Thursday, May 31, 2012
Publisher: Little, Brown and Co.
Source: ARC from BEA.
Favorite character: Karou and Brimstone.
Favorite quote: "He was copper and shadow, honey and menace..."
"The air in the grove was rich enough to sip, full enough to dance with."
"Hope is the real magic..." Brimstone
All in all: Breathtaking and beautiful.
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? ~Goodreads.com
Thoughts: I waited so long to read this book. I just kept hesitating every time I saw it on my book pile. When Karen from What It's Worth said she was going to read it, I decided to join her and read it as well. You can read her awesome review HERE. One thing that surprised me is that it didn't start out with a flash like so many books do today to grab your attention. (Well that's what all the writing teachers say right? Start with a punch!) However, this is how most books I've read all my life have started, with an introduction to the main character in order to get to know him/her. I loved it. I was drawn to 17 year old college student, Karou, her artistic flair and her blue hair. The action is like a boulder going downhill and picks up speed as it moves. It also picks up details, emotions, backstory and characters.
The mythology that Taylor creates is breathtaking in it's imagination and scope. The entire tale is one big puzzle that gets unravelled a bit at a time. I have never read a story crafted quite like this one. Even if you don't like Angel and Demon mythology, this story could relate to any two different warring factions.
The author's writing is exquisite and creates a canvas of soul wrenching emotions. Her details are concise, the way she clearly shows Prague and Morroco in so much depth that now I want to visit. The landscapes, the characters, even the war are so well fleshed out that I felt as if I was reading a storybook with pictures as opposed to a novel with only prose. I also want to point out the clever chapter titles.
I like the creepiness of it, the otherworldy-ness as well. How shadows didn't match their owners and the details of some of the demons add to the richness of this world. It feels clandestine and mysterious.
Karou is a wonderful protagonist. Spirited, innocent, kind and impish. She is someone you would definitely want as a friend, someone I would want to be...or would want others to see me like her. "There was almost always something to take delight in, if you were trying." Karou thinks at one point, and this sums up her optimistic character. However, she is lonely at heart and this adds to a wistful presence. Her discovery and growth throughout the story bring even more to her character.
The romance in it is half expected, and some aspects of that didn't work at first, but it all felt right to me eventually. Akiva, the male lead character is fierce and frightening and has a lot to learn, but also has a lot to teach. He has been changed by a past event and will have to re-evalute his perceptions.
This is a sophisticated story with surprises and twists. It brought something different to the table and in a creative style. If you have been waiting to read this book, don't wait any longer!