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Faeries of Dreamdark; Blackbringer, a book review

“It is the faeries’ doom to forget what ought never be forgotten. Their wars have faded to legend. Their foes are naught but nursery tales. After thousands of years of peace the name Blackbringer inspires no fear, but it should. The Blackbringer is no nursery tale. He’s the dark come to life.”

Faeries of Dreamdark; Blackbringer is Laini Taylor’s first novel. It follows the adventures of Magpie Windwitch and her band of crows, as she seeks to heal the very tapestry of the world.

Epic, yes. Cheesy, not a bit. And here's why.

Dreamdark is like a richly woven tapestry. In it Ms. Taylor has seamlessly created a world bursting with color, cultures, and its own history, all of which play into the story. She draws on folklore from many places, including India and the Middle East, which I personally enjoy because it offers a nice break from other heavily welsh/English/Irish folklore.

Blackbringer is a fun read, there’s no doubt about it. It has all the components of a classic adventure. Dark forests, old magic, the hungry dark, secrets, and of course, the fiercest little protagonist, Magpie Windwitch.

Magpie’s got some serious moxy. She’s a small, bold, faerie who knows her way around a fight. In the world of Dreamdark, the faeries are a tranquil people, long fallen from the days of their ancestors when they safeguarded the world from demons by trapping them within bottles. But lately, humans have been opening the bottles and letting what should have stayed trapped forever back into the world. And this is just where the story starts.

What’s particularly interesting is that the main characters are faeries. I’ve read stories that contain faeries, and occasionally the main character was one, but not like Magpie. Magpie and the faeries of Dreamdark are faeries in the diminutive winged way. Complete with their own dialect, history and culture. The story doesn't hinge on interaction with humans, like other books, but on the inventive world of faeries, imps, devils, and djinns.

Another strong point of Blackbringer is that, despite the ambitious plot, the story manages to remain personal. If you know me, you’ll know that I absolutely hate flat characters and plot-driven writing. Luckily, the characters of Blackbringer don’t fall flat. There are many nuanced characters like Poppy, the soft-spoken healer’s apprentice, and Talon, a fierce warrior who dreams of flight. There’s also, Batch Hangnail the relentless scavenger imp, and the mighty, though diminished, Magruwen. And of course Bertram, Calypso, and the other crows who really begin to feel like family towards the end.

I would absolutely recommend Blackbringer to anyone who’s a lover of faerie, adventure, and a good old yarn. This is definitely a book you’ll want to curl up with. I’d also recommend Faeries of Dreamdark; Silkslinger, which a companion novel that occurs following the events in Blackbringer, as well as Laini Taylor’s other novels.


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