This book is absolutely amazing.It mixes fantasy and action/adventure to the highest dergree.It also has a hint of romance! You become fond of all three characters,Ashurek,Estarinel and Medrian, as they struggle to defeat the evil serpent M'gulfn.Wonder at Ashurek's disturbing past,at Estarinel's kindness and Medrian's mysteriousness. A Blackbird in Silver was a joy to read from beginning to end, I loved every moment of it!It has become one of my most faveourite books and am looking eagerly for the sequels,A Blackbird in Darkess and A Blackbird in Amber.
Three mismatched companions start out on a quest to find a way to kill the great serpent M’gulfn that is trying to destroy the Earth. The serpent is slowly spreading despair and anguish, causing wars and laying countries to waste so nothing can grow or survive there.
I first read this book about 20 years ago, and it’s survived 4 house moves, my years and university and many, many book clear outs.
It’s rare that I remember much that happens in books I’ve read before, and I don’t remember how it ends or how it started, but what I do remember is the feeling I got reading this series.
That’s stopped me getting rid of the books many times over the years. I always meant to re-read it, but in a few months I’m going to a convention where Freda Warrington will be appearing so I thought I should read it again before I take it to get it signed.
The way it’s written reminds me of how Ursula Le Guin or Tanith Lee writes. It’s quite simplistic in style, almost in the way a children’s book would be, though the content is very adult and the characters find themselves in some dark situations.
The three companions that set out on the quest have rich and detailed backstories and don’t instantly bond.
Ashurek’s story is very detailed and he is a very complex character. he’s been through a lot and done some very bad things but even though he realises this, he also knows it’s M’gulfn’s influence that sent him on this path. He wants to make amends but he’s not consumed by guilt.
Medrian I remembered from the first time I read the book, the cold, pale, dark haired woman that won’t explain her reason for joining the quest, I also remembered what her secret is. That’s probably affected my re-read, I’m not getting the sense of mystery or confusion over her behaviour that I probably should be. But she is still my favourite character in the story, quiet and withdrawn and acts almost like she is in constant pain, but she still comes alive when in danger or in a fight. We see rare smiles, glimpses of what she would be like if she weren’t carrying these dark secrets.
Though the basic story elements are standard fantasy fare it’s taken in a different direction. It has strong, unique characters that carry the story and I found myself engrossed in their stories.
Things get very dark, with some almost horror elements finding their way in, demons, torture and dead soldiers raised to fight for the enemy. There’s a hopeless, desperate feel that permeates the book.
There’s also a bit of sci-fi mixed in, but I won’t go into that because I don’t want to spoil the plot!
These things make it stand out from the norm, it’s something a bit different if you read a lot of fantasy books.
It’s a hard one for me to rate, I would normally say 3 stars, but I still think about this book 20 years after reading it and that has to lift it to a 4.