Every so often you come across a book that completely floors you. The writing, the characters, the plot - they all come together perfectly and, before you know it, you're looking up fan art and dream-casting a movie adaptation.
I've heard about Laini Taylor multiple times. I've looked at her books multiple times. Heck, I bought the second book before I even read the first one. And I finally, finally picked them up to read and oh. my. godstars. I loved them.
I'm going to try not to be spoiler-y (even though I'm several years late on these books, so I assume everyone else in the world has read them already), so I won't go into detail about the plot points that I enjoyed but, here's a somewhat vague list of things I LOVED:
- the covers are gorgeous
- it takes place in Prague, which is awesome and rarely happens in YA
- Karou is such an awesome heroine - she's strong (in all the ways), and carries the first half of the book so well, I almost forgot there was a love interest involved in the story
- as far as YA love interests go, Akiva is really interesting - he's flawed but loving and Karou doesn't completely loose her head over him
- the chimaera!!!! And the seraphim to a lesser extent because the chimaera are amazing!!!
- the different origin legends
- the souls and the teeth
- Zuzanna and Mik <3
- heck, I even like Ziri even though I wasn't sure what to make of his character at first
That list pretty much sums up the books, to be honest. But mostly, I loved the writing. Sumptuous, vibrant - it was compelling and fascinating, and Laini Taylor's narrative voice sets the series apart from standard YA supernatural angels-and-demons fare. Plus, I flippin' LOVE that it didn't end with a "happily ever after" moment (though I've yet to read the third book, Dreams of Gods and Monsters, so I don't know if the series itself will end happily). Part of me wants everything to be wrapped up all nice and neat, and part of me wants to sob helplessly.
My only qualm was the insta-love, but then I convinced myself that a) it's technically not insta-love and b) it's weirdly romantic? so I'm gonna let it slide. And even though I guessed Karou's secret fairly early on, it was still an awesome moment when my suspicions were confirmed.
Also, it took me a little longer to get into Days of Blood and Starlight but that could have been due to a) the sheer size of the thing and b) I'm impatient. Well worth it in the end, though.
If you've ever been disappointed with typical YA-angels books, pick these up for something different.