"Errand requiring immediate attention. Come."
The note was on vellum, pierced by the talons of the almost-crow that delivered it. Karou read the message. 'He never says please', she sighed, but she gathered up her things. When Brimstone called, she always came.
In general, Karou has managed to keep her two lives in balance. On the one hand, she's a 17-year-old art student in Prague; on the other, errand-girl to a monstrous creature who is the closest thing she has to family. Raised half in our world, half in 'Elsewhere', she has never understood Brimstone's dark work - buying teeth from hunters and murderers - nor how she came into his keeping. She is a secret even to herself, plagued by the sensation that she isn't whole.
Now the doors to Elsewhere are closing, and Karou must choose between the safety of her human life and the dangers of a war-ravaged world that may hold the answers she has always sought.
©2011 Laini Taylor (P)2011 Hachette Audio
I listened to this on audiobook courtesy of my beautiful monthly membership to Audible. It was astonishingly good. The prose was colourful, imaginative and sophisticated. There were moments when I found my brain chewing over a dazzlingly brilliant metaphor or simile that just left me reeling in a post-literary glow. I don't even care how dodgy that sounds.
I am in love not only with Taylor (who has very pink hair, by the way), but with her wonderful protagonist, the tattooed, blue-haired Karou. She was a girl who lived between worlds and who knew just how to sharpen the pointy-end of a witty one liner. I am in love with all of Taylor's characters. Akiva (a swoon-worthy Seraph) was a fairly typical male interest who was rather predictable. Nonetheless, he was a literary hottie. Karou's best buddy, a tiny Czech girl by the name of Zusana kept me giggling throughout.
The characters were beautifully drawn, the setting made me want to hop on the next plane to Prague and Taylor's writing made me want to keep chipping away at the dense old block that is my skill at crafting words. I don;t want to write too much about the plot here as I wouldn't want to give the game away. I will, however, say that the structure of Taylor's narrative was, if not a breath of fresh air, then a good old spritz of Fabreeze to the somewhat stale and tattily-woven fabric of some YA reads.
A rare 5 stars for this and a whole lot of bated breath for the sequel!Lx
"A well crafted piece of fantasy"
First: I really enjoyed this book. I actually fell asleep listening (not 'cos it was boring but because it was late) and this gave the whole experience a definitely dreamlike quality. Re-listening awake, its still good, even for a not so young adult. Of course seen in context of the fantasy genre as a whole, this ticks all the well known boxes, another world on the the side of a door (CS Lewis, Pullman), angels (Pullman again) so the underlying ideas aren't really new. But this need not matter as it is beautifully, lyrically written and read (even if in a US accent). And it takes the ideas and adds romance, which is certainly lacking in all the other versions. So I'm on tenter hooks for the next instalment.
This is a wonderful book. The style is quite modern but it is beautifully written. I absolutely loved the narration as well and have been looking for more more more from the writer and narrator both. MUST get this if you love fantasy. So good.
Having discovered Audible I have found an electic mix of genres which I have thoroughly enjoyed, one of the best being 'Daughter of Smoke and Bone' by Liani Taylor. This is the first of two books which are set in different worlds with secret interlinking doorways as access points. Essentially, it is a love story but one of forbidden love between two individuals from opposing, warring sides. I say 'individuals' because you really need to read this book in order to appreciate the differences and subtle similarities between them, each a wonderful combination of angelic yet diabolical nature and totally ruthless at times. Having spent the past two weekends painstakingly decorating, I was thoroughly entertained and transported by the storyline, the twists and, indeed, the narrator herself Khristine Hvam, who apparently effortlessly changed her accent and timbre of voice according to who was speaking. Marvellous....as is the second of book as well!
"Good book and good narrator!"
There are a couple reviews complaining about the narrator of this book. Yes, she is american, so yes, her accent is a little whiny and nasal. If you absolutely CANNOT stand american narrators then I don't recommend this audiobook, but the sample is plenty long enough to figure out whether you like her voice or not.
I have enjoyed her narration very much, despite my usual aversion to american accents in audiobooks particularly fantasy. In this case, I think she suits the book very well and her reading is rich and involved with the story. Her slavic accents are great and she handles male characters pretty well too.
The book itself is good, it might share some aspects with other fantasy universes but that is a really difficult thing to avoid, and there was plenty of originality here that kept me interested. I wouldn't recommend it for pre-teens and it is probably a perfect teenage girl book but I think it has more than enough integrity and depth to keep an adult listener interested. It felt a little short, perhaps, but there was a lot of character backstory to block out and hopefully it will lead up to more plot advancement in future books. Looking forward to listening to more of this series.
"Should not have bought"
As soon as I started listening I knew this was a title I should not have bought. The narrator had one of those voices that just grated. I could not help it it just irritated me. I guess the real issue was that the story did not grab me straight off and the accent became more of a problem. Stopped listening shortly after and wont be going back to it.
"A really different fantasy!"
As a fan of paranormal fantasy I have read many genres, but this is really something different. An epic struggle between two warring races, but this time the angels are not necessarily the good guys, and the chimera are creatures with beast and magic elements spun together. A classic love story full of betrayal and sacrifice that spans a lifetime and promises to build a bridge between the two races. Karou and Akiva and both fascinating characters, and their companions including humans are also unique and sometimes hillaroious, with amazing talent and magical abilities. I whistled through the ironing while immersed in the story, and had to get the next book in the series, "Days of Blood and Starlight" the moment it finished. This book is definately worth a listen!
I've listened to this more than once and enjoy it every time - original and wonderful story-telling with great characters - sweet, funny, sassy and even sinister at times. Beautifully written, beautifully read. Meant for young adults but much, much better than a lot of the adult literature in this genre out there. Whether you enjoy magical realism or just great stories... this will not disappoint.
"Very unfortunate narrator"
I'd love to be able to give this book a good review but I found the first few words of the book utterly trite (something I would have written aged 14) compounded by a narration that was impossibly annoying. The speaker has a gravely, nasal American accent. I have no problem with American accents generally but hers is so strong and so irritating that I found it impossible to really listen to the story. I managed just over half and hour and simply gave up. It's such a pity because I've found all the other audio books, so far, to be un-switch-offable.
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