Dreamdark: Blackbringer
by Laini Taylor
Firebird Books
Paperback – 9.99
Genre: YA Fantasy

Blackbringer is a Young Adult fantasy that both takes place in our world . . . and in a hidden land within it. It is about a young fairy and a band of crows who fight devils. Cool, huh? It seems that the stupid humans keep coming across the devils in the bottle prisons, and they keep opening the bottles and setting them free. Kind of as if they were genies. The heroine, Magpie, has an idol who she is trying to live up to: the legendary Bellatrix, who vanished without dying thousands of years before.

It took me a while to get into the story, mostly because of the dialog. Ms. Taylor makes uses of idiosyncracies and invented slang that took me a while to get the rhythm of. Also, I had a hard time connecting to the crows. I kept wanting other fairies to come into the story, which took a while. Eventually I did grow to like the crows, but mostly they blended together.

But once Magpie decides to go to Dreamdark, the faerie forest, things really pick up. The plot absolutely had me guessing from one scene to the next. I never expected most of the events, which is a quality that I love in a book, especially when they all make sense in a sort of “aah!” moment.

Several other faeries become important to the story. Talon is a faerie with stunted wings. He’s also a prince of one of the only warrior-like clans in all of Dreamdark. His inability to fly makes him frustrated, especially when his clan’s territory turns out to be the center of the Blackbringer’s operations. This is definitely a handicap in a society that takes flying for granted. Talon kicks ass. The next book features him on the cover, which makes me think he will have a much larger role. He is a fierce warrior with an interesting talent for a male — knitting. Except, he doesn’t just knit any old sock.

Oh, I haven’t mentioned the Blackbringer. He was one of those pesky devils released by a witless human early in the story. Except he isn’t a devil. Most devils are only slightly more malevolent than a rat, and are called snags. The Blackbringer is a djinn who had a hand in all of creation. Which, of course, makes him able to uncreate as well.

Poppy is another important faery, and she has a unique power as well. She also has unusually wide and beautiful faery wings.

Poppy and Talon are both illustrated, as is Magpie and a few other characters. As with many young adult stories, correspondence is depicted in handwriting. Each chapter heading has a pen-and-ink design.

This was a fun and different read. Other than my difficulty adjusting to the pacing and the dialog in the beginning, I can’t think of any critiques! I definitely recommend it. In upcoming books, I would love to see more interaction between human and faery. I’d also like to see Magpie leave Dreamdark again, especially if she brings her faery friends along with her. The publisher sent along the second book in the series as well as the first, so I expect to be reading it soon. Both are now available.