Dreamdark Series

 
Exciting faerie series with a fantastic tomboy heroine.

What parents need to know

Educational value
Not applicable
Positive messages

Magpie has to show the Djinn in the first book that the world is worth saving. The second book finds characters striving for redemption and acceptance and shows the power of prejudice and how hard it is to overcome. As with all faerie stories, there's great reverence paid to nature and preserving the environment.

Positive role models

Girls rule here -- a faerie sprout becomes the first Djinn champion in centuries. Whisper may seem meek, but she wields great power in her voice and finds her own strength. Friendships are solid and especially touching -- most notably, Magpie's kinship with the crows. Hirik must overcome prejudice to become the champion he longs to be.

Violence

Refreshingly the faeries try to capture devils, not kill them. Still, there are plenty of fantasy battles between faeries, devils, and other creatures; some upsetting deaths -- family members and close friends of main characters. The Blackbringer in the first book envelops victims in darkness, pulling its victims into its abyss. Devil blood is shed in Silksinger and the battles are a little more intense. Mention of an evil faerie having disemboweled a victim to make a magical charm. Fantasy animals held captive and bled. A main character is held down and mutilated (magic makes him whole again).

Sex

Mild flirtations (blushing, blown kisses) between Magpie and Talon, then Whisper and Hirik. In Silksinger faeries in the town of Nazneen use the old Djinn temple as a make-out spot, much to Whisper's horror. Hirik must give an old fortuneteller a sloppy kiss as payment.

Language

Plenty that's meant to be faerie cursing ("skive," "plague," etc.), mostly spoken by Magpie and the crows; it sounds more quaint and playful than anything.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

The crows smoke regularly. A mention of wine drunk. A caravan drinks a strong liquor appropriately called Throatfire that Hirik is offered, then spits out.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this faerie series has fantasy violence that includes battles between faeries and creatures called devils, but, refreshingly, the faeries try to capture the devils, not kill them. In the first book a rather menacing devil called a Blackbringer sucks victims into an abyss. In Silksinger, a character is mutilated but later restored to his former self. There are some sad deaths, but because the main character can visit the Moonlit Gardens (faerie heaven), the characters are never really gone. Girls rule here, and young Magpie at the center of the series is a fierce, brave warrior who is also a great friend to her band of crows. Crows smoke frequently, and there's some swearing in faerie dialect that sounds quaint rather than crass.

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What's the story?

This series centers on the world of faeries at an age when "mannies" are plentiful and faerie civilization is on the decline. All seven Djinn who created the world (all but the mannies), in a deep sleep hidden throughout the world, are allowing the decline to continue. That is until a faerie sprout named Magpie Windwitch, who for years had been on devil-capturing quests with a gaggle of crows, decides to wake the Djinn King in order to stop a powerful devil named the Blackbringer from taking over her native Dreamdark. She must convince him that faeries are worth saving before she can conquer the devil and find the other Djinn.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Dreamdark: Blackbringer

This intro to the series bogs down ocassionally with detail in this
richly envisioned faerie world (complete with art from the author), but
the writing is so engaging readers will hardly notice. Magpie is a
fantastic heroine -- the ultimate scrappy tomboy, resourceful, brave,
and kind of quirky. Once the action ramps up and the true nature of the
hiddeous Blackbringer is established, readers will be racing to finish
and start the next one.

Dreamdark: Silksinger

Whisper, a faerie who can weave silk with her voice, is escaping devils
with a Djinn asleep in a lowly tea kettle. She tries to find passage
across the mountains to safety and meets the champion Hirik, a brave
but secret-laden faerie also after the Djinn, and redemption for his
clan. This installment is even more action-packed, with more devils to
fight and more characters to root for. Also, heroism and strength come
from unexpected places.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about great knee-high-to-a-grasshopper heroes and heroines. Like Magpie here, and Frodo in The Lord of the Rings. What makes someone heroic?

  • Families can also talk about how these faeries are different from the pink, tutu-frilly fairies. Why do you think there is so much variation to the myth? Which faeries do you prefer?

Book details

Author:Laini Taylor
Illustrator:Laini Taylor
Genre:Fantasy
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Firebird
Publication date:June 21, 2007
Number of pages:437
Publisher's recommended age(s):10 - 14
Read aloud:11
Read alone:11

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 12 years old July 12, 2010
age 12+
 
An enchanting read, Magpie, the crows, and Talon will have readers speeding through the pages. A book which starts with action and ends hanging it will have readers dying to read the sequel.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 14 years old Written by14ceknight May 7, 2010
age 12+
 
Read the book and it is a good book for kids 12 and up for thous how love action and fanctey, it is good for both boys and girls.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models

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