Synopsis (for the first book):
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.
Review (warning, may contain spoilers):
I do not know where to start with this. I finished the last book in the series 2 hours ago and all I want to do is pick them all back up, read them and then hug them, hide them from the world. Some books are so good you don’t want anyone else reading it, and that is, for me, what this book is. (then why, I head you say, are you writing a review? Because I also love it so much EVERYONE IN THE WORLD should read it.)
Okay. Let’s start with the writing.
People say magic doesn’t exist. I refuse to accept this, after reading the magic Laini crafts while writing. Its beautiful and descriptive and just…wonderful.
Examples, I hear you cry?
“Karou wished she could be the kind of girl who was complete unto herself, comfortable in solitude, serene. But she wasn’t. She was lonely, and she feared the missingness within her as if it might expand and… cancel her. She craved a presence beside her, solid. Fingertips light at the nape of her neck and a voice meeting hers in the dark. Someone who would wait with an umbrella to walk her home in the rain, and smile like sunshine when he saw her coming. Who would dance with her on her balcony, keep his promises and know her secrets, and make a tiny world wherever he was, with just her and his arms and his whisper and her trust.”
“She had been innocent once, a little girl playing with feathers on the floor of a devil’s lair. She wasn’t innocent now, but she didn’t know what to do about it. This was her life: magic and shame and secrets and teeth and a deep, nagging hollow at the center of herself where something was most certainly missing.”
“Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a new way of living—one without massacres and torn throats and bonfires of the fallen, without revenants or bastard armies or children ripped from their mothers’ arms to take their turn in the killing and dying.
Once, the lovers lay entwined in the moon’s secret temple and dreamed of a world that was a like a jewel-box without a jewel—a paradise waiting for them to find it and fill it with their happiness.
This was not that world.”
Its so simple yet so wonderful, and each word draws you into this strange world inside.
Secondly, the characters.
Each character is so beautifully made that you want to pluck them from the pages and wrap them in a blanket just to protect them (yes, even though they are meant to be angles and demons, you just want to protect them)
Firstly, Karou, our blue haired girl, who has a strange, hidden family. The same family that has secrets and mysteries that could change the world. Karou is a brilliant character. She’s a girl that’s not afraid of anything; and she grows as the series goes on.
Her best friend, Zuzana, is fearsome and loyal and everything anyone would ever wish for. (wish. *snigger*)
Akiva, the beautiful person whose duty is everything to him…until something bigger than a war turns up.
And those are just the main three from the first book. You meet more and more characters in the whole series, some you feel a burning rage for, others you just want to steal for yourself. (mine? Ziri, who you meet in the second book.)
And, as always, with characters, there are relationships. What I love about this series is, even though its a ‘romantic’ series, its not you are thinking about right now. You know the type, where characters realise after only glancing at each other, that they should be together and for the whole book, entire chapters are about them just locking lips? THIS IS NOT THAT BOOK. It was so refreshing to not have a book like that, even though a main part of it is about love.
This is a book about love, hope, war and life. Its a book full of twists and turns and heart wrenching emotions. One that will keep you up late into the night and almost crying when you close the last page.
This is a book every fantasy lover should get their hands on.
“Once upon a time, an angel lay dying in the mist.
And a devil knelt over him and smiled.”