By Carrie R. Wheadon,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Exciting faerie series with a fantastic tomboy heroine.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
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 & Scariness
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).
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
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.
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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.
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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.
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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?
Magpie is a fantastic heroine -- the ultimate scrappy tomboy, resourceful, brave, and kind of quirky. The intro to the series bogs down occasionally with detail in this richly envisioned faerie world (complete with art from the author), but the writing is so engaging readers will hardly notice. 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.
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. The second 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.
Talk to Your Kids 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?
- Author: Laini Taylor
- Illustrator: Laini Taylor
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Firebird
- Publication date: June 21, 2007
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 10 - 14
- Number of pages: 437
- Last updated: July 12, 2017
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