Sunday, July 05, 2009

Starred Review!!!

Yippeeee! Great news: Silksinger is getting a *starred review* from Kirkus in the July 15 issue.

Here it is:

Dreamdark: Silksinger. Laini Taylor. Illus. by Jim Di Bartolo. (Putnam 9780399246319)

Thumb-sized mage/warrior Magpie Windwitch’s quest to find and wake the creation-weaving Djinn moves one step closer to completion but also suffers a major reverse in this headlong sequel to Dreamdark: Blackbringer (formerly Fairies of Dreamdark: Blackbringer, 2007). On the trail of the Djinn Azazel, Magpie and her allies wing into the fairy city of Nazneen too late to prevent young Whisper, last of the Silksinger clan, and the sleeping Djinn she guards from falling into the clutches of the deliciously frightening general Ethiag and Ethiag’s mysterious Master. Replete with desperate fights and flights, the plot races along to a rousing climax—and then a stunning betrayal that both renders the fairies’ victory a qualified one at best and leaves the ending open for a direct segue into the next episode. Equally adept at folding in both low humor and elevated imagery and language, Taylor expertly weaves multiple story lines into another ripping yarn, once again taking readers into an uncommonly well-articulated world where the magic follows credible rules and the fairies are anything but the sugarplum sort. (Fantasy. 11-13)

Thank you, Kirkus! I love Kirkus; they also gave Blackbringer a starred review :-)

In "domestic news", Jim is currently putting the third coat of varnish on the wood floors, while Leroy and I are comfortably lounging away from the fumes at my parents' house. He'll get a fourth coat on this afternoon and be done. Yay! Then it's on to the many other projects that are underway:

--Painting the living room. It just had to be done; have to take advantage of the room being empty for the first time in 8 years. I got a really pretty light honey-colored paint to replace the red, which I'm feeling rather done with. With the new floors and lighter walls, that room will be transformed. Can't wait to see it!

--Painting the new nursery; I've primed and spackled and caulked, now it needs to be sanded and painted. The new carpet will go in probably Tuesday. Out of fear of off-gassing and VOCs and all that chemical crap in carpets, we found a lovely wool carpet in the remnant room of a local carpet warehouse for a steal.

--Painting our bedroom. Adjacent to the new nursery, with an open arch door between them; the colors will look lovely together: tangerine for the nursery, a light teal blue for the bedroom.

--Painting the bathroom. That's a light grass green, beautiful.

(What's with all the $^&@*%!!! painting??? Well, we've been in the house 8-1/2 years; you just get bored of stuff after a while, plus it gets dingy. And once you start . . . you just kind of want to keep going. It's going to be fabulous when it's all done. But . . . maybe it's a little psycho to be taking it on just now. Race against the calendar! Ah well, nesting impulse!

--Stair risers! I'm excited about this one. Inspired by decorative painting projects undertaken at Maryam's fabulous house/B&B Peacock Pavilions in Morocco (My Marrakesh, a favorite blog of mine), I got the notion to paint the stair risers. This was the initial inspiration:
Isn't it beautiful? See, this group of decorative painters from the States have now made two trips to Morocco to work on Maryam's house, and the results are spectacular. You can see much more at Maryam's blog here and here, and by navigating around. The designer, Melanie, also has a blog, Design Amour (this link to another stairway they did at Peacock Pavilions), and a business that sells decorative painting stuff, including this Morocco-inspired line of stencils. I've picked out three simple patterns and will alternate stairs, in a limited palette that pulls in the colors of the surrounding rooms. I haven't actually ordered the stencils yet, so this project may be a while in the doing, but it's going to be so cool. Here's another example of some cool decorative risers:
For ease of painting, I'm going to ask the contractor to cut pieces of plywood or whatever he thinks best to the right sizes and paint them before installing. Our stairway is kind of tucked away, so it won't make a big design impact on the house, but will be a nice surprise when you round the corner. So fun!

Suffice it to say, the house is a shambles right now, with the few rooms not undergoing projects currently stuffed with furniture and stuff from the rest of the house. And then there are the various fumes, which accounts for me not being there. Anyway, surely more than anyone cares to know. It'll be so nice to be done with everything and post pictures. You know how awesome it is to chill out in a freshly cleaned house? Well, I'm imagining that when we're finally done, it will be like that times a hundred. Whew. And perhaps just in time to bring Professor home to it :-) We'll tell her the house is always that tidy; she won't know the difference! August 1 draws near . . . wonder when Professor will decide it's time to emerge? Early, late, on time? Who knows? Hopefully not early, though! There's too much work to finish first!

Cheers! Oh, and Leroy says hello :-)


BJW said...

hello Leroy, Linus gives his regards.

Bravo on the Kirkus starred review. I can't wait to re-enter this "uncommonly well-articulated world" for my second visit. Poor Jim, that much varnish is gonna send you to the moon.

: )

tanita✿davis said...


I know that feels good.

And it sounds perfectly reasonably to be totally remodeling your house right before your baby comes. You're going to have to look at it for awhile w/o much time to do anything about it, so may as well do it now as later. And your STAIRS will be AWESOME. I have plans to do riser decor with mosaic tiles -- I was going to do random, but I think rotating designs is a good plan. Sounds very cool.

Once again, congratulations!

Natalie Whipple said...

What a lovely review! How exciting. Also, those stairs are freaking cool. If I ever get a house, I'm so doing that.

tone almhjell said...

