Above Expectations and Fears

Today’s book is The Darkangel by Meredith Ann Pierce.  And yes, you’re probably imagining it correctly: dark, moody, romantic, and attractive to teenyboppers.  In fact, it’s everything that The Queen of the Tearling wishes it could be.  It’s not quite paranormal romance, the heroine’s not quite a Mary Sue, and I have some questions for the editor regarding some grammatical errors that may have happened in transcription.

The fact that this story is over 30 years old probably helps explain the differences between the two.  Also the fact that this particular copy is from a 2007 printing.  When I got the book, I did so knowing that it could very easily fall into far too many traps and stereotypes.  Instead I found an engaging story that is told in a contemporary fashion, but has many elements of a classic fairy tale.  Why do “animals” talk?  Because.  How can you spin thread made of emotions?  You just do, if you have the right spindle.  What world is this even?

Okay, that’s a little different.  This book reads like a fantasy, but there’s a couple science fiction elements lurking here and there.  I am pretty sure that the story takes place on a colonized moon.  There is a Planet hanging in their heavens, there are stories about Ancient Ones who came through the dark between the stars, and they once lived in domed cities.  But, for the most part, I’m classing this as a fantasy.  This is in contrast to the Dragonriders of Pern which I read as a fantasy until they dug up Landing and then I realized that the series was, and always had been, science fiction.  But, to be fair, Pern was started in an age when the two were classed together as science fiction.

Now, those of you who’ve read all the way back to when I started this blog seven weeks ago (was it really only seven?  I really read a lot) might think that The Darkangel sounds familiar.  You’d be completely right too, because it’s mentioned in my very first post.  Meredith Ann Pierce was one of the contributing authors in the Moonsinger’s Friends anthology, and the editor dropped just enough information about her book to intrigue me.  So when I needed a bit more to get free shipping from amazon, I dropped The Darkangel into my cart.

I in no way regret this decision.  In fact, I’ve added the other two books in this trilogy to my wish list.  I was so afraid that The Darkangel would be as disappointing as The Queen of the Tearling, so I’m quite relieved to find that this book is so much more, despite being half as long.  A book should be as long as is necessary to tell your story.  Some books, like those in Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive, will be 1200 pages long.  Others, like The Darkangel, are a mere 238 pages.  It all depends on the story.  Both books are good, just don’t expect to see me finishing a Stormlight book in a day or less unless if I literally did nothing else that day.

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