When I started reading The Darkangel, I wasn't sure I would like it. After all, it was told in such a melodramatic way as to read like the fantasy of...moreWhen I started reading The Darkangel, I wasn't sure I would like it. After all, it was told in such a melodramatic way as to read like the fantasy of a teenage girl. When I found out, however, that the book was published when the writer, Meredith Ann Pierce, was only 23, I understood a little bit better why I was getting that impression.
Though the book has its flaws, the story soon swept me up into in heady mix of folkloric and fairytale elements, set within a sci-fi framework of a planet colonized by a people called the Ancients many moons ago. I won't go into the details of a synopsis—others before me have done that, and quite well—but I will say that this is one of the most unique books I've read, weaving together disparate and seemingly incompatible story ingredients into a compelling dark fantasy. I'm just a bit disappointed that I came late to the party and didn't discover this series until now.(less)
It seems to follow a rule: The second book in a trilogy is invariably the weakest link, usually there only to bridge the story between the first and t...moreIt seems to follow a rule: The second book in a trilogy is invariably the weakest link, usually there only to bridge the story between the first and third books. I can't say this was 100% true for A Gathering of Gargoyles but I will say, if not the story, then the characters were weaker, especially Aeriel. I don't know what happened, but somehow she became dumber during the book. Despite numerous hints, whether about something as trivial as the cloak she wore or about something as important as her true identity, she had to be beaten upside the head with a sledgehammer before any of these concepts got through to her. And once they did, she had to act in the predictable dumb-heroine manner: “What are you saying? Are you saying what I think you're saying? You're crazy!” Despite that annoyance, the story continued its theme of intertwining various elements from folklore and fairytales, as well as a deeper exploration into the sci-fi background of Aeriel's world, into a lyrical story of transformation, rebirth, and empowerment.(less)
A very Harry Potter-esque book, involving mythical creatures instead of magic, and with a female as the lead, complete with an uber-rare gift and subs...moreA very Harry Potter-esque book, involving mythical creatures instead of magic, and with a female as the lead, complete with an uber-rare gift and subsequent celebrity status in her circle of fellows known as the Society for the Protection of Mythical Creatures. And let's not forget a dark and deadly enemy, a shapeshifter known as Kullervo, who has grown in power over the years and wants to use our heroine, Connie, to destroy the society and all humans in order to give the world back to the mythical creatures. Woven in as a subplot, in a fairly even-handed, not too preachy manner, is an environmentally friendly message--the kids and community fight against a big oil company which threatens their pristine coastline, not to mention the nesting spot of a group of Sirens. All this makes for an above-average start to a new fantasy adventure series. I'm glad to see girls getting their fair share of the spotlight for once; as much as I adore the Harry Potter books, we need more novels featuring girls as the bearers of unique gifts, becoming strong and self-empowered as a result.
Since it is the first of a series, many of the characters are merely roughed out, not quite one-dimensional yet not quite fully fleshed out either. However, the writing is engaging and moves along at a good clip; I never got bogged down, and towards the end my emotions were tugged upon as I got involved in the action. 3.75 stars.(less)
I actually stopped "reading" this about a third of the way in and skimmed through the rest of the book. The story just lost my interest. Not to mentio...moreI actually stopped "reading" this about a third of the way in and skimmed through the rest of the book. The story just lost my interest. Not to mention it was overly convoluted, with names and places and people flying this way and that. I get that the author was trying to develop some sort of conspiracy, but it felt awkward and forced. There was just too much stuff. Perhaps I just wasn't in the proper frame of mind. When I started the book, I was reminded strongly of Jim Butcher's Dresden Files and Simon R. Green's Nightside books. That said, I enjoyed the Dresden Files and Nightside books a hell of a lot more than I did Sweet Silver Blues. They weren't as complicated and, being an uncomplicated kind of person, that appealed to me greatly.(less)