Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a new way of living – one without massacres and torn throats and bonfires of the fallen, without revenants or bastard armies or children ripped from their mothers’ arms to take their turn in the killing and dying.
Once, the lovers lay entwined in the moon’s secret temple and dreamed of a world that was a like a jewel-box without a jewel – a paradise waiting for them to find it and fill it with their happiness.
This was not that world.
This is the continuation of the magical and dangerous world introduced in Daughter of Smoke and Bone. The middle book in a trilogy can sometimes feel like a filler but this nicely built up the drama and the story. I read the first book last summer so details were foggy but surprisingly easy to fall back into the world, the beautiful narrative and remember the storyline, from Karou's second life to Akiva's betrayal and love, Thiago's war campaign and Brimstone's memories.
Even though it broke my heart, I loved how realistic Karou and Akiva's reunion was; considering the betrayal and the drama between them, it was going to take a lot more than a couple of chance encounters and their complicated feelings for each other to mend bridges. Karou has some seriously horrible things to work through, like death and playing an untrusted resurrectionist to fellow chimaera; and Akiva was so broken without her, trying to change his ways because he knows what it is like for the other side now.
There were multiple perspectives in this book, some new characters that pop up once just to offer an extra piece of information about the world and its people, which was very interesting and added to the story in a imaginative way. We also heard more from Hazael and Liraz, Akiva's brother and sister, and I loved getting to know them better; there was much more to them than being soldiers and that progression was both personal and pivotal to the hope for Eretz's future.
This book showed the effects of war, the sacrifices, the back-stabbing, not to mention the awe-inspiring prose that demonstrated love and hope and the beautiful settings all this occurred in. It was pretty heavy but very enjoyable and stocked full of drama and plot twists and incredible characters, from the magical to the human.
Published 8th November 2012.