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?
I kind of had higher expectations for this book since it was highly rated and I really liked the summary on the inside cover. I loved the idea of a female artist sketching what she sees, be it real or not because I could relate as an artist as well (sketchbooks ftw!). The author did an excellent job describing what it's like to sketch fluidly. :)
The main character, Karou is strong and I like that she's independent and for the most part able to take care of herself. However, she's kept in the dark about her heritage and for ridiculous reasons. I find it terribly annoying when parent's/people think that hiding the truth seems to protect the person when it's their protecting (and hiding secrets) that seems to get them into trouble. That is what happens in this case where it would have been better to just tell the truth from the start.
The beginning started off strong but it just kind of went all over the place as it went on. There were flash backs which kind of threw me off as there was a lot that needed to be clarified that wasn't explained along the way. They were clean breaks, but still kind of annoying. I was able to predict who Karou was early on. The author didn't leave too much mystery about that. I was kind of hoping that Karou was a descendent of forbidden love of an Angel and a Chimera, which I know is kind of stereotypical but still fun.
Akiva was a bit of a let down, he was fierce at the beginning but then became so vulnerable when he realized who Karou was which I guess is fine but felt like he could have been stronger. He made a lot of mistakes that ultimately cost him which is a shame. I just feel like he wasn't expanded as much of a character as he could have been. I do like that he's loyal and is willing to fight to protect but it's sad to see him torn having to choose his love or family. The same with Karou with her love and family.
Don't get me wrong, I liked a lot of the aspects in the book. I liked Zuzana who was a good friend along the way and I liked Karou. I even liked Karou's Chimera family in all their eccentricities. I find it interesting that the author identify the Chimera as the devils and the Seraphs as Angels. It shows that the Chimera have heart and love and actually seem to make the Seraphs seem cold and heartless based on this book. A bit of a switch from the normal biblical-like story.
However, I just felt the telling of the story could have been better, more clean instead of dropping us snippets to clarify the history. There was a lot of building up and no big announcements or jaw hanging moments to leave the reader wanting more. It just felt like a long ride to the top of a roller coaster but you already know what the view at the top looks like that when you reach the top it just seems a bit dull. You just continue on the ride to see if there is a big finish at the end but there isn't.
I also felt like the big reveal was hinted at throughout the book at certain times but in the end it wasn't that big. The ending left me feeling disappointed at Akiva's mistake, Karou's lack of forgiveness, and I wasn't sure I was looking forward to the next book.... It just seemed silly where it ended that it wasn't conclusive enough to me to warrant the end of that book enough to leave me wanting more. I'll probably read the next book to see if it gets better but it's not high on my TBR list.
3 out of 5 rating for me.