Monday, October 26, 2009

Dreamdark: Silksinger by Laini Taylor

Whisper Silksinger is a faery, a weaver of flying carpets. But her family is also something more: the guardian of a djinn named Azazel, who has gone to sleep inside an ember that is kept in the family. But the devils, led by one called Ethiag, fear the return of the djinn, for they are fated to reweave the tapestry of existence, or, in other words, the entire world.

When her family is attacked, Whisper and her grandparents are the only ones left of the Silksinger family. Most of them are thought to be dead, but they have gone into hiding to protect the ember. Whisper is the last of the Silksingers, and one of the most powerful in ages, perhaps ever. But her grandparents die to take out the devils who are chasing them, leaving her alone in the world. Her only treasure is the ember, which she holds in a teapot.

Hirik is a young faerie working as a general worker on a caravan, but he, too, has hidden depths. For he is of clan Mothmage, once champions of Azazel, but charged with betraying him and banished from Faery society. His clan knows the time for the return of the djinn is near, and Hirik hopes to erase the stain from his clan's name by becoming Champion to the Djinn once more.

He meets Whisper when she steals away in the caravan he is working, and while he has seen her in the divinatory smoke of a smoke weaver, he cannot know why she will become so important to him. But when she is discovered, he protects her and trades his clan's greatest treasure, a scale of the last dragon to exist, known as Fade, for money, her passage, clothes for her and food. She finds it hard to trust him, but his continuing care of her brings him her trust. But when the secret of who she is comes out, the caravan protects her, but when Hirik's secret is exposed, they drive him out. Remembering the promise he made to her to see her safely to the city, he trails after the caravan.

But once she gets to the city, she is abducted by Ethiag, and forced to weave a carpet to bear him through the skies. Also in the dungeon are the firedrakes that once belonged to Azazel, now imprisoned by Dusk, the same faery who betrayed Azazel long ago and let the Mothmage clan take the blame for what he did.

Hirik's only allies are a group of crows led by a faery woman named Magpie, who is seeking the other sleeping djinn to awaken them for the coming reweaving of the world. But can they rescue Whisper before she is forced into evil by Ethiag, and before he can kill Azazel to prevent the reweaving? For Ethiag wants everything, including whisper and the entire world, and he can't be killed because he will similarly terrorize the afterlife. So how can they deal with Ethiag permanently without killing him? And can Dusk be brought to justice as well?

This is the second book in the series, but I found myself liking it. I was grabbed by Whisper's story and character right away, and also by her plight. She starts off as very innocent and sheltered, but by the end of the story has made her own destiny and disposed of a great foe, all by herself. Hirik, too, grows up a great deal. He starts off wanting to clear his clan's name, but by confronting adversity and helping rescue Whisper, he becomes more than just a boy/young man with a dream.

I also liked the worldbuilding in the story, and how the Moongarden, the faeries version of the afterlife, was a real place that Magpie could visit. Not having read the first book, I wasn't sure if she was being set up to be an ally of Whisper or an enemy. I didn't realize that she was the heroine of the first book and was going to be an ally. The story was very efficient at eliminating one enemy (Ethiag) and substituting another (Dusk). And you don't get a hint of who the real villain actually is until nearly the last half of the book. and it's a deliberate reveal.

I really liked this book, and I can't wait to read more. The story was very engrossing and enjoyable, with characters that sucked you right into the story and kept you there.I'm going to have to track down a copy of the first book and read that one while waiting for another. It's just that good. Highly recommended.

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