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Dreamdark's Silksinger: an excellent read
by staff writer, 2009.12.03
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We received a review copy of Laini Taylor's Silksinger earlier this year from its publisher, along with the first book in the series, Blackbringer. The paperback edition of Blackbringer came out in May of 2009. The hardcover edition of Silksinger came out in September. Both titles are part of the Faeries of Dreamdark books that Taylor is writing. 

Silksinger brings back the endearing characters we met in Blackbringer. It then introduces us to a new heroine and hero, Whisper Silksinger and Hirik Mothmage, and seamlessly weave their storyline into the fabric of the Dreamdark world, thus making it a stronger and more realistic one.

Dreamdark is a world held together by the Tapestry of Creation, first woven together by the fire elementals. These are powerful entities that created the Tapestry in order to keep the darkness out. Since the Tapestry was first woven and put in place, a great betrayal has taken place and the beings that first created the Tapestry have gone dormant. Thus, with the passing of time, darkness has been gaining the upper hand and the Tapestry has been desintegrating.

The faeries that live in Dreamdark belong to various clans. Each clan has a particular ability and role they play in the story. Our heroine comes from the Silksinger clan and goes by the name of Whisper. Our hero comes from the Mothmage clan and his name is Hirik. Silksingers can weave magic with their voices. Mothmages can sense and see through their moth antennas.

A Silksingerís voice is powerful. It has the ability to heal or hurt, build or destroy, encourage or discourage, create or obliterate. Yet Whisper, ďhad no mastery of her voice except in singing, when she felt the pulse of some great power guiding her to translate glyphs into sound, as only Silksingers could do.Ē So our heroine glides through the pages of the story as a quiet girl, whispering her words rather than talking, for fear her voice will do things she has no control over. Hirikís ability to see and sense through his antennas is hampered by the fact that he needs to keep them covered so that no one can tell he comes from the Mothmage clan, one which is hated by all inhabitants of Dreamdark. He will have to overcome his clanís shameful past if he is to become the champion of the elemental being he wishes to serve.

The fact that Whisper and Hirik traverse the pages of the story without solely relying on their most obvious strengths is what we most liked about this story. Both end up overcoming obstacles by relying on abilities that are within the reach of average mortals. Whisper and Hirik draw upon raw determination, focused intention, and a never-give-up attitude that finds them breaking through personal faith barriers time and again. The power and beauty of finding such a heroine and hero lies in the fact that the personality traits that Whisper and Hirik most use are those that are within reach of every boy and girl who reads these books. We all can choose to focus our eyes on a goal and go for it. Often the harder the goal is to achieve the more obstacles we have to navigate through prior to achieving that goal. Itís the same with Whisper and Hirik. Both will have to overcome their own personal doubts and fears in order to break through and reach the finish line.

It's great to find a book you love to hold in your hands and read over and over. Silksinger is such a book. It contains the elements that middle-grade boys and girls enjoy reading about: adventure, danger, epic fights of good versus evil, friendship, loyalty, betrayal, daring attempts and well-earned victories. In a day when so many middle graders are being offered books to read that are, in our opinion, not quite age appropriate, itís a joy to discover the Faeries of Dreamdark series. One that will provide the type of engrossing, page-turning read middle grade readers want, without offending the sensibilities of their parents. 

Product Details
  • Reading level: Ages 9-12
  • Hardcover: 449 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Juvenile; 1 edition (September 17, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399246312
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399246319 

    Laini Taylor is a writer and artist who lives in Portland, OR, with her husband, Jim Di Bartolo. Jim's the illustrator of the Blackbringer and Silksinger books. Both titles are published by Putnam. Blackbringer was Laini's first novel. Her third book, Lips Touch: Three Times was a National Book Award Finalist in 2009 and published by Arthur A. Levine Books, an imprint of Scholastic. You can visit Laini online via her blog and website.
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