Faeries of Dreamdark: Blackbringer (YA)
by Laini Taylor
Review by Harriet Klausner
Putnam Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 0399246304
Date: 21 June, 2007 List Price $17.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Faerie Magpie Windwitch is the daughter of a faerie and the Elemental Wind. She and her constant companions of ravens travel the world saving spells, finding objects to take back from those who stole them and most important of all, capturing devils that are freed from their bottles by mannies (humans). Magpie and company find a bottle void of all life as if the devil escaped, but no signs of a devil walking.
Drawn to the bottle, Magpie feels total darkness and rage; she realizes she is not dealing with an ordinary devil. She tracks the darkness to Rome and in the catacombs when she finds a dying djinn, the Vritra, one of the fire elementals who created the tapestry that made the world. She also finds a strange blade called Skuldraig. The darkness is heading for her homeland in the forest of Dreamdark where the fae live unknown to man. She discovers where the King of the Djinn, the Magruwen is waking from his millennium long sleep and asks him to help destroy the darkness. No longer interested in the affairs of man, he tries to brush her off but he sees the blade that only the champion can carry and realizes her powers are stronger than any of fairie kind. As the darkness swallows up the fae, Magpie is determined to find a way to fight it and crosses over to the Moonlit Gardens where she meets Magruwen's champion Bellatrix who knows of the Devils Wars millennia ago. Magpie learns from Bellatrix what the darkness is and figures out it can be defeated if they can find away to motivate the Djinn King to help her. Her courage and spunk gains his admiration and he decides to help her knowing he might be sending her to her doom.
This tale is targeted for ages ten and up but like so many books of this category, teens and adults who like a good fantasy will enjoy Faeries of Dreamdark: Blackbringer because Laini Taylor has created a full culture that enables the readers to learn about the faeries history, society, and values. It is a fanciful, magical tale that has no humans in speaking roles. The faerie and the ravens, who are a talkative bunch, carry the storyline. Each has its own distinctive personality and each one is very intelligent as they guide Magpie from the time she left her parents until she comes into her own powers.
Magpie is a brave spirit who can ride on a raven's back and whose mission in life is to restore the glory and stability to the faerie world which is dying due to the encroachment of humanity and their own feelings of ennui. She puts others above herself as she is the only one who hunts devils and puts them back in their bottles after humans release them. The faerie have no interests in humanity and act like they don't exist as the mortals have very little impact on the denizens of Dreamdark.
The most interesting character of all is the Djinn king who has slept for thousands of years, disgusted with the outside world and at first has no interest in stopping the darkness known as Blackbringer. His interactions with Magpie are fascinating to observe as she guides him, tantalizes him and shows him her courageous caring nature that allows her to fight Blackbringer with or without his help. She gives him something he lost a long time ago: hope for the future. Although there is a lot of action in this magical tale, it is the characters who drive the storyline forward.