Author: Laini Taylor
Publisher: Little, Brown
Release Date: September 27, 2011
Number of Pages: 420
Source of Book: ARC borrowed from Tara @ Fiction Folio
Author's Website: www.lainitaylor.com
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 otherworldly 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?
*************************Laini Taylor's writing is beautiful, but in that way that it doesn't jump out at you and take you out of the story, it is just woven subtly in as part of the story and you don't realize how beautiful it is until you get to a stopping point and heave a deep sigh of relaxation from having enjoyed the writing and been lost and wrapped up completely in the world she created. The artistry with which she weaves storylines together between the two different main characters and between the present with flashbacks of backstory is enticing. There is a twist in the plot about two-thirds of the way through that almost changes the books into a different story, but it's of utmost importance to our understanding and works so well the way Laini has written it.
And the setting...the book mainly takes pace in Prague and in Laini's deft hand, the mystery, history, and beauty of this city lives and breathes its own life into the novel. There are exotic settings around the world (and in fantasy realms) throughout, and each one is written to evoke its own individual mood for the reader and the characters situations.
Karou is a kick-butt girl, but is struggling with feeling lonely as she discovers that the world with the "monsters" she thought she understood is not what she was led to believe. As she interacts with Akiva, the angel she encounters on one of her errands, it becomes obvious that she has some kind of pull toward him, and he to her. Little does she know that even as he tries to destroy all she holds dear, he might actually hold the key to her figuring out who (or what) she really is - what she's been seeking to find out for awhile. Toward the end as we discover, along with Karou, what has really happened, it is shocking in the best possible way for a novel.
This is definitely a fantasy book for fans of fantasy. It has a unique take on the angel mythology and the backstory and world Laini has created is entrancing. Pre-order it now so you can escape into Karou's world in September! I know I'll be anxiously waiting for the next book indicated by the "...to be continued" ending to delve back into the artistry and uniqueness of the story Laini Taylor has created.