Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.
In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.
And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.
Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”; she speaks many languages not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.
When one of the strangers—beautiful, haunted Akiva—fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?
For some reason, I had been putting off reading this book for quite some time now. I don’t know why. Maybe the cover, although gorgeous, didn’t pull me in. Yeah, yeah, I’m kind of shallow when it comes to covers. But two days back, my brother and I had gone laptop shopping and while my brother was busy checking out all the cool new features in his laptop, I got bored and opened up this book on my e-reader. And I instantly knew I would love it.
I can write paragraphs on Laini Taylor’s writing style alone, but I’ll try to keep it short. It was simply spectacular. The descriptions pop off the page and hit you over the head like a sledgehammer, making you feel as though you are seeing Prague and Marrakesh and Brimstone’s shop with your own eyes. This book reminded me of why I started loving fantasy and still do. The story kicks off at an impressive speed and it is so thrilling that I couldn’t put the book down for ten hours straight. Yeah. It was that good.
And the characters! Oh, God, they were so beautifully written. You can feel Karou’s anguish as if it were your own and I loved Brimstone and Issa. And Zuzana? I wish Laini Taylor would write a book about Zuzana once she finishes Karou’s story. I loved Zuzana almost as much as Karou. The girl is seriously, side-splittingly funny! Every character in the book was amazingly crafted. I just wish when I write a book, I can manage to capture the essence of each character in such a beautiful way.
Coming to the topic of the love interest, I didn’t realize this book was going to be a romance from the way things started out. I mean, we see Akiva for the first time only about 35% into the book. But after he does enter the plot, we start to realize that the entire plot of the book wouldn’t happen if not for the romance. Which kinda, sorta disappointed me because I hugely appreciate a well-executed plot that doesn’t revolve around the “lurv” between the leads. But oh, well. It has been so hard to come across a good YA book nowadays that I let that slide. Because honestly? Even though the book was all about Akiva and Karou’s romance, I didn’t cringe while reading it. Karou is an independent and strong character who even the hardest cynics (me?) will like. If anything, I was a little let down by Akiva. He just didn’t light my fire, if you know what I mean. But like I said, he didn’t make me cringe either, so he is in the safe zone. The book did kind of drag (just a little) during the past-Karou-Akiva scenes, but it quickly picked up momentum after that.
The world building is awesome and I loved the idea that the seraph and the chimaera were not biblical creatures, but rather two warring races. I am definitely reading the next book and I so dearly hope it doesn’t let me down.