"review" · fiction · juvenile lit · recommend · sci-fi/fantasy · Tales · wondermous

oh, how I love these…

{I opted for the short and sweet, fearing the gushing could go on and I would possibly overwhelm us both; so please excuse my understatements, if you would like clarity on a point, please, as always, comment.}

I picked Laini Taylor’s Dreamdark: Silksinger for the cover. I was scanning the shelf for something else when it caught my eye. Then of course I read the jacket and added it to the pile. It is 400-some pages, but the book is 7.64 x 5.80 x 1.45 in. And I hadn’t read a Fantasy of this sort in a while.

In a day or two’s time I started reading Silksinger and I was several pages in when I wondered if it was a Book 2, and if that book cover on the back inside jacket was book 1.  I stopped, went and got Blackbringer and read Book 1 first. And while you could read Book 2 and enjoy it, it’s better with the first first.

I will be commenting on them both together because the second book maintained the first book’s excellence (a rare claim, for which Taylor should be proud).

Faeries of Dreamdark: Blackbringer by Laini Taylor

Illustrated by Jim Di Bartolo

G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2007

(smallish, Hardback), 437 pages.

 

Dreamdark: Silksinger (book 2) by Laini Taylor

Illustrated by Jim Di Bartolo

G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2009.

(smallish, Hardback), 445 pages.

Laini Taylor has a marvelous imagination. Even better, she’s a wonderful storyteller. I finished the first book and was euphoric. After the second book I knew the infatuation was actually love.  What do these books not do well?

I tried to rub the stars from my eyes. I let the stories sit a few days. Now sitting here, typing this post, I can only think a next book is too far in the offing. And also whether two more books on the Christmas list would overburden it.

Poppy Manygreen (Blackbringer, 71)

The things I really appreciated about the reads:

the illustrations (beautiful additions, though you can imagine what they look like, Laini is good with her own descriptions); Jumps straight in; a well-crafted world/lore; great characters/characterization—and their names; humor; the imagery; the language and the fact that I could read it, that I could pronounce the places, etc; pacing; action; a dose of sweet romance; affectionate relationships, family/friends; unflinching darkness; and yes, I was shocked and horrified in book one when….; and I teared-up in book two when….

Bellatrix (Blackbringer, 257)

I was concerned with: the obnoxious heroine possibility.

Though the 3rd person narrative is not limited, Magpie Windwitch is our protagonist in both.  She is quite incredible—almost dangerously so. You could see her unlimited potential, as the story allows for her to find the tools she needs to succeed from somewhere yet discovered inside of herself, from gifts bestowed, from dreams dreamed for her… And yet, she is charmingly young. Bless it, she has flaws, and she is fairly unpredictable (without disrupting the stories logic).  She also has the crows and Talon Rathersting to keep her humble. Taylor also dispenses awesomeness to other characters in the books, which is not often the case in other hero adventure stories.

While:

My love for the Dreamdark books should equate with “everyone should read them!” But that isn’t actually the case. I was thinking about this. I think that a huge number of people aged 9 and up would be entertained by Taylor’s stories, however…

…If you don’t care for Fantasy, these are not an obvious choice; but if you wanted to try, these are upper-middle-grade, highly accessible and paced to move you along, dispensing back story along the way.

…if you are worried about competing/influential mythologies (however fictional in presentation) you will not care for this one, but you probably don’t read much Fantasy anyway.

…if you are tired of charming males in your reading, this should wait awhile.

…if you don’t care for diversity, you probably wouldn’t care for this one; but if you are…I would like to hear thoughts on how you think some of the faeries are portrayed after you’ve read it.

I haven’t tested this series on the daughter yet. She has her own pile of books (I think she has 4 going at once) and her writing, but I plan on having her give them a go…course if I owned them I wouldn’t have to renew them at the Library and I wouldn’t have to keep moving them to the top of her tower of TBRs…

 another book where the content and illustrations are equally lovely.  Jim Di Bartolo's blog.
Laini Taylor's homepage.