Dreamdark: Silksinger written by Laini Taylor and illustrated by Jim Di Bartolo (Putnam Juvenile, 2009)
Seven Djinn wove the Tapestry of Creation and ruled the world they had made. Four thousand years ago, the Djinn retreated from the world and became sleeping embers. Today, the Djinn Magruwen is awake and the Djinn Vritra is dead - murdered by the Blackbringer. The remaining Djinn are hidden in different lands and must be found so that they can reweave the threadbare Tapestry of Creation before darkness overcomes it.
One of the dreaming Djinn, the Azazel, is in the care of Whisper Silksinger. Whisper is the last of her clan, the guardian clan of the Azazel. She is a scamperer, a faerie without wings, and must somehow traverse a dangerous mountain range to get to the city of Nazneen. The Azazel will only awaken once he has been set on his throne in Nazneen.
Many are seeking the Azazel. Devils are hunting Whisper to get their filthy hands on the Djinn. The mysterious faerie mercenary Hirik Moonshrive is also seeking the Azazel. And the faerie Magpie Windwitch's task as a Djinn champion is to reunite the Azazel with the Magruwen. Then there are the secret leaders of the devils...
I am convinced that Laini Taylor (my new favorite fantasy writer!) is a Djinn. Using words instead of magical glyphs, she has woven the rich Tapestry of Creation known as Silksinger. It is an exquisite and delightful world populated by faeries, crows, devils, hobgoblins, imps, and Djinn. She has taken her Tapestry's threads and has woven well-rounded characters that readers will care about and almost non-stop action and adventure that will entertain and engage those readers.
Even though Silksinger has a satisfying ending, I wanted it to go on forever. It is the kind of fantasy fiction that stirs readers' imagination and makes them see the real world with new eyes. It is the kind of fantasy fiction so inspiring that it will have readers seeing magic in the everyday.
[I bought my own copy of Silksinger so that I could read it as a Cybils judge.]