Reading level: Young Adult
Size: 432 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: September 27, 2011
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the series
Source: Audibook from Audible.com
Rating: 4/5 stars
This it the first book in a series and the second book, Days of Blood and Starlight, releases Sept 2012. I had been wanting to read this book for a long time and ended up listening to it on audiobook. The audiobook was very well done. The story itself was engaging, creative, and absolutely magical in the beginning. Towards the end it got a bit too emo for me. I enjoyed it overall.
Karou draws fanciful pictures, has bright blue hair, and disappears on mysterious errands. Little do her friends know that she lives with some creatures that aren’t quite human. She runs errands collecting teeth for the demon like creature named Brimstone, who uses them for something unknown. Karou wants answers to the mysteries surrounding her. Then an angel named Akiva tries to kill her and black handprints start appearing on doors around the world. Well Karou is about to get her answers and it is pretty certain she won’t like a lot of them.
This book is very creative and magical and absolutely enchanting. The descriptions are beautiful and the wide variety of international settings charming and intriguing. Most of the story takes place in Prague, but Karou ends up all over the world on her errands for Brimstone.
Karou has an innocence about her that is charming. She is excited about everything, yet is sometimes lonely and sad. She is a wonderful character and was wonderful fun to read about.
Akiva was a good character too, but at times he got a bit too mysterious and tortured for me. Him and Karou do have wondeful chemistry together and I loved watching them unravel the mystery of Karou and her past.
As the story continues the plot broadens and Akiva and Karou are drawn into an ages old epic struggle between two competing races. As with many of these books featuring angels, there are some interesting questionsbrought up about religion…these are never explicit but you can’t help but wonder about them given the context.
The only thing that really got to me was towards the end of the book. It takes forever for Karou’s past to be revealed. Akiva is tortured for so long and wavers between loving Karou openly and worrying about what she will think when she finds out the truth. This emotional struggle was discussed too much and too long and I just wanted Akiva to get over himself and get on with it. Once we got past this part of the story though things improved.
There isn’t much resolution in this story. This are pretty much left handing at the end. So just be aware of that when you start reading this book. If that type of thing bothers you I would wait to read this until the second book is released.
Overall a very creative and enchanting story about love and a war between two ancient races. The descriptions are beautiful, Karou is an absolutely wonderful character, and the world-building is incredibly well done. Some of the emotional scenes between Karou and Akiva were very drawn out, but that is really the only complaint I have. I will defintiely be reading Days of Blood and Starlight to see how everything resolves.