A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What 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?
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