The story tells of Karou, a blue-haired seventeen year old art student in Prague who leads a double life. In one, she’s Karou the artist, complaining about her teachers, going out with her best friend to their local café/diner, avoiding her ex-boyfriend and living in a small apartment by herself. In the other, she’s Karou the messenger to Brimstone, a monster-like creature (chimaera), who isn’t from this world but from Elsewhere, and who is the closest thing she has to family. Brimstone’s work is a mystery to Karou; she just goes where he tells her and collects teeth from suppliers. You read correctly: teeth. As the story goes on, the doors are being closed to Elsewhere all over the world, and strange winged figures are spotted everywhere. When the door to the shop that the chimaera live in is shut and marked with a black hand print, Karou can longer get in contact with Brimstone and the other. She meets Akiva, a seraphim, or angel, who eventually tells her the answers to all her questions about what’s going on, why she has been in Brimstone’s care for as long as she can remember, why she has eyes tattooed on her palms, and why there is a door to an entire city in the basement of Brimstone’s store.
With twists and turns, fallen angels, incredibly kind chimaera – or demons – beads that grant wishes, a hilarious best friend, and untold stories from the past, this was a great read, with page turning events and interesting – and some of the time disturbing – characters. Laini Taylor has a great writing style, I found, and has the right balance of description, dialogue and background story, something which often annoys me in other books. I really enjoyed the spin she’s put on the sort of classic demon=bad, angel=good idea, and, perhaps it’s because Karou is the main character, but it was written in a way that I found myself liking the demon in the story a lot more than the angel. And let’s face it, that doesn’t happen often, does it? One thing that you may have to look out for if you read this is that it does jump back in time quite a bit, and can get a little confusing if you weren’t paying attention for that one important “we’re-jumping-back-in-time-now” sentence.
But I do recommend it if you’re a fantasy lover. I haven’t read a fantasy book in a while, although it’s my favourite genre, because I’ve been reading so many dystopian novels, but I’m glad that I read this one! Can’t wait to borrow the next one! Five stars, Laini, five stars.
This post was written by guest reviewer Anjali.
Cover image via goodreads