Pros: unique and bountifully fascinating world to explore
Cons: loss and sacrafice are part of any epic adventure
The Bottom Line: Brilliant sci-fi fantasy!
Aeriel is just a simple servant girl in a dark and dangerous world. She often feels clumsy, pale, stupid and ugly beside her young mistress, Eoduin. Yet it is for love of her mistress and sometimes friend that she climbs once more the mountain where the Darkangel stole Eoduin away.
Determined to kill the vampire, she waits... only to be captured and put into a far more horrific servitude. Alone in an abandoned castle at the edge of a desert, Aeriel must brave the tauntings of the Darkangel as she waits upon his gruesom brides. So alike are the wraithlike, hideous beings that she cannot even tell which of them was once Eoduin.
Soon the vampyre will take his final bride, kneel before the White Witch and then he and his icari brothers will wage war upon the world! Once the Lons, fierce and powerful guardians of the Lands would have stood between the Icari and victory...but they have nearly become legend. Is Aeriel brave enough to unravel the ancient prophesies and bring Hope back to the people? Is her love, kindness, and patience enough to save a world?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ My Thoughts ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
This was one of those lucky finds in a dusty old bookshop hidden in a tangled maze of backstreets. The artwork caught my eye and the teaser on the back of the jacket sold me...or sold the book depending on how you look at it! This is one of the most unique worlds I have ever stumbled into, and its people, creatures, and history unfolded before my eager gaze like a vivid tapestry.
Little hints are dropped throughout the tale that make the reader wonder at the true origins of Aeriel's world. Pierce teases us with unanswered questions until they begin to pile in our minds like hoarded treasure. Where are the Guardians? Who is the White Witch and why is she making Darkangels? Who was Prince Irrylath and why does the name trouble Aeriel's new, dark-winged master? Why are the waters of all the lands disappearing and where have they gone?
Most importantly, will Aeriel find the courage to do whatever she must to save them all? This work has an almost Gothic feel to it with its moments of adventure, romance, terror, intensity and suspense, yet there are also subtle undertones of science fiction which grow as the trilogy continues. And of course, the vampyres!
Undeniably a uniquely blended sci-fi/fantasy novel, The Darkangel weaves us an enthralling, beautiful, sometimes tragic tale that builds with each book. Meredith Ann Pierce is truly a wizard with words. The Darkangel excels at what a first novel in a set should, it opens an imaginative door into a new world and invites us in to explore.
Peopled with dynamic characters, extraordinary peoples, settings, creatures, and set in a truly fantastic world, Pierce lures us in with her magically woven words. Hours can fly by as her tale consumes you! I found Aeriel's epic journey from slave to ascended hero fascinating, and Darkangel is the first step along her path.
In my first reading, I found Pierce's fantasy world so charmingly vivacious and compelling that I would pause to wonder if my reading of her tale would leave me a trail of my footprints to follow back into my own mundane world!