{Review} Faeries of Dreamdark: Blackbringer by Laini Taylor

Dreamdark: Blackbringer by Laini Taylor

Laini Taylor creates a world that sparkles like a lake on a summer afternoon in her 2007 novel for middle grade/early YA readers,  Blackbringer (Faeries of Dreamdark #1).

It’s a diverse world of faeries, a band of crows, imps, Djinns and tattooed warriors beguiling while plunging me into into a fanciful world where legends are,

…meeting life. [Where] every choice casts a shadow, and sometimes those shadows stalk your dreams.

Beautiful, delicate and fierce faerie Magpie Windwitch is the granddaughter of the West Wind who travels with her band of crows across the landscape of their world, Dreamdark,  the forest filled with all creatures bright, fanciful, dangerous and dark.. Cacophonous, her boisterous and funny crow buddies, entertain and protect, love and fight and carry the dreams of all of the creatures in their Dreamdark Forest in their hearts. Magpie comes from dreams, made from their fabric and woven into the tapestry of Dreamdark.

Dark forces gather to eradicate all that is beautiful and free in Dreamdark. Because the setting is fanciful and beautiful, the darkness encroaching upon it folds itself across the pages smothering all that shines with laughter and joy. The Blackbringer lives in a netherworld where the stars are ripped out. And, he’s been set loose to wreak his revenge upon all that is good. She holds her destiny to save her world and those she cherishes as the fuel that powers her actions.

This plot is not complex but the beauty of the language and the philosophy of faith and holding tight to dreams greater than oneself guide you into a land that is like Fantasia put to words. 

Magpie has only an inkling of her own magical power and her ability to defeat the dark forces threatening Dreamdark. A tickling of it flutters from her mind and hands at unexpected moments causing her to wonder about the fabric of her own life and existence. Sitting about a fire with crows and imps sipping wine and trading wind songs and ballads, she begins to wonder about her destiny as she feels the darkness of the Blackbringer closing in to threaten her friends, existence and all she loves.

He’s the Blackbringer… the worst devil there ever was. He was the dark come to life. A contagion of darkness, the hungry one … beast of night with flesh of smoke wearing darkness like a cloak.

Magpie feels the power of her magic, yet knows not where it may lead her or how agile her strength might be. 

Her magic throbs through her veins, giving her life fresh meaning. She’s suddenly flicking from the tips of her fingers glyphs that turn an alluring pseudo-queen into a snarling figure with snakes for hair. So tiny, yet the destiny of the world rests upon her delicate faerie shoulders. There wouldn’t be another savior or another chance as the Blackbringer’s darkness begins to engulf and steal the tranquility and light that is Dreamdark.

Blackbringer’s darkness lives in him,

…endless tossing ocean dreams [that] might have been a companion. Instead, every moment of every millennia had passed waking and dreamless in the company of two entities: his hunger and his vengeance. And, having nothing else to play with, he had nurtured them with singular devotion.

Within the world of Dreamdark, a metaphorical mirror awaits the reader.

The artistry held within these pages pulled me into looking deeper within myself. Experiences lace themselves into the being of the fanciful creatures who fight for the life of their world. I understood Magpie’s wonder and surprise as she marveled at the,

…fabric of all creation…  it’s woven of all dreams, the dreams of the Djinn. Dreams are real… They’re seed and water and sun.

Label the world of Dreamdark as you will. It’s the truth found in the beauty of the language and the power of the story. The battle to save Magpie’s world metaphorically lies within each of us as we struggle to find our own magic and power. It resonates in our hearts and sets us upon our own contemplation of meaning beyond everyday existence. The battle to save Magpie’s world lies within each of us as we reach to find our own magic and power resonating in our hearts and sending us out on our own adventures. This is the transcendent elegance and message in Magpie’s journey of salvation.

Within the pages lie gems of intricate beauty.

Found within the pages are beautiful pen and ink illustrations by Jim Di Bartolo (Laini’s husband). They’re detailed and intricate. It’s easy to immerse yourself in the beauty of words artistically blended to inspire the pen to create visual art as well. Pen and ink illustrations appear like gifts wrapped and waiting for discovery. I immersed myself in the beauty of the words. I lost myself in the drawings beautifully blended into the pages as lovely visions of lyrical force.

Interior Illustration

The best way to state the thoughtful and lovely quality of the book comes from Magpie’s mind as she contemplates what makes the impossible possible,

Love. She’d always thought of love as… affection, the look that passed often between her parents or the feel of their arms around her. But wasn’t it this too, the core of iron in someone’s soul that made them capable of impossible things? it seemed a terrifying force.

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