Published September 27th, 2011 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Synopsis and Cover photo from Goodreads book page
Synopsis: 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?
Review: I really want to try to review this without sounding like one of those Twihard fans who think they might have spotted Robert Pattinson in a crowd. Alas, I don’t think I can do that, because I just loved this book so much. I was entranced by it. I found myself sitting at the table for a half hour after I finished eating because I just couldn’t stop reading. When I didn’t have the book in my hands I was thinking about the book, wishing I had brought it with me wherever I was. I had to force myself to put the book down when I needed to go to sleep.
The thing that first attracted me to this book was the cover. It is spectacular and gorgeous. I saw this cover from the aisle in the bookstore and it drew me to the book immediately. Then when I read the blurb I thought to myself, well this sounds interesting and unique. But I had no idea how unique and entrancing it would be.
When I first started the book I wondered if I had made a mistake. I was having a hard time connecting to the characters and to the writing. I was interested in the story but the writing was throwing me off and I grew concerned that I may not like the book after all. But after about 50 pages I was drawn into it and started breezing through the pages at a rapid pace. Parts of the story were familiar to me, like the hamsa tattoos. But the way they were used in the story was new and different and very creative. I really connected with Karou for a lot of reasons. She was a strong, smart, self sufficient, kick ass heroine (which we don’t see often in YA). But she also felt like she didn’t fit. She didn’t completely fit in the world of Brimstone but didn’t completely fit in the normal world as well. She was stuck in between and didn’t know which way to go.
The romance in this book was refreshing and real. You could call it insta-love but it doesn’t feel that way. I mean, let’s face it, they start the book by trying to kill each other. That’s not really the mark of an insta-love relationship. Now, once they started exploring their attraction to one another everything moved quickly after that. But it felt natural to me. They had real reasons to fall in love! That was so nice to read.
I am frothing at the mouth for the sequel, it cannot get to my house fast enough so I can devour that one too. This was by far one of the most creative and unique books I have ever read. It was one of my favorite books of the year, and I think Ms. Taylor has a hugely successful career ahead of her.