy story for middle-grade or YA readers with these positive elements.

4 out of 5 stars

Source: PaperBackSwap

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  1. jpetroroy
    April 6, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    Her book Lips Touch was a finalist for the National Book Award (I think) last year. From what I”ve read, I think you’d enjoy that too.

    • April 6, 2011 at 3:06 pm

      Thanks, Jen! I’ll look into it. 🙂

  2. April 10, 2011 at 11:01 am

    I liked this one, but loved the second book of the Dreamdark series–Silksinger

    • April 11, 2011 at 12:09 pm

      Well I liked this one enough to add the second one to my wishlist, so that’s good news to hear!

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