Sunday, December 02, 2007


Magpie, granddaughter of the West Wind, is born of dreams. When Humans—"mannies"—start letting loose devils in the world, faerie Magpie and her band of rough-and-tumble, cheroot-smoking crows must start hunting them down. The tale takes its time in unfolding, with lovely echoes of its literary antecedents from Tolkien on down. Magpie also learns it is she who must keep the dark from swallowing the world. She finds where the dragons, and her ancient heroine, Bellatrix, have gone, and she wakes an ancient djinni.The tapestry of the world needs reweaving, and a blond, tattooed princeling needs a way to remake his malformed wings. This all braids together into a radiant conclusion. ~DeCandido, GraceAnne A. Copyright © American Library Association.

I first heard of Laini Taylor upon reading Shannon Hale's interview with her. I enjoy reading Taylor's blog and especially like her site "Not for Robots" about how to write a book.

I decided to give her book a go since I've heard such great things about it. I wasn't disappointed. I was hesitant to read it even after I'd picked in up at the library because the description sounded significantly out of my comfort zone. A fairy who hunts devils? Hmm. I liked Shannon Hale's fantasies because the fantasy element was small. And sure, I like Tolkein but for whatever reason I've always preferred books about humans rather than elves, trolls, or what have you.

I was surprised to find this book mesmerizing. Taylor says that she is a perfectionist on the Not for Robots site and I appreciated that in the vivid details of this rich, imagined world. The dialogue is in "punked-out pseudo-Gaelic" as one reviewer termed it, and it's fabulous. The setting made me sigh and wish I were nine again so I could sit on the banks of the brook by my old home and dream such things as I used to. (I begin to wonder if I could write fantasy? I've always wanted to write books that my children would love and they seem to like fantasy the best.) The good characters are likable and interesting and the villains various and sundry, though one is by far the most dangerous and evil. There is a lot of great mystery, action, and suspense. There are tantalizing glimpses here and there of Magpie's past spent traveling around the world with her archaeologist parents who seek to discover more about the power and intelligence of the glorious faerie past. I'd like a prequel.

The book even brings up some interesting topics for contemplation like the relationship between the creator and his creations, how our actions influence the tapestry of life, destiny and fore ordination, and the afterlife. At least, those were some things I pondered while reading this book.

Best line of the book: "She decided finally that it's not so bad to find out you have a destiny when it's something you were going to do anyway."


Julie said...

Thanks for the review! I think I'll check this one out.

Gabriela said...

Sounds interesting-I'm not into fantasy, but it sounds like it deals with topics I enjoy thinking about.