High Fantasy

Review: Blackbringer

Faeries of Dreamdark: Blackbringer book cover
Image from Fantasy Book Critic

Title: Blackbringer

Series: Dreamdark #1

Author: Laini Taylor

Genre: High Fantasy

Back Cover:

While most faeries spend their days in oblivious tranquility, Magpie Windwitch is all that stands in the way of the devils that escape into the world. But when the ancient evil of the Blackbringer is unleashed, Magpie may be in over her head. This hunt will take her back to the forest of Dreamdark, a place of legends and Djinn, cunning imps and tattooed warriors, new friends and new enemies. Magpie must unravel the mystery of the greatest threat her folk have ever known and defeat the impenetrable darkness that threatens to unmake the world.


I loved Blackbringer as a kid – so much that I checked out two other books with it, but instead of reading the two other books, I read Blackbringer three times.  To ten-year-old me, this book had it all – action, humor, magic, a kick-butt heroine, a thoroughly evil and seemingly undefeatable baddie, talking animals, a hint of romance…I picked it up on a whim, to see if it’s as great as I remembered.

The short answer: Heck yes!

I’m going to try and make this review as sparse as possible, because half the fun of the story is discovering everything for yourself.

Magpie (the kick-butt heroine) was just that – a fantastic kick-butt heroine.  As the only faerie who hunts devils, she’d had a lot of adventures and knew a bunch of fun skills (both physical and magical).  And the whole adventuring thing was so normal for her, I loved it when other faeries’ jaws dropped over something or other.  She had a stubborn streak and could be short with people, but I just loved her.

Talon was also a fun character – not quite as fun as Magpie, mind you, but still fun.  His life wasn’t as adventuresome as Magpie’s, but he had some special talents of his own, and I enjoyed watching him join Magpie’s quest to defeat the Blackbringer.  He wasn’t frequently a point-of-view character, but I’m hoping to see more of him in the future.

Magpie and Talon were the main characters, but there were so many other, only-slightly-less-main characters that I also loved.  Poppy, Snoshi, the crows, Vesper (great secondary villain)…if I listed them all, this review would be huge.

Plot…well, for me at least, plot took backseat to how much I loved the characters.  That’s probably because this is a reread, though, and I knew how it would end.  I don’t want to say much, for fear of giving too much away (it isn’t until about halfway through the book that you discover exactly who/what the Blackbringer is), but I will say that there’s plenty of tension and will-the-good-guys-win? moments – enough to keep your attention on the very slim chance the super-fun characters don’t hold your attention.

One of the main things that made this story so fascinating was the setting – more specifically, the faerie culture.  If you asked me, I couldn’t tell you exactly what made it so unique.  But the whole culture seemed both very similar and utterly foreign at the same time.

The system of faerie magic was so well-thought-out and unique.  There were still the standard spells and potions, but their main source of magic was glyphs – special, sometimes intricate symbols that could be held in the mind and combined with other glyphs to do any number of things.  I loved it mainly because it sounded so simple and was so different than most other magic systems.

In case you can’t tell from me repeating the word all over the place – this book was a super-fun, magical adventure.  I just recently learned that there’s a sequel out, Silksinger, which I fully intend to read as soon as I can get my hands on it.

The Dreamdark series:

  1. Blackbringer
  2. Silksinger

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