I'll be the first to admit it - I have the biggest author crush on Laini. I didn't think she could write anything better than LT:TT, but I was wrong. Dead wrong."Blackbringer" has the elements of a childhood classic. Taylor mixes mythology, fairy lore, naturism, and steampunk into her pages, and the result is a story that is touching, sad, beautiful and downright outstanding. I believe I can say that Taylor writes outside of the formula, and leaves her audience fulfilled and starved for more. I wish that this story had a sequel. However, this book can stand on its own feet, without falling into the faddish sequel-o-rama that is populating the field at the moment. Magpie is an ideal female role model. She isn't restricted to the female young adult prototype of strong/anti-feminist, sweet/loyal, or indifferent/secret hottie. 'Pie is, in fact, a hero that happens to be a girl. Once again, Taylor celebrates womanhood and female characters without shoving the whole "pink" and "anti-pink" personality. Magpie is a female, and that doesn't confine her to struggle with who she is, or fight for her place in the world. I have fallen in love with a majority of YA and children literature, but the struggle to endorse or fight the feminine stereotype is becoming stale and tasteless.The story is a beautiful web of subplots and themes that tie together like a (sorry, I have to add this) well-made tapestry of characters, events, and settings. Taylor plays her field like a wizened musician, with each melody blending together and in unison to make a wonderful fairie tale. Everyone has a role, everyone has a story, and everyone has a place. What robbed the book of one star for an otherwise 5-star book? The same thing that shot down a star in LT:TT. I know that Laini owns cats, but she seems to love to hate them in her writing! It just really irks me how cats are treated like stereotypical "bad guys"! It is the cat-lover coming out in me, but nonetheless, it really robs me of enjoyment.I would be more than happy to present this book as a class assignment for an upper elementary class. It is tasteful, endearing, and presents "old-school" fairies, allowing buding girls to identity with a whole new class of fae and shed a new light on a girl-favorite creature.