Like those before, here’s another re-read. I wonder if I should have a separate category for them, seeing as I’m so any I want to read before I’m sure whether I want to keep them or not. (Okay, most of them I know I want to keep, but this one I wasn’t as sure about).
What striking about this one is all the subtle and complex world building I missed when I first read it. The world Aeriel lives in has a very interesting and intruiging history. I remembered pieces of it: god-like beings hidden away in domes and a seahorse skeleton. But the nuanced quality of it, the tone of the telling, the murmurs of meaning – they seemed richer than before.
Oddly I’d wager that this was one of the earliest examples of multicultural fantasy I read. I didn’t realized it at the time. I recalled Aeriel going into the desert, but I hadn’t quite visualized it as clearly as I did now. I’ll expand on this more in the second book.
As a writer, Aeriel’s growth arc came at a peculiarly propertious time. One of the stories I’m writing is similar, only so far as its about a meek girl growing into a more confident self. What reading this book cemented in my mind was that there’s needs to be a background for my character to grow in. Does that make sense? In The Darkangel, Aeriel gores as a result of her journey but also her growing awareness that the darkangel who kidnapped her is a danger to the her homeworld. (More precisely, his complete transformation into a icari will herald the reign of the terrible water witch, the lorelei.)
Underneath Aeriel’s growth, there is ask her relationship to the icari himself, the wraiths (who were once his wives), the durrough, and the gargoyles. For each she develops compassion, indifferent ways. Expand.
Speaking if the wraiths, I loved the spindle and how she spun love into garments. I also love that her courage is really closely knitted with her compassion for others. I think that’s why she’s able to do what she does at the end.
And thus we came to the surprise in the story: Aeriel turns the icari back into a human. She has fallen in love with him, or as Talb says, she has true love for him.
Is this believable? I think so. It’s clear that Aeriel has developed love of some sort for him. She wants to “free him like the gargoyles.” Her developed sense of kindness appears here for Ikkaryth. Is it necessarily a fully romantic and sexual love? I don’t know. May I still consider if true love. Certainly. True love is only love that can accomplish the remarkable. It doesn’t have to limited by romance.