I finished this book this morning and I’ve been freaking out ever since. It is insanely amazing. I have heard nothing but good things about it, and when I picked it up at BookPeople on Sunday I couldn’t put it down.
Karou is an unusual girl, currently living in Prague, who was raised by a strange clan of inhuman beings. Her world is shattered when her connection to her family is severed, and a mysterious stranger simultaneously appears to whom Karou is magnetically drawn. He is the key to her true identity and is the only being who can reveal the secrets of her past.
This is one of the most wildly creative books I’ve ever read. Yes, the basic narrative arc has been done a million times (which arc hasn’t?), but the premise is entirely unique. Karou’s story takes place (mostly) in our world, but it is a world that somehow also exists outside of the reality of most human beings. Her sketchbooks are filled with fantastical characters which everyone believes are figments of her imagination, while only she knows that they are actually entirely real. She lives a double life, and the creatures with which she interacts are a welcome break from the out-of-control vampire/werewolf/zombie craze.
Taylor has created some brilliant characters. Karou is gorgeous, rebellious, and mysterious. She is strong and prickly on the outside, but inside she is lonely and vulnerable, searching for the truth about her identity and her unknown origins. And she has blue hair! Permanently blue hair! I’ve always wanted blue hair. Her best friend Zuzana is, in a novel full of “best parts,” one of the best parts. She is hilarious, creative, and the perfect complement to Karou. Taylor does a fantastic job of capturing the sarcastic, cynical voices of extremely intelligent teenagers. The rest of the characters are incredible as well, but I would prefer not to give anything about anyone away, even though readers have probably seen reviews with more information in them. Still, I won’t be the one to blab!
I highly recommend this novel. It is well-written, funny, extremely emotionally and sexually charged, and enthralling from beginning to end. Being a teen series, it didn’t have any sort of substantial ending–just that transition from one novel to another–but at this juncture I don’t even care. I’m a rabid, ravenous beast for the next novel, and I’m actually excited about the wait. Sometimes a little anticipation makes the resolution that much better. There is a huge slap in the face at the end, a major plot twist that I didn’t see coming and cannot possibly see the author being able to create more story out of. But there’s a second novel in the works, and I cannot wait to see what Taylor does with Karou and the rest of the gang.
Oh my GOD you must read this book.