by Laini Taylor
Purchase on: Amazon, iBooks,
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3.5 Odd, not sure why stars
This is such a hard book to review for SO MANY different reasons. On the one hand, we have a fantasy novel. My GR friends and I who chose to buddy read this had, as Tasha said, “our paranormal hats on,” and had no idea we were going to be reading something so…out there. On the other hand, we have a strong romantic sub-plot that becomes, ultimately, the main plot in the last fourth of the story. I, for one, loved the romance aspect. There have been so many romances that have been labeled ‘epic’ recently, that when an actual ‘epic’ love story comes around we don’t know what to do with it. So many people didn’t like the strong romantic turn in the story, whereas I thought it saved the story.
We start with Karou, a chick from Prague who helps her otherworldy friends with weird “errands.” They are her family, but no one around her knows anything of them. This is where that explanation stops for me, because as I said before, there were some things in this story I wasn’t prepared to be reading, and the names of LITERALLY EVERYONE were one of those things. I could hardly pronounce (in my head) half the names presented, let alone the origin of what they were. I like to think I am an intelligent person, so don’t take my pronunciation issues into account with my overall knowledge and intelligence. This was an entirely made up world and the breed of what these things are/were, whatever, hard to decipher. SO. Anyway, this leads to my next point.
The world building was…not my favorite, to say the least. I like stories that are different. I do. Ask any of my closest GR friends, I have read some doozies in the past few months-but on the weirdness scale? This one takes the cake. I just couldn’t immerse myself in the world this author was building or make myself care about Karou..that much. Based on how much this book has been talked about here on GR, I was expecting some pretty amazing story telling and kickass battle scenes, but it was honestly just more of a weird world with a girl doing errands and trying to get to her family in, yes, another world.
Now, I can’t hate on that “other” world too much, because frankly, this other world contained the best part of the story. Oh yes. The best part comes with a name-Akiva. This is where other reviewers rejoiced or parted with the story. I rejoiced. He was the only thing that made this start even close to a 3 star rating. Without this male lead, I would have maybe, maybe given this two stars. Doesn’t say much about the storyline from my perspective, does it? Akiva’s passion, loyalty, and sweetness drew me in from the moment he stepped into the story. Some might cry insta-love, but there is more to it than meets the eye. I have to say I ‘hate’ insta-love normally, but in this instance, there was just something different about it. Also, and everyone can note this, I don’t care if it’s insa-love, forbidden love, unrequited love…if it’s
(idc if that’s how you say it or not, it gets my point across) then I will give anything a chance, and I have to say I’m glad I did on this one.
This review is getting long so I’ll wrap it up. The emotions conveyed in this story from, you guessed it, Akiva captivated me. His story was just so HEART-WRENCHING that I couldn’t help but to love him and add some points to the board. And the ending. Wow. Maybe the end didn’t touch others like it touched me, but that last page or two swayed my rating from like a 2.5 to a 3.5. The end was what I wanted to see the whole book, instead, there was a whole lot of nothing. So when we finally get a badass final line/cliffhanger, I was ecstatic. It didn’t truly change the GR rating, but it gained that half star of repect in my eyes, and that means the world to me. To those who like an offbeat story with a difficult or different world to grasp onto, you will love it. Honestly. It was good writing and a decent concept, it just was not a win for me.
Thanks to Tarra and Tasha (my two T’s :P) for buddy reading this with me! When I doubted about finishing I dredged on ONLY because of you both. I would probably not have gotten to my main man Akiva otherwise 🙂
Ok….initial thoughts after finishing: I told myself that the end would define whether I kept my rating at three stars (which it was clear the whole time it was at most three star worthy IMO). There were 3 PAGES left, 3! and I was like “meh, I might rate this 2.5.” And then…and then, the ending. Those last two pages (epilogue not included) literally raised it from a 3 to a 3.5. Seriously. Just those last few measly sentences of this odd, ooodddd book made me like it almost a whole star better. It was such a strong ending-it was what I was waiting for the whole book, honestly.
*review to come tomorrow*