Author: Laini Taylor
Publication Date: 9/27/11
Publisher: Little Brown
Blurb(GR): 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?
Not just five stars…one million stars, two sister moons, and two pairs of wings in flight. That’s how beautiful this book is. I hope this is a huge hit, and all the kids read it. Listen up kids, this book has everything that you’re looking for: secrets, paranormal creatures, hot guys, best friends; passionate, enduring, forbidden, love…and angst! But unlike all the rest, this one is the real thing.
It’s times like these that I wish I was a real, honest to goodness book fairy, with little wings, a wand, a tutu, and magical powers of course. Kids can simply place whichever one of the mountains of published young adult paranormal romance novels that they’ve purchased in the past few years under their pillows, and I’ll replace them all with this book. Sort of like the tooth fairy. (And after reading this book, the question really begs to be asked: what are you doing with all of those teeth, tooth fairy? WHAT ARE THE TEETH FOR?!)
The beginning of this book is almost lulling in its routine and normalcy. Karou is a young art student in Prague, attending classes, dealing with her obnoxious ex-boyfriend, and going out with her petite best friend Zuzana. She’s a little eccentric, a little odd, but her classmates don’t ask too many questions, and Karou has perfected the art of the non-answer. Her popular journals contain vivid drawings of another world, populated by mythical creatures: part human, part animal, each with detailed traits and peculiarities. “Where do you get your ideas?” her classmates ask, and Karou responds with a trademark little smile and assures them that it’s not made up; it’s all true.
Disquieting little details about Karou’s life are revealed almost casually, and the apprehension grows. Soon the curiosity and apprehension build to outright anxiety and you just have to know. But you don’t want to know. Maybe you think that you’ve already figured out a few things, but "you can’t know until you know.”
Karou’s feelings: her indignation, her terrible curiosity, and her aching loneliness all come across so powerfully and vividly. I think that I felt every single thing that she feels through these pages. I felt immersed in Karou. And just like Karou, so many details and hints became devastatingly clear to me only after it was too late.
The world that Laini Taylor creates is intricate, bright, original, and it will stretch your imagination. The characters are layered with concealed motivations, and they’re heartbreaking and real. The love story is tragic and intense (and takes advantage of perhaps the only justifiable excuse for instalove). And the writing! Beautiful, emotional, lyrical, shattering…all those words don’t even begin to describe it. This woman can write.
But perhaps the most astonishing thing to me is this book’s complete dearth of cynicism. This book is all about love, peace, and the magic of hope.
”Hope can be a powerful force. Maybe there’s no actual magic in it, but when you know what you hope for most and hold it like a light within you, you can make things happen, almost like magic.”
I can’t believe that it got through to me so much, but it really did. I think that it will be difficult for even the most committed of cynics not to be affected by this book.
Perfect Musical Pairing
The Smashing Pumpkins – Muzzle
Okay, so I really like it when I can pair up a writer with a specific group. It gives me a nice little feeling of symmetry. The lyrics of this song apply so perfectly to this story, and when I listened to it I even got a bit emotional about the book so that’s always a good sign.
“All things will surely have to end,
and great loves will one day have to part.”