Friday, 3 April 2015

Dreamdark book 1 - Blackbringer

My second book for Carl's Once Upon A Time IX is Blackbringer, book 1 of the Dreamdark series by Laini Taylor.




Magpie Windwitch is the grand-daughter of the West Wind and a female Faerie. This makes her different to other faeries. Along with her parents she is able to hunt down and dispose of escaped devils or 'snags' as she calls them. More devils are escaping these days as humans keep freeing them from their prison containers... bottles, flasks etc. She's kept very busy travelling the world, doing her work, with her clan of crow companions.

The discovery of an abandoned fishing vessel causes unease in Magpie. She senses an unusual devil is behind the disappearance of the fishermen. She returns to the place of her birth, Dreamdark, in Scotland, a huge area of land that includes forests and mountains which is cut off from the outside world by an impenetrable hedge. Here she finds long lost friends, new friends and a new queen that she makes an instant enemy of. But she's not here to see them, she's here to find the Magruwen, the leader of the seven Djinns who made the world and may have originally imprisoned the marauding devil she now seeks. He may have information that can help her. The Magruwen's been lost for many thousands of years but even if she does find him Magpie is certain he won't want to help capture a devil who's a danger to the whole world. Regardless of that, Magpie knows she must succeed in her deadly mission or risk losing everything.

I'll be honest, I'm not a huge fairy story fan. When I picked this Young Adult book at random from the library shelves I was initially attracted by the gorgeous cover (it's by Jim Di Bartolo). I wasn't really expecting the blurb on the back to sound interesting enough to make me want to take it home. But, against all expectations, it did. And I'm really glad about that. Blackbringer turned out to be one of those pleasant little surprises you get from time to time when a book surpasses your expectations.

I would call this book charming. And yet the faeries in it are not actually charming in themselves. They're gritty little characters, fiesty and determined, ready to kill if need be. Just like us they're petty, resentful, bullying, violent... but also resourceful, brave and kind.

The author has created an interesting world with all the key ingredients you would expect from a fairy tale... magic, spells, potions, strange little imps, devils, djinns, talking crows. All this you would expect and might think the book would be a bit run-of-the-mill and predictable. To be honest I'm not sure why it wasn't and what it was about the book I liked so much. I'm normally impatient with books that have what I consider to be slightly dodgy Americanised British (in this case 'Scottish') accents. But not even that put me off. I think it was simply that it was different enough and charming enough for me to enjoy it. Plus, I really liked Magpie Windwitch who wasn't a pretty little faerie, but a tom-boy girl who enjoyed an exciting life and didn't fuss over her appearance. She was refreshingly different and I liked the fact that the author did this with a female character as it's usually the boys who get all the exciting roles in books. Nice job.

There's only one sad thing about this and that is that there are only two books. Blackbringer was Laini Taylor's first book. She wrote one more in the series, Silksinger, and then went on to write another series called The Daughter of Smoke and Bone. So I assume no more Dreamdark books. What a shame, as it really is an enchanting world she created.

~~~oOo~~~

10 comments:

DesLily said...

yes, I did almost get this once! But I don't think I'm interesed at the moment. I seem to remember a few series that just got dropped like that.. of course she might go back to it, just needed a break to think of "what next" for the series.

And more then likely the reason I might have almost bought it would be the cover also LOL

Cath said...

Another case of Great Minds Think Alike as we both loved that cover. Yeah, I'm kind of hoping she might return to it. Stranger things have happened. Maybe I should pester her on Goodreads as she's a Goodreads author I think. lol!

BookPlease said...

I like the cover too - it would make me look at the book - and your post has me wondering if I'd like it.

Cath said...

Margaret: It's one of the nicest fantasy book covers I've seen in a long time. I think it would be hard to really dislike the book to be honest.

Darren @ Bart's Bookshelf said...

It's odd, I'm terrible at finishing series these days, so it shouldn't bother me when it looks like it might not be finished anyway, but...

Do like the cover though and if I didn't know otherwise, i'd probably be giving it a go, because I do like her Daughter of Smoke and Bone series.

Cath said...

Darren: I'm not too good at finishing series either. Often I'll read 3 or 4 of the books and then lose interest.

I'll have to try her Daughter of Smoke and Bone books if I see them.

Jeane said...

I am very hesitant to pick up YA books anymore, because somehow most of them just don't appeal to me now. But on the strength of your recommendation, I might give this one a try. Once in a while there's one that has that extra quality that enthralls me.

Cath said...

Jeane: I know exactly what you mean about YA books, especially the fantasy and horror ones which have become rather samey to my mind. That's precisely why I was reluctant to borrow this from the library but somehow it sounded different and it turned out to be quiet a good read.

Debi said...

You've certainly left me intrigued. I'm generally not one to search out fairy stories either, but something about the way you described this makes it sound like I might rather enjoy it. (That cover most definitely would have me pick it up to take a look!)

Cath said...

Debi: I especially am not keen on retold fairy stories. Possibly because I know what's going to happen? I'm not sure. This was totally different to that though and a jolly good story. I know... that cover is amazing.