Friday, November 20, 2009

Review of Dreamdark: Silksinger by Laini Taylor

Taylor, Laini. Dreamdark: Silksinger. Putnam's Sons, 2009.

I reviewed the first book in the Dreamdark series (Dreamdark: Blackbringer) for School Library Journal, and while I gave it a good review, it did not for some reason win me over completely. Was it the book itself? Was it my mood? Had I read too many faery book recently?

Whatever the case, I approached Silksinger with some trepidation. Everyone else has been raving about it - what if I disliked it? I'd have to question my own reaction to books - am I too picky? Too discerning? Simply too cranky?

What a relief - Silksinger is a winner! Magpie Windwitch is, along with her friend Talon and her band of crow brothers, off on her quest to gather up all the Djinn - and it so happens that one of them, Azazel, is in the fierce possession of tiny Whisper, last of the Silksinger faeries. She's being pursued by devils who want it for their nasty devil master Ethiag, but his badness pales in comparison to Ethiag's own master, who plans to take over the world.

Magpie is as spunky and fearless as ever, and her relationship with Talon has an interesting tinge of complication to it. Willow, who has lost her entire clan and has nothing but her oath to protect Azazel to keep her going, finds an ally in Hirik, whose loyal and brave heart belies the stories of betrayal that taint his clan. Both Hirik and Willow are fascinating characters whose passion and desperation are so strong and believable that readers will immediately feel that they've known them forever. Even minor characters receive the kind of writerly attention to detail that makes them memorable - Slomby in particular, a lowly slave who resembles a snail, is quite winning. The city itself is a kind of character, with its bazaars and neighborhoods full of sights and sounds.

Simply put, this story sucked me in and kept me immersed in an exotic world of faeries, hobgoblins, imps, firedrakes, and devils. Any book that makes me forget that I'm a Grown-up Who Reviews Books gets high marks from me, and this one managed that feat. Perhaps I'll have to go back and give Dreamdark: Blackbringer another try...

Recommended for all fantasy fans ages 10 to 14.

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