The story if an excellent start to a series, with an ending that makes a reader want to continue the story as soon as possible. However, there are some elements to the story that (to me) were predicable. The mythology and world-building involved was elegantly written with just enough mystery to promote continued reading. I love the development of the characters and the way they were subtly described across the book. Laini Taylor really creates a beautiful and mysterious story that I can’t wait to continue to explore, the only negative I would say would be the slight predictability to some events.
The story line was given just enough history to make sense with the attitudes of surrounding background characters such as other Chimera and Seraph. I liked especially how Kaoru had a unique childhood and she had a unique perspective on the world around her. Prague was also a beautiful setting for this book which added another element to the story with the descriptive language that brought the story that resides in the paranormal into everyday life; making it all that more emotive. Aviva as a character was an interesting construct, as he remained almost threatening and elusive until almost the end of the story. He himself grows as a character, going from a cold, unfeeling soldier to someone who dares to hope again and feel once more. His past like Kaoru’s remains mysterious progressively being revealed along the plot line, which is shown to be interwoven.
The structure of the paranormal worlds is also curious and well-written. The societies explored are those of the Seraph and Chimera, along with a few other locations. Each is written to have it’s own structure, religion, ceremonies and lifestyle. Its an incredible feat attempted with grace and intelligence. Its revealed through the perspectives of the main characters, but in a way that allowed their reliability to create an understanding in the author. Seeing these instances through both of the character’s eyes also allows for the unique situation of seeing how the perspective of the opposing societies were formed and how each are trying to reach an understanding within themselves of how their world and others work. Its almost like feeling as if you’re the intruder in your own home.
Mystery within this book is a dominant theme. The four most explored mysteries in this book are: Kaoru’s past, Brimstone’s work, the Hamsas and Akiva’s past. Koran’s past is the element that I believed to be obvious. There were hints that I picked up throughout the book which maybe only to me seemed to be a gigantic red arrow pointing directly to the answer, still there were moments when I had my doubts and considered other options, but when it was confirmed I was really satisfied by being able to guess the outcome. Brimstone’s work and the other three were elements that had me guessing until their reveal. Brimstone as a hulking yet soft hearted Chimera is someone who raised Kaoru from birth along with the other Chimera in his dwelling which acts as the portal between the human world and the Chimera domain. He deals with teeth, collecting them and making them into necklaces all the while using his hands and senses to understand their value. Why he does this remains unknown until Kaoru’s history is also revealed. Which brings the Hamsas unknown element into the light and stringing along to the finish line is Akiva’s past. Though some gaps remain in the story where they are headed is sure to fill them, I also look forward to how the story is going to progress now that there is little reason to continue dealing into the past.
All in all this story, a story of love, war and hope is something I look forward to continuing to read; especially to find out how the story evolves.