My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Actual Rating: 2.5
Karou is an artist, but she fills her sketchbooks with drawings of angels, monsters, and fantasy creatures that seem to exist only in the imagination. Except not for her. With blue hair and eye tattoos on her hands, it’s no surprise that Karou isn’t from this world. But weirdest of all, she has no recollection of where she’s from or who she is. But her life is forever changed when she runs into Aviva, an angel who is supposed to be considered her enemy.
When the portals between the two worlds are destroyed, Karou is stuck in our world. But the one question that she continues to ask and can never seem to answer is this: Who am I? Or rather, what am I?
When I first began this book, I thought Karou was annoying and petty, and whatever was going on between her and Kaz had already resulted in many uncontrollable eyerolls. Not to mention that the story felt stagnant. At the 30% point, I was just about read to mark this as a DNF, but some people mentioned that the story picked up and became one of their favorites, which was honestly the only reason I continued. It did improve a little, but not quite enough for me to rate it higher than a two or three.
One of the most powerful parts of this book is definitely the world-building. Laini Taylor created a very well thought out and comprehensive world that I felt like I could completely immerse myself into, even though it only seemed to reveal its potential in the later half.
(Spoilers in this paragraph) Unfortunately, the insta-love was a big problem for me. I understand that Karou and Aviva have met each other before, so in a sense it’s not the first time they fell in love. But what it felt like to me was rather a simple case of “insta-love times two”. Both times, the relationship seemed shallow and rushed. True, there were some moments between them that I genuinely enjoyed but overall I think I would’ve preferred it if they didn’t fall quite so quickly into one another. Even when they didn’t know each other, it only took one glance for them to be immediately caught up with thoughts of how beautiful and memorable the other was, and it became very annoying.
In addition, I felt like the author overdid the descriptions for Karou and Aviva. I really did like how unique their appearances were, but they both were continually described as extremely attractive and beautiful; he book kept talking about Karou’s long and creamy legs or Aviva’s heart-stopping beauty and imposing presence, and over time it just got very tiring to read.
The writing style was okay for me, but I definitely think that the slow beginning was a weakness, because I felt extremely disconnected. Later on, Taylor’s writing actually really helped the readers visualize the world she created.
I thought the plot was very interesting, but it was a little too focused on romance, which wasn’t what I had expected from reading the blurb. The black handprints had intrigued me, but it was avery small part of the story. The plot was very character-based, and I felt like because of this, Karou was a slight Mary Sue. Everything seemed to revolve around her character alone, and she was considered “special”.
All in all, I think this was an okay read but I’m not sure if I would want to continue reading the series at this point, because I found that I just wasn’t very invested. I didn’t hate it terribly, but for now, I’m leaving it behind.