I am just speechless. I can't even begin to describe what this book was
. Angels, demons, revenants -- so beautifully crafted and fused together that it's a world where everything just works.
When I put this book on hold at the library, I was dying to read it. Its reviews were good, and it was recommended to me, so when I read the summary, I was instantly hooked -- and had high expectations. They did not falter.
I loved how the book started out dark and alluring. It wasn't those typical YA fantasy books such as "a-normal-girl-turned-fantasy-creature," it like this from the beginning. Karou -- which I have to say, I love (the name and her) -- is much like a gofer who retreats teeth from all over the world for Brimstone, a monster who has raised her his whole life and who she considers the closest thing to a father figure. She doesn't know what the teeth are for -- or how important she is; no one has ever told her. She's a mystery.
Black scorching handprints have begun to show on these portal doors that lead to the workshop of Brimstone from all over the world -- and strangers sited as "angels" are the cause for this. So, when Karou's life is nearly cut in half by the portals closing and no longer being able to visit Brimstone, she finds that an angel is stalking her -- Akiva.
But what she doesn't know is how actually twisted their fates are -- and how they are meant to be together.
Compliment #1: Karou. Strong, determined, & beautiful. I envy her rich, electric blue hair; and I love how she does not resort to tears when things get tough. She goes to fighting and anger.
Compliment #2: Akiva. His tiger-like eyes! And he's not mysterious -- though he was in the beginning, and usually I'm not a sucker for crying boys but you can just throw that out the window. I think I love "weeping" boys, especially Akiva. "She felt him shake, weeping, his lips pressed to the crown of her head.
Compliment #3: I love slitted-cat-like eyes. When I publish my works one day, I will be sure to involve a character with slitted eyes. So, Brimstone. I have a lot to say about him, actually -- and I think they all border on the verge of goodness. We are introduced to Brimstone, the tooth collector (almost like a dark twist of the tooth fairy, eh?) almost immediately in the beginning of the story -- cold, composed, and rarely does a compliment ever leave his lips. He grunts in appreciation, nothing else.
Towards the end of the book, when Karou finally figures out who she is, it is memories that come swarming back to her -- and memories that involve everyone around her. Brimstone, I think, in those memories is the most lovable character. Have you ever had a very quiet, aloof type of friend that acts indifferent and cold but truly cares? That's the feeling Brimstone gives at the end, and once you build everything together -- why he acts the way he does, his anger, his weariness and grouchiness -- it all fits. Why he is what he is. And it's beautiful, because the way this character is crafted makes me want to cry because he's so thoughtful and caring and loving and tender.
Brimstone is my official favorite character. And I swear, I felt tears leak in my eyes at the end.
Compliment #4: The romance drew you in just like a storm, though not loud and roaring, but with an intensity and calmness. The first time they met everything was just connected
, and though you could feel it in the characters' minds, you could feel it in yourself, too -- that this was the beginning of a very dangerous and compelling adventure.
Compliment #5: And though this is just something of my personal taste, I loved how this book didn't take place in anywhere near
America! I've never come across a book that took place in a country other than the USA or any other English-speaking country, and it was definite pleasant surprise. I don't speak Czech, but as I do with all my books, I imagine the scenes in my head, so they play out like movies, and so I imagined Karou and Zuzana and Mik speaking in Czech in my mind, though I have no idea how that sounds like (must search it up, to get the feel of their words and tongue, you see). That's why we have imagination, right? :D
Compliment #6: The ending was soooooooooooo unexpected. Because this is the first time I have ever read a book like this (I never knew 'mysterious' until I read Daughter of Smoke & Bone
), so compelling and alluring, like a kitten drawn to milk, I really had no idea how the book would end. Certaintly no happy ending, and obviously there should be a cliffhanger. That's exactly how it happened -- but now, only five minutes after reading this I'm writing this review so that the ideas are still fresh in my mind, and it haunts me. The thing Akiva did! Oh my ... When Karou cares for her monster family so so so so so much and .... It's just ... That was so heartbreaking. Through Taylor's words I could actually feel
Karou's sorrow and determination and love for her foster-monster family. It was all so real ... And the end ... It just blew me away.
I haven't read a book this interesting in such a long time. Four stars, sure, and maybe even five stars, but this good? No, it's been maybe even a year.