Enchanting, spirited, wildly imaginative, thematically-rich – all of these words combined might begin to express the wonder that is Laini Taylor’s second Dreamdark book, Silksinger. If you haven’t read the first title, Faeries of Dreamdark: Blackbringer, I’m jealous (read my review of Blackbringer here). Only a little bit jealous though, because Laini’s books fall into that rare category of story that you will want to read again and again as life goes on, so I know I will find as much delight in rereading as I did the first time around. I read Silksinger in the space of a day and a half, and I think that is exactly the way to enjoy it best, if you can spare the time to spend hours and hours reading. The reason? Laini’s faeire world feels as real as our own. You will see it, smell it, hear it. You will be there in it and you won’t want to step out of it and break the magic to do things like laundry and dog-walking and dinner-making. I was eager to read Silksinger because I loved Blackbringer so much but I wondered how Laini would manage to write something as wonderful. I don’t know how she managed it, but she did, that’s for sure.
After a brutal devil attack, Whisper Silksinger is the last faeire left in her clan, and now she carries with her the very thing the bloodthirsty devils were seeking. Held in a battered tea kettle is what looks like an ember. This is no ember, though, it is the Azazel, one of the world’s creators, asleep in ember form. Alone and hunted, Whisper must find a way to get the Azazel to the city of Nazneen, where she can place the ember inside the Azazel’s temple. Then the Djinn with awaken from his 4000 year sleep and his power will be restored, giving him the ability to fight the growing evil that threatens to destroy the Tapestry of Creation. Someone else seeks the Azazel. Hirik Mothmage hopes to find the Djinn so that he can become the Azazel’s champion and restore honour to his clan. Hirik and Whisper meet and begin traveling together, neither one trusting or knowing much of the other’s purpose. Not far behind them is Magpie Windwitch, the Magruwen’s champion, who speeds after Hirik and Whisper, hoping to keep them safe from the evil forces at their heels. Magpie can only protect the guardians from the villains she knows, however, and there is a greater evil working against the faeries that is almost ready to strike.
Once again, Laini offers readers a cast of characters so carefully crafted you’ll be hard-pressed to choose a favourite. Happily, old friends are back: Magpie and her band of crows and Talon, Batch Hangnail the imp, Bellatrix and Poppy all feature in Silksinger, as witty and feisty and warm as ever. I don’t really know where to begin with the new characters, every one of them is memorable, whether good or bad or in between. Whisper is a vulnerable thing, with hidden strength. I loved the idea of the Silksingers’ powers, their ability to weave incredible patterns in silk using song. Whisper keeps this ability hidden, but eventually, she demonstrates her gift in one of the most memorable sequences in the novel. Slomby, the snail-like slave creature, is a lovely character, fearful and sweet, worried and disappointed in his own powerlessness. Let’s just say that after reading Silksinger I’m hoping that Laini Taylor finds a way to bring everyone back in the final book of the trilogy. (Okay, maybe not some of the baddies, but all of the good guys). Continue reading