Yay for the starred review! Can't wait to read Silksinger, I really can't.

As for the nesting - ity sounds wonderful, especially the colours. I just hope you have time to eat strawberries and ice cream and hang out on the couch between the bouts of manual labour. You certainly are amazingly full of energy!

Say hello back to Leroy <3

persnickety_jen said...

Congrats on the starred review in Kirkus, Laini! I loved SILKSINGER (I was the person who won the Bookbabe auction) and I'm glad it's getting some industry love!

Those stair risers are gorgeous... seeing stuff like that makes me want to leave the apartment life behind and buy my own little house to fix up. But I have a horrible suspicion that I'd end up like my mom, who redecorates a room every year. Hahaha.

Anonymous said...

Hullo there, Leroy.

Those stairs looked so beautiful! I must have some like that...when I'm living in my own house, that is. This has inspired me to paint my bedroom this summer! Too bad my parents won't let me. Hmm...maybe I can shake 'em down. Good luck with the nursery! Your baby girl will love it, even though she'll be too young to form artistic opinions. 0.0

Laini Taylor said...

Hi Ben! Jim's wearing a gas-mask-looking contraption, so the fumes shouldn't harm him. Still: not too much fun!

Tanita, are you still in Scotland? Do you guys have a house back in California?

Tone, I'm relaxing now, gathering my strength for much painting and nesting :-)

Jen, aw, that was you who bought the ARC? Thank you so much! I was so pleased that it fetched a good price for a good cause!!!

Jehsyka, your parents should let you! Especially if you're willing to do the work yourself. Just remember that the prep is the hard part: taping off the ceiling and trim, etc. Once you get all that done, painting is easy, just monotonous. Good luck!

Commander Kip said...

Hi, Leroy! *waves*

Wow, I can't wait to see pictures of the newly painted goodness! So exciting! And congrats on the starred review! XD

By the way, the art I tried to send you came back with one of those horrid 'return to sender' stickers on it... but we sent it again, with the correct address (hopefully) this time. Sigh. I'm terrible with numbers. So sorry for the delay!

Lexi said...

EEE! Congratulations! Silksinger SO deserves it!

A few years ago we painted the house (hallways, bedrooms, etc.) ourselves, and when it got repainted this year, the people who did it for us insisted on repeatedly insulting our sloppy work. Oh well.

Hi Leroy. My do syas hello back.

Amber Lough said...

Congratulations!!!! Silksinger deserves all the stars it will get!

Sarah Beth Durst said...

YAY! Congrats on the star!

Those stairs look cool.

Hope you're feeling well.

Lisa Schroeder said...

Congrats on the star! Can't wait to read it. And the house is going to so lovely when it's all done, I just know it.

Cuppa Jolie said...

Huge congrats, Laini!

My girls put on their faerie tattoos last night! I must say they look mighty cute. Don't know that I got the best pics of them, but will be sending them your way soon. They don't want to take them off. :)

Marianne said...

Huge congratulations on the very well deserved starred review. I loved Silksinger in manuscript form and am awaiting patiently it's arrival in my mailbox in final format - but I already know it is a brilliant, gripping yarn.

having never nested I don't quite understand the impulse to repaint everything before the arrival of a tiny wee human who won't even be able to see the walls for a good few weeks but I have seen the same pattern in many wise friends so I trust it is all in good order.

The stair risers look fabulous - inspired idea.


Anonymous said...

Congrats on the review!

Those stairs look completel awesome. They almost remind me of a wedding cake. :P

Tell Leroy I say WOOF! :)

Amber said...

Yay for that great review! It makes me want to pick it up. (if I didn't already want to, I mean. ;)

I LOVE painted stair risers. So cool. That black and whit eone, was in Cottage Living a bit ago, I believe. In our new house, we will have stairs. But we have to wait to get our wood floors. But I SO want to do something like that. It adds so much character.


Heather said...

Laini - what a lovely review, and well deserved. I can't wait to see Silksinger in final print form - I'm going to have to read Blackbringer all over again (oh darnit!)

Looking forward to the arrival of little Professor - her parents are so cool!

Christine Fletcher said...

Yay for the review! I cannot wait to read Silksinger, and my friend in L.A. is over the moon that it'll be out soon. (ooh--I rhymed!)

Those stair risers are kickass!

Anonymous said...

I am looking forward to reading Silksinger! Congrats on the review!

Those risers are great looking, and the nursery-nook sounds so perfect. I can't wait to see pictures of all of your lovely "new" rooms, I do hope you'll post some. :)


Stephanie Perkins said...


I'm so happy for you! The starred review could not be more deserved. May many, many more follow!

K said...

Congratulations on the Kirkus review! :D

Wow, your radiant energy shows right through your post! Your house will be wonderful for Professor's arrival. :D Nesting is great! :D

Melanie said...

Laini, Best of luck with your projects and thanks for featuring our painted stairs! I can't wait to see pics of YOURS!

storyqueen said...

Congratulations on the review! The first of many great ones, I'm sure.

The black and white staircase......sigh. It makes me want to go right now and rip the horrible gray carpet off of my stairs.

But....too lazy.....


Camille said...

Staring at my walls thinking "light honey-colored paint" would be lovely. Share photos if you can. It sounds just beautiful.

BookWyrm said...

Congratz on the Star! It's totally deserved. I loved Silksinger even more than Blackbringer, which I didn't think possible!

Those stairs are awesome, makes me wish I had stairs to paint!