Title: Silksinger (Dreamdark #2)
Author: Laini Taylor
WARNING: This book is the second in a series, and will probably include spoilers of the previous book, Blackbringer. I recommend not reading this review unless you’ve read the first book.
Whisper Silksinger is no warrior. She’s a weaver of flying carpets. The last of her clan, Whisper has nothing but a teakettle and the ember inside. This ember – all that is left of the Azazel, one of the seven Djinn who made the world – must be protected at all costs. Fleeing the devils chasing her, Whisper joins a caravan and finds herself drawn to Hirik, a mercenary and caravan guard who carries dangerous secrets of his own. And in their wake follows Magpie Windwitch, determined to find Whisper before the devils do. For if the Azazel dies, all of creation will die with him…
Once I discovered that there was a sequel to the completely awesome Blackbringer, I couldn’t wait to read it. I didn’t even bother to read what it was about until I got it. But when I did, I got a little worried – it seemed like the plot would focus more on this Whisper person and Magpie would be an afterthought.
I shouldn’t have worried, though.
For starters, I loved Whisper. She was the complete opposite of Magpie – quiet and timid and gentle and not good at fighting. And normally, I wouldn’t go for that kind of character. But she had her own, different strengths, and somehow, I liked her anyway.
Magpie was still a major part of the story. In fact, I’d say there were more chapters focusing on her than on Whisper and Hirik. And she was the exact same Magpie I enjoyed so much in the first book – brave, stubborn, and not very good at giving up. I absolutely loved following her around for a second book.
Hirik is a more difficult character to discuss. His secret is so huge – and kept a secret for so long – that it feels like he doesn’t start being actually Hirik until it’s revealed. What I’m trying to say is, he goes to such lengths to hide his secret that it kind of hides his personality, too. And since his secret isn’t revealed until late in the book – and after that, he spends a lot of time unconscious – it doesn’t seem like he had enough book to be developed in. If there’s a third Dreamdark book, though, I’d love to see more of him.
I had hoped to see more of Talon, but I think there was less of him in Silksinger than there was in the previous book. For most of the story, he was just there, tagging along with Magpie. In fact, the only time I recall him actually doing something was when he didn’t trust Dusk the apothecary. It’s unfortunate, really, because I enjoyed him in Blackbringer and hoped his character would be more developed in this book.
There were pretty much two basic plots – Magpie’s find-Whisper-before-the-devils, with a more sinister underlying villain who doesn’t get discovered until about halfway though, and Whisper’s protect-the-Azazel. But even though neither of the plots were complicated, they certainly seemed that way. I think it had something to do with the characters. There were a bunch of different narrating characters, and each character’s narration acted like a plot thread, needing woven back into the story at some point.
Silksinger was all third person, so the different characters’ narration wasn’t drastic, but I think every major character – except Talon – got some page time. Whisper, Magpie, and Hirik all had major parts of the story, and even a devil and Dusk the apothecary did some narrating. It wasn’t confusing, and Laini Taylor managed to pull it off quite well, I think because some of it seemed more plot-related than character-related.
This book was set almost exclusively in the Sayash Mountains, and I loved the change of scenery. The Sayash Mountains had a more exotic feel, with caravans and bazaars and other random things that had a feel somewhere between desert and Oriental. I enjoyed Dreamdark and the surrounding area in Blackbringer, but it was so much fun to see a new faerie lands.
Honestly, once I finished Silksinger, I felt a little cheated. The book wrapped up well on its own, but it also started so many new plot threads that it left dangling – too much to even fill in with imagination. After the ending, I think Laini Taylor has to write a third Dreamdark book at some point, because it’s cruel to start a whole new plot thread and then not write a book to wrap it up.