Friday, August 31, 2012

The Darkangel Review

The Darkangel by Meredith Ann Pierce
Aeriel is kidnapped by the darkangel, a black-winged vampyre of astounding beauty and youth, and taken to his castle keep. There, she must serve his thirteen wives, wraiths whose souls he has stolen away. Aeriel knows she must kill the darkangel before he takes his fourtheenth bride and comes into full power, but she is captivated by his magnificent beauty and intrigued by the spark of goodness she sees inside him.

Will Aeriel risk damning all of himanity to save the darkangel's soul, or can she end his reign of beautiful terror before he finds his final bride? Can Aeriel save the Vampyre's soul?

4 out of 5 stars 

The Darkangel is the first book in the Darkangel trilogy.

Aeriel is a slave who saw her mistress taken by the darkangel to be one of his brides. When she goes to avenge her friend, she is also taken by the darkangel to be the maid to his 13 wives. She realizes that she cannot let the darkangel get the 14th and final wife he needs to become a full vampyre, so she sets out on a quest to stop him.

Personally, I find the description on this book misleading. The spin the publishers give the book on the back cover or dust jacket is problematic sometimes, especially in books like this one that were published well before the current YA trends. They try to make these books sound like they fit those trends and they often do not. The Darkangel was published originally in 1982 as a chldren's fantasy novel, but the back makes it sound like any YA book about soulmates and instalove. I didn't know that it had been published that long ago originally, so I did not think it would be something different that it sounds. A clue might have been that the blurb on the front is from Madeleine L'Engle, but I don't really pay attention to those when picking books.

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. There is something nice about these old books that don't focus on what is in the main character's head and focus on the quest instead. Granted, there is not much in-depth character development and personal growth, but I think that the lack of whining more than makes up for it. What you do get is growth through the completion of the journey- in this case Aeriel's bravery, compassion and love.

There were times while I was reading that I was like "Come on, that was just too easy." because things just seemed to fall into place during her journey. The journey didn't really seem to be about hardship, though, as much as the time it took. Despite the fact that it often seemed a little to easy, I liked it.

I did not read fantasy as a kid and still don't read fantasy often now, but I did like this book. I was reminded of the style of writing that I used to read in the 80's and early 90's when the books focused more on action than characters. What I would say is that, if you want a book with instalove and soulmates that stays in the main character's head so you know all their thoughts and feelings, then this book would not be for you. If you like older children's fantasy, then you might like this one. I think it would be good for younger readers as it has clean language, no adult situations, and has a good, role-model worthy heroine.

*Picture and description from Goodreads

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