I recently had the privilege of reading a brilliant fantasy novel by the extremeley talented American author Meredith Ann Pierce. The novel is entitled The Darkangel and is one of two other books that compose The Darkangel Trilogy. The other two books are entitled A Gathering of Gargoyles and The Pearl of the Soul of the World. The Darkangel is centered around a young slave girl named Aeriel who has been born into a slavery system on a planet whose name remains unclear. The Planet has its own sun called Solstar and another heavenly body called Oceanus that hangs in the sky. The planet has its own races of people and distinct lands and kingdoms as well. The planet also seems full of many mystical and magical creatures and beings. Some righteous, and some evil. A wedding is to take place in Aeriel's village by nightfall and she and her mistress, Eoduin, are to gather flower used to make a wedding drink from the nearby mountainside. After they hike their way up the mountain and are starting to return, Eoduin and Aeriel are caught by fear when an evil flying vampire called an Icarus kidnaps Eoduin and flies away with her. Aeriel knows the Icarus from tales to be a Darkangel. Aeriel, ashamed, frightened, and blamed for her mistress's abduction, sets out to kill the Darkangel. The Icarus returns to find her waiting for him on the mountain, she is overcome by him and kidnapped as well. He carries her off to his castle where she is to serve, care, and weave for his thirteen brides who were once beautifl maidens who have had their blood, beauty, and souls stolen by The Darkangel. Aeriel is unable to tell which one is her mistress as they all have been reduced to hallowed wraiths and look extremely alike. The Darkangel informs her that is she attempts to leave he will kill her as he did the last girl he captured. Aeriel is also responsible for her own food and drink. She accidentally (or perhaps not) befriends a small man called Talb who is a darough. Daroughs generally live under the ground and turn to stone in sunlight and again to flesh in shadow. She quickly learns that little man is a mage and can perform small feats of magic. Also, she learns from the wraiths and the darough that the vampire will soon fly to take a fourteenth and final bride. Aeriel, assisted by the darough, driven by the wraiths and the desire to help Eoduin, sets out on a perlious and adventerous journey to destroy the Darkangel once and for all. But can Aeriel being the girl she is and having the heart she has kill the evil but beautiful icarus? I won't tell. Read the novel and nourish your curiosity.