Author: Laini Taylor
Paperback 420 pages
First published September 27th 2011 by Hodder Paperback
In general, Karou has managed to keep her two lives in balance. On the one hand, she’s a seventeen-year-old art student in Prague; on the other, errand-girl to a monstrous creature who is the closest thing she has to family. Raised half in our world, half in ‘Elsewhere’, she has never understood Brimstone’s dark work – buying teeth from hunters and murderers – nor how she came into his keeping. She is a secret even to herself, plagued by the sensation that she isn’t whole.
Now the doors to Elsewhere are closing, and Karou must choose between the safety of her human life and the dangers of a war-ravaged world that may hold the answers she has always sought.
“Once upon a time, an angels and a devil fell in love. It did not end well.”
Alright, where do I even start. Uhm… Awesome cover right?!
In truth; this is a re-read because actually I already read the book in 2012. Last Wednesday I did the Top 5 Wednesday meme and this week’s topic was about books I’d want to re-read, this book was on that list (shocking, right?). So I decided, after writing the post and finishing my previous re-read (The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell), that I’d read this jewel next in order to write a proper review. So, here goes!
It was so great to re-read this again!
Not only because is this just a great book in general, but earlier this year I had the chance to actually visit Prague , and that changed some things for me (click the link to see my post about my visit). It seems like a small difference because Taylor often describes the city or parts of it quite well, however, to me it was such a great difference! This time around, I could actually picture everything in front of me with things that I’d really seen like the Charles Bridge, the hill with the medieval castle on top (it really does seem magical), and some of the beautifully decorated buildings in all colours and sizes.
I really appreciated Taylor’s efforts to describe every city or place that Karou visited, everything was really alive. Here’s an example about Prague:
“The streets of Prague were a fantasia scarcely touched by the twenty-first century—or the twentieth or nineteenth, for that matter. It was a city of alchemists and dreamers, its medieval cobbles once trod by golems, mystics, invading armies. Tall houses glowed goldenrod and carmine and eggshell blue, embellished with Rococo plasterwork and capped in roofs of uniform red. Baroque cupolas were the soft green of antique copper, and Gothic steeples stood ready to impale fallen angels. The wind carried the memory of magic, revolution, violins, and the cobbled lanes meandered like creeks. Thugs wore Motzart wigs and pushed chamber music on street corners, and marionettes hung in windows, making the whole city seem like a theater with unseen puppeteers crouched behind velvet.”
The other world was also quite well described although there could have been a little more detail, but I think that Elsewhere will be described in some more detail in the next book. I’ll just sit and wait for that :’)
I’ll leave the world building for now, because I really want to discuss the characters and some of the writing. You see, for some reason I am conflicted. On the one hand I am overjoyed and I have nothing to say, but the more I think about it the more I feel like I’m somewhat irritated by two things really: 1. the perfectness of some of the characters 2. the points of view.
Bear with me, I’ll explain a little later because I do want to stress that the characters (even though most were flat characters) were absolutely amazing. The way they were described, some even got a little bit of background, and most importantly; all of them had a part to play in the story (even though some parts seemed to be just minor).
Now, why did I feel so conflicted about the two points that I mentioned a little bit earlier.
1. I will not go into a lot of detail, simply because I don’t want to spoil anything and I want you to make up your own mind, but honestly; not everyone is handsome/perfect. Some of the characters have an excuse to be pretty, but almost everyone is handsome a.f. in one way or another, and that was getting on my nerves (most certainly at the end). Now don’t get me wrong because I am not saying that I entirely believe the whole; looks don’t matter it’s the inside that counts, but it seems like this book is mostly about looks and barely about the character of the characters.
2. The points of view remark is actually more of a personal preference, but I think that it would have worked well for this book. There are actually only two points of view; Karou and Akiva. And even though I did like most of it, I probably would have liked it more if the narration was 3rd person. Why? Well, now you get the ins and outs of Karou and Akiva, but there’s no real depth in the other characters. I would have liked to know much more about certain events that were not described in Karou or Akiva’s p.o.v. simply because they were not present when it happened.
This being said I did like the writing itself because it was easy to follow, and I didn’t feel like there was any forceful adding of information, which gave a natural quick flow to the whole story. The fact that not all chapters were forced to be above more than 5 pages or so was a pleasant surprise, because it fit the way that the book was written.
(I’ve been doing some research and I found out that there is a whole wiki about this book haha so if you want to have a detailed summary and detailed character descriptions, click this link).
Overall I really liked this books and I wasn’t able to put it down. When I finished the book, it barely felt like I read 420 pages. There was a quick pace, and nothing really felt forced to me. Even though I would have liked two minor points to be different, I really loved the story, characters, and writing. Simply put: I was completely hooked. I can’t wait to start on the sequel ^_^ I give this book 4.5 stars.
Have you read this book? If yes, what did you think? Who was your favourite character? (because I’m not sure if I have a favourite character :’)) and if you haven’t read the book yet; when are you going to start! This book is amazing!
Leave your reactions in the comment section below ^_^