Retro Friday: Blackbringer by Laini Taylor

Retro Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Angie over at Angieville and focuses on reviewing books from the past. This can be an old favorite, an under-the-radar book you think deserves more attention, something woefully out of print, etc.

Laini Taylor is one of my favorite discoveries this year. I fell in love with both Lips Touch and Daughter of Smoke and Bone when I got to read them. Since the latter is getting a lot of attention from bloggers and readers alike, I thought it would be a good idea to feature her lesser-known Dreamdark novel during Retro Friday.

Here’s the summary from Goodreads:

Magpie Windwitch is not like other faeries, most of whom live in tranquil seclusion. When she learns that escaped devils are creeping back into the world, she travels all over with her faithful clan of crows, hunting them down. The hunt will take her to the great forest of Dreamdark, where she must unravel the mystery of the worst enemy her folk have ever known. Can one small, determined faerie defeat the forces that threaten to unmake the world?

Blackbringer is the first book in the Dreamdark series. Laini Taylor mentions in her website that she initially wanted to write five Dreamdark books but the publisher has decided not to continue with the series. When I found out about that, I rushed to the bookstore to get my own copies of both Blackbringer and Silksinger because I was afraid I would have a hard time looking for copies later on. I had a difficult time getting into Blackbringer at first because it’s different from the other Laini Taylor books that I’ve read but after a couple of chapters, I was hooked and enjoyed reading the whole thing until the end. It’s written for younger audiences, middle grade instead of young adult, and is epic fantasy rather than urban fantasy.

Other faeries are content to live in their own world, enclosed by protective spells that keep away both humans and devils. But Magpie is different, she gets her restless energy from her parents and her grandfather, the West Wind. She travels with her band of crows to fight against devils, just like the champions in the golden days of Dreamdark. Devils are evil creatures who devour and destroy everything they can get their hands on. Magpie is one feisty character and I didn’t have trouble liking her. She’s young for her race, about a hundred years old, but she’s determined to do something for their dying world. Even though I didn’t think the writing in Blackbringer is as beautiful and lyrical as her YA novels, I still think she created an enchanting world in her first Dreamdark novel and I look forward to seeing how she builds upon that. Some things that I liked about her faeries: they belong in different clans and have their own special skills (e.g. one clan tends to plants and trees while another warrior clan is in charge of protecting Dreamdark) and their wings vary too. Some faeries have butterfly or moth wings while Magpie has dragonfly wings. Another thing that I liked is how significant dreams are in this story – dreams play important roles in the events that unfold in this novel. Illustrations by the author’s husband, Jim di Bartolo, also appear in various sections of the book. Here are samples:

I love books with illustrations in them and I think these are beautiful. While the book didn’t end on a cliffhanger, it’s set up in such a way that the reader knows that there’s more to this world. I’m excited for the sequel, Silksinger, especially since I’ve heard that it’s even better than this one. Recommended for those who enjoyed reading R.J. Anderson’s Knife or for fans of faerie books. I’m hoping that because Daughter of Smoke and Bone is getting a lot of attention, more readers will pick up Laini Taylor’s backlist.

Other reviews:
Fantasy Cafe
Charlotte’s Library
The Book Smugglers
Squeaky Books

13 thoughts on “Retro Friday: Blackbringer by Laini Taylor

  1. Yay! Great review, and I’m glad you liked it! I also thought it wasn’t as lyrical as her other books, but there were definitely a few parts that were very beautifully written.

    I can’t wait to see what you think of Silksinger!

    • Well, this is her debut novel, right? So maybe that’s why the writing isn’t that beautiful. I mean I still ended up liking it but I didn’t love it like Daughter of Smoke and Bone or Lips Touch.

      I’ve actually finished reading Silksinger but I haven’t written a review for it yet. I read it after writing this review (this was supposed to go up last Friday but I wasn’t able to go online until past midnight).

    • I really don’t know why the publisher didn’t want to continue with the series! I hope that Laini Taylor gets a new publisher for it but I have a feeling she won’t be able to focus on it in the next few years because of the Daughter of Smoke and Bone books.

  2. oh! i love the photos you took of the illustrations! they are gorgeous.

    i am still uncertain whether this book is for me, but i do know it is undoubtedly an incredible book (if you get what i mean ;))

    • Yes, the illustrations are really beautiful and I’m glad they were included in the novel.

      Nomes, I know exactly what you mean! It might not be the book for you but you still think it’s a good book. I just wanted to read the rest of Laini Taylor’s backlist because I loved her YA books.

  3. Epic fantasy you say? That sounds nice. I’m still sort of noncommittal about this book. I checked it out from the library right after I finished Lips Touch and read a few pages but it just wasn’t the right time. I still definitely want to read it sometime (especially after DoSaB) but I haven’t felt the urgent need to bump it up the TBR yet. I’ll just have to wait for your Silksinger review. 🙂

    • It’s a harder to get into than her YA books but once you get used to the world, it becomes an enjoyable read. I get what you mean that it’s not a must-read-this-NOW book but it’s still in your TBR pile. I’ll work on my Silksinger review and post it next week. 🙂

  4. Pingback: Silksinger by Laini Taylor « Chachic's Book Nook

Comments are like chocolate. :) Maraming salamat / thank you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.