This book was refreshingly different for me. I loved the world that Laini Taylor built. I became fully immersed and had trouble leaving it and only did when I was forced to (you know, work, kids, dinner, etc). I really liked how Taylor was able to pair the real world alongside the mystical world in which Karou grew up. The writing pulls you in, chews you up, spits you out, then pulls you in again.
And her characters... I loved how they were all fallible; no one is ever perfect, we are all flawed. Karou is a strong willed young woman who doesn't understand everything but is willing to go to great lengths to get answers. Akiva stole my heart. His darkness, his brokenness, his protectiveness, his reasons. I love it all. And of course, just like tragic Romeo & Juliet, there's a star-crossed lovers appeal here. One of my favorites is Zuzana. Who doesn't want a best friend like her? Someone who accepts you no matter who (or what) you are, who will always tell it like it is, and who will be there, no questions asked. Such a strong secondary character and I hope we see more of her in the future.
The overall storyline captivated me from beginning to end. I wanted, like Karou, to get answers, to unveil the mysteries, if you will. I wanted to know the who, the what, the why. The connections that weren't there I wanted made. And I love that what you think you know you may not actually know. Taylor creates a story that keeps you guessing and theorizing until the bitter end. And, for me, the lingering questions: What makes someone evil? What makes them good? Can you only be what you were born to be? Can things change?
In this story, there's self discovery. There's longing, wishing, dreaming. There's chaos. There's war. But mostly, there's hope.
I am really looking forward to following Karou's story in Days of Blood and Starlight. :)