Friday, October 12, 2012
Darkling by Yasmine Galenorn
Darkling is the third of Yasmine Galenorn's Otherworld novels featuring the D'Artigo sisters; Camille, Delilah and Menolly, following Witchling and Changeling. She follows the convention established in the first two by having the third of the sisters act as the narrator. Camille; a witch, narrated Witchling and the story in Changeling was told by middle sister, the shapeshifter Delilah. Darkling is Menolly's turn. The title refers to the fact that Menolly is a vampire.
The stories told in the books tend to reflect the personalities of the girl telling it. Camille is the big sister and a little more serious than her siblings, and Witchling as the opener had a lot to acquaint readers with so was related in that way. Delilah is lighter and more fun than her sisters, plus the fact that when she gets stressed she defaults to the form of a highly strung tabby cat provides for some amusing moments. Delilah, despite being the middle sister and taller than the other two is still seen by them as the baby, something that frustrates her, but she doesn't seem to be able to shake it. Menolly, partly because of her nature, she was made into a vampire against her will, has a darker, edgier style and voice to her.
The story in Darkling was definitely the darkest of the three so far. The war in Otherworld has ramped up and despite the girls being Earthside, they're right in the middle of it, and it doesn't help when Menolly finds out that her hated sire; the depraved and sadistic Dredge is a major player, plus she's tied to him because of what he did to her. When he and his minions start targeting humans as foot soldiers in the war he and his allies are waging both on Otherworld and Earthside the D'Artigo's and their friends go in all guns blazing, it only gets worse when one of the girls' friends; a full blood human dress shop owner gets pulled into the mess. Menolly needs to find a way to get free of Dredge once and for all, and take him down in the process.
Yasmine Galenorn really lifted everything up a notch in Darkling. Not only was there a darker, edgier style to this one, some heavy hitters also appeared (Morgana Le Fay and Loki to name two). That the author seems to be comfortable when writing about vampires shouldn't surprise, they're a staple of urban fantasy, and her other series; Indigo Court, largely focusses on them.
Readers got their first real look at Otherworld, it was very completely realised and wonderfully written. I hope the girls can visit again, so we can see more of it in the future. Maggie, the orphaned gargoyle baby, took her first steps, and I still have the belief she'll surprise the girls before she's fully grown. My favourite character remains Iris; the girl's protective Finnish house sprite (she's a type referred to as a Talon-haltija). Although I felt Darkling was the best book of the three I've read, Delilah remains my favoured narrator. From what I've found out about book 4; Dragon Wytch is narrated by Camille, so they may be cycled around like that now each girl has had a go. Be interesting to see more than one narrator in a future volume, or maybe even someone other than one of the sisters. I'm putting in a vote for Iris right now.