My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Goodreads: 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?
My take: There are angels and demons and a plethora of books about them. This is not one of them. This is about angels and chimera. Not Beefalo (mix between cow and buffalo) but more similar to the creatures atop Notre Dame with the gargoyles only with more imagination.
There are angels whose origin is different according to the source, the Chimaera who are in the same world as the angels and then the humans who live in Prague. That's where the story begins, anyway. This is an interesting choice as Prague was directly impacted by both World War I and World War II. In fact, there are references to both wars within the story. There are also similarities to the human wars and the angel vs. chimera war which has been going on for eons. Although the creatures in question come from a vivid imagination, the concept is universal; war sprouts from fear.
In this case, the war is between the chimaera and angels. The angels were the dominant race see themselves as saviors to the lesser race. The chimaera see themselves as enslaved and beaten down. Tired of being the underdog, they united and rose up to fight while the angels were unaware of their intelligence and unity.
But again, the story starts in Prague with Karou who is a... ? That is the question. She was raised by a kindly and grumpy chimaera who carries the world on his shoulders and keeps his secrets close to his chest. There are three other chimaera in the shop that Karou loves like family. Meanwhile, Karou is attending an art school in Prague. She has experienced a unique childhood and possesses the gift of tongues. She collects languages and uses them to fit into whatever country or culture she is currently inhabiting.
The imagination of the author is astounding. In order to visit her "family," Karou must knock on the portal door and wait for it to be opened from the inside. If she opens the door, she is greeted by a human inhabitant of the building. If it is opened from the inside, it is Issa, a beautiful Chimaera that ushers her into an airtight foyer. The door behind her closes and then the second door opens and she enters Elsewhere which is not of the human realm.
I can't begin to explain the imaginative and literary liberties without spoiling the story. All I can say is that the book is original, the story executed in perfect increments, description swallows up the reader into the world of Elsewhere, and of course, star-crossed-lovers.
I would rate the book as PG:
Sex is implied but not graphic in any way.
Language is mild.
Swearing is non-existent.
Violence is part of the story. It's war.
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