Art student and monster’s apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is—and what she is. But with this knowledge comes another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it.
While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. For hope.
I liked this book because I loved the point of view from Akiva and how his background developed. I always enjoy when an author does a good job at world building, and Laini Taylor is one of the best. I like how she uses two different creatures, the Chimaera and the Seraphim, in her world building and creates a whole mythology for each of them. Akiva’s story is really interesting and not only talks about his military background, but his problems with his father and how he developed relationships with two of his siblings around that. Akiva really does a lot of character growth in this book, and I love a good character development story.
Karou on the other hand develops in this story, but it is definitely a slow build and took some time to get to were I could admire her if not really like her. She definitely takes a dark turn as a character and I feel it is mostly in her head and she cow-tails to the “Bad Wolf” because of her poor judgement in thinking. Then she punishes herself, literally. I don’t understand how she could be so unforgiving and not understanding of someone she claims she loved (perhaps still loves). Her view of Akiva in this book is a bit of a bafflement as she doesn’t even wait to hear his side. She has a couple of opportunities to do so, yet refuses. If I love someone and care about them, I listen to their side of the story and try not to completely just react to something I’ve heard. Karou still has a lot of growing up to do, and I guess I was hoping for more of that happening in this story (at least by the last part of the book).
I like that Taylor opened the story in a unique way, from Zuzana’s point of view. While it was already a multiple character point of view book when she then she added Mik and a couple of other people too, and it all became a little messy. I would have preferred an omniscient narrative or knowledge about the events from Akiva or Karou with a little of Zuzana only. Adding layer upon layer of views can work if done well, but it felt like it was done for drama in this book rather than for any real reason. The ending really saved this book for me and I ended up enjoying it quite a bit. I like that it was dark, horror driven, and informative without using too much exposition.