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If you read this blog that you have some idea that I am a huge book nerd along with being an all-around other stuff kind of nerd. I feel then, as a blogger, to make special note of books that I particularly enjoyed. Recently I’ve read two such books (and a review on the other will be forthcoming), one is The Darkangel Trilogy by Meredith Ann Pierce. I stumbled upon this trio of books while perusing the internet and someone had done an extremely extensive review of the story. It had vampires, a girl on a quest and gargoyles. I was sold.
Now, to me, I love a good opening line. It doesn’t have to be particularly poetic or inspiring, it doesn’t even have to be a cliff-hanger or dramatic. It simply has to set the tone of the book.
Aeriel rested the broad basket against her hip and adjusted her kirtle. – The Darkangel
See what I mean? I’m instantly curious. Why does Aeriel have a basket? What is a kirtle? What a great name for a character. Is she the main character or is she secondary? All of these questions just from a few simple words.
The plot of the three books is simple. Aeriel (a slave) and her mistress (and sort-of friend) Eoduin are on a mission to collect a certain kind of flower for her sister’s wedding. They are climbing high up on the mountain and Aeriel, we find out, is a clutz and a nervous-nelly. She worries they are going to high for she had heard tales of the Darkangels that swooped from the skies and kidnapped pretty ladies.
It is quickly made apparent that Aeriel is a plain-Jane, she is nowhere near as beautiful and graceful as her dear Eoduin and everyone tells her this. Even the Darkangel (because, yeah, he shows up).
“I am to be your bride,” she said, not questioning. The certainty of it overwhelmed her.
The dark angel looked at her then and laughed, a long, mocking laugh that sent the gargoyles into a screaming, chattering frenzy. “You?” he cried, and Aeriel’s heart shrank, tightened like a knot beneath the bone of her breast. “You be my bride? By the Fair Witch, no. You’re much too ugly.” – The Darkangel
Yeah, Aeriel does not get much love at first.
I don’t want to spoil the series for you so I’ll try to sum up without spoilers for you. Basically, Aeriel gets taken by the dark angel to be his servant girl to his twelve wraiths, women he has taken as his bride and stolen their souls, they are thin creatures, barely sane and horrid to look upon. Aeriel also finds herself in the precense of gargoyles, ferocious beasts that really only suffer from a lack of love and attention.
Some stuff happens and we start to see that Aeriel is more than just a slave, she is more than just an “ugly” girl. She is a smart, resourceful woman who manages to make the best out of a really REALLY bad situation. In the darkangels house she lives under the constant threat of death and yet, she manages to find some good in her life.
Sufficed to say, in all three books of The Darkangel Trilogy we get to see Aeriel grow up and become a woman, a force, to be reckoned with. She is tasked with many things throughout the three novels and each task is arduous and damn difficult for her but she does it all.
My biggest complaint about the books is that a few times things are happening and the reader (aka, me) knows exactly what is about to happen and yet our heroine seems clueless and in the dark, that frustrates me because it makes Aeriel seem stupid or slow and she is neither. What I loved about these books is that she isn’t weak, she is extremely resourceful and she is amazingly kind. Even as she grows into a beauty, she never relies on her looks to get her way. She never expects a man to save her. She is her own hero and that, I simply adore.
In a world where vampire novels are a dime a dozen The Darkangel Trilogy deserves your time. It is a new take on a classic villain and besides that, it’s not even really about vampires! It’s about an entire WORLD that Pierce creates that rivals some of the stuff that Tolkien or Martin have created (granted, it is not nearly as in-depth as their works). It’s a series written by a woman about a woman who is able to be the best parts about feminism and humanity.
I can say with 100% certainty that if you are into fantasy literature, then this series is for you.
Have YOU read The Darkangel Trilogy? If so, did you love it? Hate it? Feel indifferent about? Want to make tiny babies with Talb? Tell me about it in the comments section!