The past few weeks we've been discussing heavy issues like racism, bullying, and human trafficking and how to deal with those into our stories. This week, to give us a bit of a breather, I'm going to be reviewing one of my favorite fantasy books of all time, Blackbringer. Enjoy!
Author: Laini Taylor
Page Count: 448 pages
Stars: 5 of 5
- 5 = An amazingly well-crafted story. Definitely one of my all-time favorites.
Teaser: When the ancient evil of the Blackbringer rises to unmake the world, only one determined faerie stands in its way. However, Magpie Windwitch, graddaughter of the West Wind, is not like other faeries. While her kind live in seclusion deep in the forests of Dreamdark, she's devoted her life to tracking down and recapturing devils escaped from their ancient bottles, just as her hero, the legendary Bellatrix, did 25,000 years ago. With her faithful gang of crows, she travels the world fighting where others would choose to flee. But when a devil escapes from a bottle sealed by the ancient Djinn King himself, she may be in over her head. How can a single faerie, even with the help of her friends, hope to defeat the impenetrable darkness of the Blackbringer?
Age level: Pre-teens and up (12+)
Violence: 2 of 5
- 2 = PG-level violence that is significant in the story (other than one rather gruesome description of a devil, the violence is not severe)
Romance: 0 of 5
Language: 1 of 5
- 1 = replacement swear words/made-up swear words
Christian worldview: The world in Blackbringer is "created" by several djinn, who at the time of the story have little or no involvement in the world. Obviously, this is a different view of creation than the Christian perspective. However, the djinn are not worshiped as God but seem to be reminiscent of Tolkien's Valar. As such, I didn't feel that the story significantly contradicted a Christian perspective. (Also, the story had an afterlife which I can't tell too much about to avoid spoilers. It wasn't a Christian view of heaven--God wasn't there--but it cohered with the rest of the fantasy world and as such didn't bother me.)
My thoughts: I picked this book up in the library for the first time over six years ago and fell completely in love. This is a flawless stand-alone fantasy book suitable for a wide audience. (Blackbringer does have a sequel, Silkslinger, which is very imaginative and sweet with a bit of romance in it. I don't like it quite as much, though, because it doesn't have the same grandeur or darkness that this book has in it.)
Anyway, back to Blackbringer: it's got a spunky main character who is very tough and brave, with relatable strengths and weaknesses. The various side characters have fully developed personalities that are quite enjoyable and make me want to cheer them on. Plus, who can't love a story with diminutive faeries with wings?!
The setting is fantastic, too. The interaction between the human world and the faerie world is fascinating. Taylor's descriptions are quite vivid and easy to visualize. Oh, and did I mention that the author included beautiful illustrations of the main characters? It's totally fantastic.
But most of all, what I love about the story is that the villain is truly one of the best-crafted villains I've read. Scary, ominous, mysterious, dark, surprising...all of that and more. There are even a few "minor" villains scattered throughout to keep up the tension. The conclusion is dramatic and everything it should be. Really, I couldn't ask for a better story.
Comments, anyone? Have you read Blackbringer before? Or do you have any book recommendations for me?