After a second volume that was too easy and less than inspiring, I started the final part of the Darkangel trilogy with trepidation. Would it validate...moreAfter a second volume that was too easy and less than inspiring, I started the final part of the Darkangel trilogy with trepidation. Would it validate the things that seemed pointless or tacky in the second book?
At first it seemed the answer was yes, the start of the book is as chilling and dreamy as the first volume. The second half, however, was a mixed bag. The identifiable problems of communication and rivalry over a man seemed to earthly for the fairy tale aspect of the series. The sci-fi continued to be well integrated however, and the story actually reminded me more of the Narnia stories in some ways than the new fairytale of the first or the hackneyed classical allusions of the second. I think it was the bittersweet nature, and of course the White Witch, who is disturbing the seasons (she is of course causing a drought instead of eternal winter, but it is much the same and her castle is made of ice). The similarity is graceful though, and I greatly enjoyed the suspense of whether the Witch would be turned or destroyed. Her interactions with Aeriel are well written and compelling.
My main problem with the novel, ultimately, was that it didn't know where to end. It didn't seem like the final book in the series, for in the end Aeriel embarks on another quest, just as open as the lack of resolution in the prior two novels. I feel that might have worked if implied briefly, but the 20-50 pages devoted to it are irritating and ruin the catharsis of the obstacles being overcome. It makes one think that the author intended another trilogy, and if she did one wishes that she would have left this one alone and introduced the next quest separately in the books it belonged to.(less)
Overall I liked this book. It had a definite plot structure, focused on the original trio but also showed other characters being awesome, and in the e...moreOverall I liked this book. It had a definite plot structure, focused on the original trio but also showed other characters being awesome, and in the end all was well. However, some of it seemed too metatextual. There was a lot of innuendo for example and the text seemed sometimes to be going in two different directions, one stated and one implied. Also that epilogue is terrible and nothing anyone says will convince me otherwise. Still, aside from some tacky moments, I feel it by in large met my expectations for wrapping up the series.(less)
When I read this book for class back in High School I found it frustrating and dissatisfying. The second half of the book completely failed to meet th...moreWhen I read this book for class back in High School I found it frustrating and dissatisfying. The second half of the book completely failed to meet the expectations set up by the first half. The start of the book was gritty, harsh, brutal even, and the second part seemed overly sunny and positive all the sudden and too soon. I felt like the book was a mess.
Ironically, it was my brother (the last person I would have expected to be a fan of this book) who changed my mind. he also had to read it for class in High School when I was finishing up college. And he got the book in a way I had completely failed to. The defied expectations were the whole point. We expect certain things from African American writers, and certain things from female African American writers particularly. The book ultimately defied these expectations by being about more and less than that. It was about life as we all know it, not just some sliver of terror that socially conscious minority writers feel obliged to write about.
I was wrong about the book because I did not understand what it was doing, and therefore thought it was failing when it was really succeeding.
Re-reading this book while teaching it to high school students over a decade after my own original reading of it. I have come to really love and respect what Walker was doing and I will definitely be teaching it again.(less)