This story, like all fairytales, began with requisite once upon a time.
“Once upon a time, an angel lay dying in the mist.
And a devil knelt over him and smiled.”
There are many ways to misintepret the quotation above.
1.You might think it is a typical angel/demon story.
Actually, no. These creatures are not of the divine angels of Heaven or fallen followers of Lucifer variety. Here we have seraphs, a race of fiery-winged humanoids loosely based on the aforementioned angels. The devils are chimaeras, beasts of haphazard animal and human body parts.
2.You might think the devil would be happy to see the angel dying, and has come to finish it off.
Again, no. When the devil finds the angel dying in a battefield, contrary to the ominous vibe as per quotation above, she smiled at him and then did not kill him. Instead, she saved him, and that's how the love story began.
If you could call it a love story. That is, imo, debatable.
- Karou : Protagonist blue-haired human girl, badass. She runs errands collecting teeth. She could fight off groups of angels with tattoos. She has strings of wish-granting pebbles. She is, quite often, quite cool. I should like her, but sometimes I do and sometimes I don't. Sometimes I wish she'd just lose her temper and start yelling.
-Akiva : The Love Interest. Boring pretty boy. He has wings! With FIRE on them.(show spoiler)
- Zuzana : The Best Friend. Possibly my favourite character in this book. Outspoken, absolutely hilarious, shows great concern and protectiveness over her best friend, and a mistress of the eyebrow arch. She won me over with this:
“...You are not just going to vanish like this, Karou. This isn't some goddamn Narnia book.”
I'm easily won over, apparently.
and Mik. Well, Mik comes into more prominence later.
Scattered all over the book are pages and pages of gems like this:
“It is a condition of monsters that they do not perceive themselves as such. The dragon, you know, hunkered in the village devouring maidens, heard the townsfolk cry 'Monster!' and looked behind him.”
But sometimes, just sometimes, it gets a bit too purple. Especially when it comes to describing how beautiful the characters are. Karou, for instance, moves like a poem and smiles like a sphinx, and I am utterly unappreciative of purple prose.
....do monsters make war, or does war make monsters?”
I love it when a character in a book brings up issues like this, because I'd think of Harry Potter (in this case) and answer (in my head) that it is a circle without a beginning, like the phoenix and the egg.
I could've had deep thoughts and soulful reflections instead, but whatever.
Prague: a city of alchemists and dreamers, its medieval cobbles once trod by golems, mystics, invading armies. The wind carried the memory of magic, revolution, violins, and the cobbled lanes meandered like creeks. Thugs wore Motzart wigs and pushed chamber music on street corners, and marionettes hung in windows, making the whole city seem like a theater with unseen puppeteers crouched behind velvet.
And magic doorways to different worlds
I have no objection to unconventional love stories involving
i) characters of different species,
ii) born in different worlds,
iii) who can't be together because of reasons.
iv) Especially if the story transcends all of time and space and incarnations
[insert pic of my OTP pairing. If you know me, you know which one. Clue: Doctor Who]
But hell, I feel like I'm insulting my OTP by mentioning them in comparison to Karou & Akiva.
There is no substance in this romance. It's filled with them mooning at each other, mooning around each other and mooning when they're apart from each other. There's stuff about worshipping the moon (not literally), the moon that is the goddess of assassins and secret lovers, and it's all very pretty to read but substantially the romance is boring, and I just can't ship them, because how on earth could you build a proper, long-lasting relationship on moonlight trysts and romantic banter? Show me instead how well they match each other, how they make each other better, why I should want them together rather than apart. Just telling me how absolutely beautiful they look as a couple doesn't convince me, not even with UST galore.
This review was initially meant the cover the entire trilogy plus the novella in between, but it got too long. Damn.