Dark Angels by Katherine Langrish

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Dark Angels by Katherine Langrish

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Evocative supernatural historical fantasy with a flavour of Alan Garner. It's beautifully written and Bookbag would like more about these characters, please.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 336 Date: May 2009
Publisher: Harper Collins
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 0007214898

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Wolf has run away from the monastery where he grew up - away from the cold and the prayers and the constant stifling routine, but most of all away from Brother Thomas and his beatings. Charmed by songs of the crusades, Wolf yearns for glory and glamour. He'd like nothing more than to be squire to a knight. So this is how he comes to be up on Devil's Edge in the middle of the night, and this is how he comes across an elf child, and this is how he comes across Sir Hugo, and this is how he finds himself at Sir Hugo's castle, one step closer to achieving his dream...

... if only he could teach the elf how to talk.

Nest is Sir Hugo's daughter. She was betrothed when she was just five years old, and her wedding day is approaching. It's not what Nest wants. She wants to do good works, to travel, to achieve something. But the times aren't right for feisty women and destiny and duty beckons remorselessly. Nest too, sees a chance in the elf; a chance to do something worthwhile with her life...

... if only the wedding wasn't so close.

I was bereft when Katherine Langrish's Troll trilogy came to an end. She had created a wonderful and slightly superatural fantasy world that absorbed me completely. Here, she's moved on a few hundred years to the time of Richard the Lionheart and her background is the wild borderlands between England and Wales, where a clash of Celtic and Norman culture provides all sorts of fertile ground for fiction. And once again, it's utterly credible and completely absorbing.

The feel is the same. We have engaging central characters with recognisable hopes and desires, but they aren't at all anachronistic. Wolf is impetuous and impatient, and he must learn to curb his reactions if he's to achieve his dreams. Nest is quiet and thoughtful, but she needs courage and daring if she is to achieve hers. There's a similar swirl of the supernatural too - Hugo's castle has its very own ghost and there's a hearth hob too, something I was very happy to see Langrish transplant from the Troll trilogy.

It's beautifully written in evocative but accessible prose with bright and lively dialogue, real emotions, hopes, fears and dreams, and a goodly dollop of magic and mystery. Langrish fans are not going to be disappointed. Dark Angels comes highly recommended to all fans of supernatural fantasy and historical fiction aged from the late primary to mid-secondary years. And grown-ups like me.

My thanks to the nice people at Harper Collins for sending the book.

Fans of historical fiction with a supernatural twist shouldn't miss Michelle Paver's Chronicles of Ancient Darkness, set much further in the past. Gatty's Tale by Kevin Crossley-Holland is also set at the times of the Crusades and is as vivid. If it's elves they're after, Cold Tom by Sally Prue is a stunningly beautiful book.

Booklists.jpg Dark Angels by Katherine Langrish is in the Bookbag's Christmas Gift Recommendations 2009.
Buy Dark Angels by Katherine Langrish at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Dark Angels by Katherine Langrish at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Dark Angels by Katherine Langrish at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Dark Angels by Katherine Langrish at Amazon.com.


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Lucy Beadle said:

I've heard talk of this one recently, was dithering about whether or not to grab it but I think this review has helped push me towards it! I'm going shopping to Westfield this saturday with the girls so can't wait to pick it up.

I'm also embarassed to admit I had to look up the meaning of 'bereft'!!

Thanks to Jill and Book Bag for another great review.

Lucy


Lucy Beadle said:

An update if I can!

Thanks Jill, great recommendation bought it on saturday and finished it already!! Really good read I give it 4.5 stars!!

Have a great week :)

Lucy