Faeries of Dreamdark: Blackbringer by Laini Taylor
|Faeries of Dreamdark: Blackbringer by Laini Taylor|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: A faerie must discover the truth of her destiny, and indeed her very origins, to conquer a particularly nasty devil. The origins of the story are in a very rich and fresh mythology, but its destiny is to remain obscure.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 437||Date: May 2009|
|Publisher: Putnam Publishing Group|
Curse those human creatures. Not only have they encroached on faerie territory with all their cities and deforestation, they are now intent on sailing the world's oceans, uncorking plugged bottles they might find, and only because one – just one – time, someone found something inside that granted him three wishes.
What they find, on the whole, is a devil. And it's down to the faerie Magpie Windwitch and her company of crows to then put things to rights. However someone has let out a right nasty – one that's powerful enough to leave none of the telltale traces. It's a bizarre element of the world that such things exist – the world that was, after all, brought to life by a set of seven Djinns. Magpie must go back to Dreamdark, her home city, for the first time in a long while, and find just what the truth about things are, in order to solve the problem caused by the Blackbringer.
There is more in the city that is perplexing, as well, from the young guard Talon, to someone claiming to be Bellatrix, a fabled warrior. Oh, and Magpie seems to have somewhat hidden talents of a most unusual kind.
It was a pity to me that with a very rich mythology brought to the book in quite a heavy layer that it wasn't just Magpie's talents that were hidden. To actually get the gist of the story to come out and be openly revealed took a bit too much laborious working out. I needed a clearer 'in' to the world, and to whether the various creatures – the Djinns, the imp Batch, and the rest – were on the whole expected to be goodies or baddies.
Beyond the mythology there is the language used. No-one says no, it's neh, but that's the easiest adaptation to make. The book launches into dialogue with slang, and the words purloined in this world as cusses (jacksmoke, skive, what the skiffle? – flotched if I know!) are unusual, to say the least. I don't mind a bit of novelty and a minor challenge, but I think this book is dressed as a fantasy for the confident reading audience, say the eight year old and above, and the grammar constructed for this world is one of the things that means in that regard, it is a failure.
Reading it as a fantasy book for the teens and adults then, there are successes within these pages. There is a nice spread of locales, such as the more bizarre habitations of the faerie world, a poisoned forest, the afterlife, and some meaty scenes – death and destruction in front of sigil-bearing doors in underground havens – but again there was a layer between me and the story that was hiding what was going on. I never did get a fully clear picture of many of the scenes.
More frustrating for me was the sense that the action would just pick up to something grander, then pull back. With the mysterious past having to bear on the present of this tale this might be understandable, but I wanted a further impetus to the story.
To the reader who can work their way through what is definitely an inventive mythology and world-setting, there is a brisk read, and a large sense of the unknown boiling under that will have huge ramifications for some nicely novel characters. I don't think they would go much beyond giving this book the three and a half stars we at the Bookbag have duly done however, and for me that sense of the unknown remained too large.
We would like to thank Putnam for sending us a review copy.
There is flying fantasy that soars further, again with characters with a duty unknown to them, in Firestorm (Dragon Orb) by Mark Robson.
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