I discovered the first novel in this series, Faeries of Dreamdark: Blackbringer, in a used bookstore, picked it up, hesitated, read the flaps, hesitated again and then took a moment to read the prologue. I found it delightfully intriguing and happily, I made the choice to take it home. That moment of chance discovery and the choice to buy have proven to be lasting gifts. Blackbringer is one of my two or three favorite books of all time - and I'm over 50, so my `all-time' comprises quite a few years and thousands of books. I've been anticipating Silksinger like crazy; first, just to immerse myself once again in author Laini Taylor's gorgeous world and second, to discover if the second volume in this series could possibly live up to my (very high) expectations.
And, oh wow - it does that and more! Silksinger might, just might, be BETTER than Blackbringer. ** To my amusement, I feel a little disloyal even thinking that! Like maybe I should go stroke the cover of Blackbringer and assure it that I will never let another book usurp its place in my heart. I know, I know, I'm a little strange at times. :-)**
From the moving sacrifices of the opening chase to Whisper's gift of song at the close, Silksinger simply soars. Taylor's lyrical prose combined with her brilliant imagination, her ability to create unforgettable characters and her strong, solid plotting makes for a whole so magical it actually boggles my mind a little.
Silksinger has action and adventure and heroes of many different types - some quite unexpected - that are daring and determined. Some really nasty characters and the rather dark scenes they inhabit are balanced with humor and romance, magic, beauty, friendship and love. The story is involving and intricate, building beautifully on Blackbringer and hinting at what is to come.
In Silksinger, we are given the chance to revisit old friends and to meet a new group of fully developed and marvelously interesting characters. It would have been very easy for Taylor to make Whisper and Hirik only slightly altered clones of Magpie and Talon, but she avoids that, giving them their own personalities, suited to their back-stories. Whisper, in particular, is a somewhat non-traditional heroine and I think she (and her bravery) will appeal to many people, particularly children. Taylor's secondary characters continue to shine; I truly believe that a number of them could support their own books. (And the crows alone could have their own series!)
Taylor has also done an excellent job of developing a variety of different clans and societies in her stories, each with their own histories, which enriches the world of Dreamdark and gives it additional texture and depth. Happily, she manages to do this with a light touch, keeping the world building accessible to all ages.
As with Blackbringer, Jim Di Bartolo's illustrations - including his gorgeous cover art - enhanced my enjoyment. I also appreciated the "List of Plates" added in Silksinger. It makes locating the interior drawings quickly much easier.
Is Silksinger for kids? Yes. However, as mentioned above, IMO Silksinger is somewhat darker than Blackbringer which may affect its suitability for younger children. With only the smallest amount of editing, I read Blackbringer to my five year old granddaughter more than a year ago and she handled the scary parts just fine. I plan to hold off on reading Silksinger to her for another year or even two as I think she may find some of the scenes fairly disturbing. Kids in the intended age group of 9 - 12 should be fine with the more mature themes. As I often do, I suggest parents of younger children read the book first and use their own best judgment to determine if it suits their child's maturity level.
Is Silksinger for teens? Yes. It's a great story with stellar writing that will provide them with a break from the angsty romance currently so popular in young adult fiction. (Not that there's anything wrong with angsty romance!)
Is Silksinger for adults? Oh yes, most definitely yes. A novel this well-crafted is a delight for any age.
One note: If you haven't yet read Faeries of Dreamdark: Blackbringer, I strongly suggest you do so before reading Silksinger. While Silksinger can certainly be enjoyed as a stand alone, I believe readers will take much more pleasure in it if they have knowledge of the history of Dreamdark as referenced in Blackbringer's pages.
My heart tells me this series is destined to become a classic. I know that, for me, it has already attained that status.
Very highly and joyfully recommended!