Author: Laini Taylor
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: June 5, 2012
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?
I have checked this book out from the library more than once and I even tried listening to it as an audiobook but for some reason I couldn't get past the first chapter. Now that the third and final book in the series has been published I decided to try it once again and I am so glad that I did. Once I got to chapter three or four I was completely hooked.
First, I absolutely loved Karou and Akiva and the setting. The more I got to know Karou and her unusual family and friends the more I wanted to know. I wish we could have learned more about Akiva but I suspect that will happen in the next book. Setting the action primarily in Prague and Marakesh added the necessary "Old World" feel.
Second, the nature of the main characters and the conflict between them was fascinating to me. I have always loved Native American literature that focus on origin stories and this book certainly had great ones. The angels reminded me of the angels in Angelology by Danielle Trussoni. These are not angels from childhood stories, they are beautiful and fierce, full of vengeance and loyalty. I personally find it fascinating when authors develop stories around these types of angels. I also loved reading about the chimeras and imagining what each of them would look like. It's not often that I wish for illustrations in my books but this was one where I would have loved them.
In addition to appreciating all the main characters, the angels, and chimera, I thought the plot was a perfect balance of suspense and reveal. The story kept me wondering just what was going to happen next while providing me with enough to understand what was going on. Unfortunately, I find a lot of the plots in fantasy YA to be rather predictable but not this book. I had to practically tape the last chapter closed so I wouldn't cheat and read ahead.
As I said at the beginning, this book didn't originally connect with me but I am so glad that I finally read it and am looking forward to the next two. Fortunately book two was available at my local library and I am only fifth on the list for book three.
Posted By: Sheri