The Darkangel

I fell in love with The Darkangel Trilogy when I was a teenager, so when I saw that it was included in the paranormal chapter of Teen Genreflecting (Herald, 2003) I decided to include it in my study of the genre. The Darkangel is the only book in my study that takes place on a world very unlike our own. It is really a precursor to the paranormal genre, a fantasy book with vampires in it. The Darkangel has several awards and honors including the International Reading Association’s annual Children’s Book Award 1982, ALA Best Books for Young Adults 1982, ALA Best of the Best Books (1970-1982), New York Times’ Notable Children’s Booklist 1982, Parents’ Choice Award Superbook 1982, and the California Young Reader Medal 1986, (Retrieved July 19, 2009 from http://www.moonandunicorn.com/welcomeF/wordF/awards.htm)

Series Title: The Darkangel Trilogy
Author: Meredith Ann Pierce
ISBN-10: 0316707414 ISBN-13: 9780316707411
City and Publisher: Boston: Little, Brown
Copyright Date: 1982
Author’s Website: http://www.moonandunicorn.com/

Reader’s Annotation: When the beautiful daughter of the village syndic is carried away by the darkangel, Aerial follows them to claim vengeance. The darkangel makes Aerial his servant instead, to care for his blood drained wives, and Aerial must discover how to free them all.

Plot Summary: Aerial is the slave and companion of the beautiful Eoduin. After the darkangel carries Eoduin away to be his bride, Aerial seeks vengeance. She is captured instead and must weave garments out of her own emotions in order to clothe his piteous blood drained wives. Although she sees a spark of true beauty in the darkangel, Aerial must find a way to kill him and save her world before he captures another bride and becomes a full vampire.

Critical Evaluation: The Darkangel is a beautiful, intricately written book. It is set in a barren world that hints at space travel far in the future but is filled with the mythical creatures and tribalism of the past; it describes an alien and regressed society. Aerial is a classic fantasy heroine, underappreciated and shy but with the biggest heart in the land. She starts off clumsy and unattractive, but as she finds her confidence she also grows more attractive physically.

Reading Level/Interest: Age 13 and up
Curriculum Ties: The Darkangel is an excellent pleasure read and would also be an appropriate selection for a contemporary fantasy novel.
Booktalking Ideas:
Talk about how before there was Twilight, there was The Darkangel trilogy. Summarize plot as written in this post.

Genre: Paranormal
Beasties and Supernatural Elements: Vampires, Angels, Gargoyles, Dwarves, Wraiths, Talking Animals
Influences from Other Genres: Fantasy

Challenge Issues: The Darkangel is a dark book. Aerial’s attraction to a man who is cruel (to the point of tormenting small animals) may not be the best relationship model for teenage girls. At a deeper level however, The Darkangel carries a message of understanding and love. The darkangel is cruel because his heart has been hardened by a cruel stepmother, not because it is intrinsic to his nature. Aerial’s strength is that she can see past his behavior into his potential. This situation is further diffused as Aerial comes into her own strength and refuses to accept his cruelty.

About the Author: Meredith Ann Pierce is not only an author, she is also a librarian. She has written two trilogies and three stand alone books. She lives in Florida in a solar powered house. (More details at http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/p/meredith-ann-pierce/)

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