I have to first tell you how much I love this book. Richly detailed and with characters that are simply fascinating, I was enthralled from the first page on. It has been a long time since I have found a fantasy that I love everything about. Laini Taylor's Blackbringer is one of the few.
Never Nigh is the greatest city of the Faeries, buried deep in Dreamdark and surrounded by a network of ancient protective spells that keep evil out. But the Golden Age of the Faeries is long gone. Those ancient spells still hold but the faeries inside have forgotten the magic that wove them and waiting in the dark is an evil that they have forgot as well.
Long ago the devils were captured and trapped into bottles. Humans came along and the faeries retreated into their protected places, spending more time dancing instead of practicing their spells. The devils were forgotten, until the humans began to open the bottles.
Magpie Windwitch travels the wide world with a flock of crows hunting devils – a big job for what the Crows call such a small ‘sprout.’ But Magpie enjoys it and not only that she is good at what she does. More than a little bit of a tomboy, Magpie has grown up with the crows, collecting magic before it fades and is forgotten, recording the details in a book to share with her parents, who are out collecting spells themselves.
Then Magpie finds a bottle that is unlike all the others she has come across. Something different has been let back into the world – something that leaves nothing behind except hunger and darkness. From the catacombs under Rome to the magic of Dreamdark, Magpie follows this evil knowing she is the only one who can stop it.
Wonderful images are brought to mind as we are introduced to cheroot smoking crows, a rat-like imp longing to fly, a beautiful faerie city glittering in the morning light, and the whirling tattoos that cover a faerie’s pointed face. The crows, I have to admit, were my favorite.
Geared towards a younger audience (ages 9-12), Blackbringer is worthy of the adult mind as well. There is a hint of romance but nothing more than a few looks and light flirtation, and a few of the devils are pretty nasty but nothing too over the top. This is great adventure fantasy no matter what age you are.