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REVIEW: The DarkAngel by Meredith Ann Pierce

Dear Ms. Pierce:

the DarkAngelI 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.

Best regards,


Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Emily
    Apr 04, 2007 @ 16:12:53

    I like this story, I believe there is also a sequel? I read it a while ago so it is a bir fuzzy. The rather modern looking cover you show doesn’t go with it very well IMHO.

  2. Meljean
    Apr 04, 2007 @ 20:12:19

    I love this trilogy. I’m glad to see they’re re-issuing it.

  3. sandy l
    Apr 05, 2007 @ 07:21:27

    I absolutely loved this trilogy also. My copy of Dark Angel is pretty old. I am glad that they are reprinting it also.

  4. LinM
    Apr 05, 2007 @ 07:50:36

    This was a great trilogy but Emily is right – the new cover is awful. I wish I could find my original copy – it seems to be lost in my chaotic book filing system.

    But Jane this is not fair. I’d just about decided not to trust your fantasy reviews (Melusine – oh yes, Magic Bites – oh no). However, I agree with you here; Dark Angel is wonderful.

  5. Jane
    Apr 05, 2007 @ 08:52:35

    Didn’t like Magic Bites, huh? Tell me why? and I like the new cover. Of course, I never saw the old one.

  6. Jan
    Apr 05, 2007 @ 09:31:04

    I loved this trilogy. I read it when it came out, and some of the images are still with me. Just the whole idea of a vampire on the moon is so evocative.

    You reviewed Melusine? I don’t recall seeing that. I didn’t like it much, though there were some thing to admire in it.

  7. Vernieda
    Apr 05, 2007 @ 09:45:52

    Wow, I really don’t like the new cover at all. But then again, I guess I’m too attached to the Laurel Leaf version. I first read this book when I was in middle school so I’ve reread it every now and again through the years.

    It is the first of a trilogy so there are two more novels that follow. Unfortunately their titles escape me right now. I remember not liking them as much as The Darkangel but one I significantly did not like at all.

  8. Emily
    Apr 05, 2007 @ 13:08:44

    This is the cover I had, fits the tone of the fable well:

  9. Laura Florand
    Apr 05, 2007 @ 14:56:40

    Meredith Ann Pierce’s writing is gorgeous. She rips the heart out of you with some of it. Woman Who Loved Reindeer was very good, too. Thanks for reminding me of her, I just saw she had two books that came out after I gave up looking for them that I haven’t read yet.

  10. Brie
    Aug 07, 2007 @ 14:53:36

    “The Darkangel” is part of The Darkangel Trilogy. The other two being: “A Gathering of Gargoyles” and “The Pearl of the Soul of the World”

  11. Alyc
    Aug 12, 2007 @ 00:41:49

    I read these about 20 years ago now, when I was in high school, and they continue to be in my top ten all-time favorites. The original cover-art for “The Darkangel” and “A Gathering of Gargoyles” was done by Kinuko Craft (and is absolutely gorgeous. There have been two different reissues since then, and neither have improved on the original covers).

    I have to say that while The Darkangel stands very well on its own, the further development of the series, and the very surprising finale, are among the best I’ve ever read. I did not like the end of “The Pearl of the Soul of the World” when I read it at 18. It is only over time that I’ve come to realize just how very good the finale of the trilogy is.

    According to her website, Meredith Ann Pierce is now working on a four-book adult fantasy series. Yay!

  12. Jenny
    Oct 11, 2007 @ 18:04:03

    I admired this trilogy a lot. I never liked many fantacy or sci-fi books before. I’m doin this for a project and I thought I’d give it a try, and it turns out it worked perfectly for my idea. Now, I just hope a get an A on it.

  13. cera
    Nov 09, 2007 @ 13:31:31

    This book changed my life! i never use to read so much but after reading this one i had to read the other two and i was hooked on any fantsy book i could get my hands on, then just a few months back i picked up my old copy of The Darkangel and read all night and half way into the mourning and when i set it down i realized , i wanted to be a writer , so thank you Meredith Pierce your book has inspired me to make a master piece such as yours. thank you again. and to anyone els i strongly to advise you read this amazing book!!

  14. josh
    Dec 06, 2007 @ 19:59:23

    yo was up. i may be the only dude here(yes i’m straight) but i to loved this book. it’s frigging awesome it had an awesome plot and i to advise as many people as possible to read it.

  15. josh
    Dec 06, 2007 @ 20:02:11

    oh and i like both covers the first and new are pretty sick

  16. Elissa
    Apr 20, 2008 @ 09:56:15

    These books were so amazing! I loved the way Aeriel had to fight her battles with her own strength. The ending to the trilogy was depressing though! Does any one know if Ms. Pierce is going to be writing another book for this series? She most defenitely could. The ending leaves you hanging. Did Irrylath marry Sabr or did he keep his promise and somehow find away to be with Aeriel?
    I don’t really like the new cover at all either.

  17. Hakumei
    Apr 25, 2008 @ 01:49:45

    Ahh… This trilogy is one of my all time favorites. Originally read when I was an impressionable 13, it completely destroyed my faith in romance, and forged within me a taste for the tragedy of real-life outcomes. Seriously, I owe a great deal of my current self (my own writing not excluded)to this masterfully told story. I really can’t complain.
    Supposedly there /is/ supposed to be more to the story. I have heard (and please do not quote me as I have been unable to verify this information) that Ms. Pierce once said that, “if you thought that was an ending, you are mistaken.” According to this unconfirmed rumor, she will (at some indeterminate point of time) be writing a follow up story which features Irrylath as the main character in his quest to undo the things which have been done.
    It gives one pause, and a bit of hope. But it is probably a false hope. I recommend just learning to appreciate this tale for what it is: an amazingly good read.

  18. Hakumei
    Apr 25, 2008 @ 02:25:52

    I misquoted…
    Her exact words were (supposedly), “”Anybody who considers that a satisfying ending is nuts. Take heart! I intend to shift focus to Irrylath…”

  19. adrianna
    Jun 23, 2008 @ 10:04:59

    i really like this story, although at first i thought i woudn’t since the whole “i am in love with the “villan” thing was WAY over played, but you made it work.

  20. Elissa
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 20:34:46

    I hope she does shift the story to Irrylath. Is there anyway to contact Ms. Pierce herself? What other books has she written?

  21. liz
    Dec 28, 2008 @ 10:30:07

    i hope there’s a book after The pearl of the Soul of the World. this trilogy was great but the ending of the last book was a cliff hanger. it gives a great plot for a next book though..irrylath finding ariel and bringing her back like he said. theres alot that wasnt said there should definately be annother book.

  22. Eliza
    Oct 21, 2009 @ 11:10:50

    I loved this trilogy but i hope theres a carry on book because at the end of the last book i was all watery eyed and Aerial deserves a happy ending.

  23. Mudi-B
    Jan 28, 2010 @ 13:19:25

    @josh: Dude here too. found these books in HS, and have bought them several times over. Absolutely my favorite.

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