This is my first book for the Beating the Backlist reading challenge. I’ve had this book on my shelf for years, and was so glad when it was one of the ones chosen by my Twitter poll.
Around the world, black hand prints 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 grows dangerously low.
And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly 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 beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery 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?
Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love. It did not end well.
Laini Taylor has an incredible writing style, effortlessly lyrical and her descriptions of characters, areas and plot in general are stunningly beautiful. She described Prague in such a manner that I instantly wanted to book myself on a plane, and visit all the sites mentioned in the book.
This was a take on the *Angel falls in love with Devil* trope, but where the devils are actually Chimera, creatures made up of human and animal aspects. Karou is a human who was brought up in two worlds; the human world we all know, and Brimstone’s shop, a place that is “elsewhere” with doors able to reach it in multiple countries. Karou has grown up to be somewhat of a courier/messanger for Brimstone and the other Chimera that inhabit his shop, the magical door taking her wherever needed. One day while on an errand for Brimstone she has a run in with a Seraphim and barely escapes with her life.
Akiva is a Seraphim, bred from birth to be a warrior but that all changes when he is saved on a battlefield by a Chimera named Madrigal. Their story is one of forbidden love, wishes and ultimately death. With his soul haunted from his loss, he takes it upon himself to seek revenge on those he blames for the death of the woman he loved. Though not all he seeks are guilty. When Akiva and Karou meet they set off a chain of events that changes both of their lives, not necessarily for the better.
This was such a refreshing YA read, with forbidden romance, magic and a centuries old war. I fell head first in this story and it has stayed with me long after finishing it. I will definitely be picking up the next two books in the series, especially after the cliffhanger ending that Taylor left us on. This was an easy 5/5 for me. I thoroughly enjoyed everything about this book, and can see after reading it why Laini Taylor is such a big name in fantasy fiction.