The world of Dreamdark: Blackbringer by Laini Taylor was such a vibrant telling of faerie lore that I wished I’d stumbled across it when I was younger, and truly believed that if I looked hard enough I would catch traces of their world tucked away within our own. It’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy this book as an adult, it’s just it was so full of wonder and whimsy, and so fully realized that I thought fondly of my 10 year old self who would have keeled over at the thought of a faerie novel so richly wrought.
Blackbringer is about a young faerie, Magpie Windwitch, who travels the earth with a murder of crows (who moonlight as a theater troupe) to collect her peoples’ lore, which is rapidly disappearing, while fighting off demons that are leaching in to the world. Taylor’s faeries are tiny, with butterfly and dragonfly wings, not sinister like the fae in Melissa Marr’s books, reminding me more of hobbits in terms of their demeanor and priorities. An insular culture keeps them isolated from other creatures and while they can get caught up in petty squables, its their ignorance at larger problems that leads them to the brink of doom, when they refuse to believe that a greater demon, the Blackbringer, is back wreaking havoc like the Nothing from The Neverending Story.
Taylor’s descriptions are poetic and engrossing. I fell in love with the crows, who are somewhat like foster brothers to Magpie. A true individual, she is an outsider and a bit rough around the edges for a faerie. She sees nature in a unique light, and takes on an impossible destiny because she is the only one willing to give it a fight. Magpie is the wildchild I always wanted to be like as a young girl, holding her self-worth like a prize close to her chest.
I usually don’t agree that one should be a different age to enjoy a book. I mean this a blog where a 26 year old and a 28 year old review mostly YA novels and shout their praises to the world, but when I do find a book that reminds me so much of the wistful, girl I was years ago, it’s hard not to think about what could have been if I’d been exposed to such wonderful storytelling then.
Which brings me to the question: are there just more good books published under the YA category then there were 15 years ago? Or was I simply not looking hard enough for those diamonds in the rough? There are certain books I read now that I am able to fully enjoy in the present, and then there are those I come across, like Blackbringer that elicits something inside me that makes me wish I could travel back in time and hide this book in my childhood bedroom to spark wonder and delight.