REVIEW: The DarkAngel by Meredith Ann Pierce
Dear Ms. Pierce:
I confess to being in the dark ages. Or maybe I can claim ignorance of this particular dark fantasy when it was originally publishing in 1982. You see, I lived in a very strict household and I don’t know my parents would have allowed me to read something involving vampyres. Now, however, I am all grown up and buying and reading all the books I should have read when I was a young adult.
In perusing the Little Brown catalog, I came across the Darkangel and the description. From the publishing house that gave of Stephenie Meyer, I thought another vampyre novel was worth a try. I didn’t realize until I was done that this book was a reprint version of the original 1982 novel, the cover and the description so modern.
The DarkAngel is a dark fairy tale of a young servant girl whose lady is taken by the Dark Angel. This is no Edward Cullen of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight, a dreamy to die for vampyre. The is an evil creature. He sucks the souls of his brides out of them and places them in vials that hang in a necklace around his neck. He must get one more bride and then his necklace will be complete and so will his transformation into his mother’s creature.
Aeriel is brought to the wing icarus’ castle, not to be a bride as she thought, but to be a servant girl to his brides, wraith like creatures who wail and moan at their fate. Aeriel’s chief task is to spin clothing for them. She can spin them out of anything with her emotions for the wraiths determining the weight and fineness of the cloth. Pity produces a heavy, uncomfortable yarn that breaks down easily where as patience or love spins out finer, softer, longer lasting cloth.
The wraiths beg her to kill Irrylath, the winged icarus, the vampyre, and release them from their torment. Aeriel is torn. Part of Irrylath’s magic is that he is so beautiful, so mesmerizing, that Aeriel is entranced by him even knowing at some level who he is and what he does is vile. He is so beautiful, it is said, because there is still some good left in him.
Aeriel begins a journey at the behest of the wraiths and a dwarflike creature who befriends her, and her own desire to save Irrylath to decipher a riddle about the vampyres destruction. For it appears that the fate of the world may rest in her hands. In the end, Aeriel must decide whether to destroy the one she loves for the sake of many and thus destroy herself in the process.
The language is so evocative as you take the reader from village, to mountaintop, into the caverns of the earth and across the barren desert. DarkAngel is easily recognizable as a classic from the very beginning for anyone, regardless of age, who is a fan of fairy tales, a young maiden saving the world and perhaps a dark soul in the meantime.