By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her, if there can even be a future for the chimaera in war-ravaged Eretz.
Common enemy, common cause.
When Jael’s brutal seraph army trespasses into the human world, the unthinkable becomes essential, and Karou and Akiva must ally their enemy armies against the threat. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people.
And, perhaps, for themselves. Toward a new way of living, and maybe even love.
But there are bigger threats than Jael in the offing. A vicious queen is hunting Akiva, and, in the skies of Eretz … something is happening. Massive stains are spreading like bruises from horizon to horizon; the great winged stormhunters are gathering as if summoned, ceaselessly circling, and a deep sense of wrong pervades the world.
What power can bruise the sky?
From the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond, humans, chimaera and seraphim will fight, strive, love, and die in an epic theater that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy.
At the very barriers of space and time, what do gods and monsters dream of? And does anything else matter? (Goodreads)
I have to be honest. I don’t know how to review this book because I don’t know how to say goodbye to this beautiful, breathtaking series. I mean, hello, I read this book last summer. Like, the summer that came before the one about to start. But it’s painful to let go.
I adored the first two books, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, followed by Days of Blood and Starlight. Laini Taylor is an incredibly gifted writer, both in the worlds and characters she’s created, and in the heartachingly lovely way she tells their story. Her words are so gorgeous, so fraught with beauty and lust and pain that I could physically devour them.
If you have not read Daughter of Smoke and Bone I implore you to do so. You are missing out on something so unique. In fact, I envy you that you get to experience the heartbreak and unfathomable richness for the first time. And seriously, I don’t want to spoil it all for you. But OMG. The feelings.
This third and final book picks up after Days of Blood and Starlight. Karou, now the leader of the chimera through some crafty deception, is still estranged from Akiva. The White Wolf is dead and those who were once loyal to him must continue to believe that he is alive (when really it’s Ziri in all her awesomeness who has taken on Thiago’s form. Whew. It’s a lot to digest, I know). Basically, no one likes Akiva. Thiago’s loyal followers are suspicious of Karou, as always, there’s a queen who wants to kills Akiva. And that’s just part of the story. There’s so much going on that it’s a bit overwhelming.
This book had a slow build. There is so much going on, so many characters, that I both found it hard to keep up and hard to get into. In the beginning it felt as if nothing much was happening other than the inward struggle to keep Karou in power and the evil forces at bay. But there was a turning point, a place where 1) Karou and Akiva make slow progress toward each other once more (this is incredibly important to me, the romantic fool) and 2) It becomes glaringly obvious that they can’t ever be (but they have to try!).
Of course this story is much more than one of Karou and Akiva. It’s about family, friendship, and love, about sacrificing self (and often love) for the good of all. There are so many obstacles here, and so many times I hoped beyond hope that Brimstone would be back and life would return to the way it was in the beginning. Karou knows it’s not possible so she, despite what she fears or what she desires, does what she must. It’s almost painful to watch at times, but I couldn’t help but love her more and more every step of the way (and I’m speaking of the entire trilogy and the suffering she endures). In the same way, I love Akiva, led by this deep love for Madrigal, and later Karou, he too goes against the grain and sacrifices himself, partly to make up for his past sin and partly because it’s the right thing to do. His love for her… the feelings it gives me. The moments these two have, they’re magical.
I realizing I’m telling you very little about the actual story. I’m trying to avoid anything too spoilery. I feel like so little happened and yet so much. What I know is this: I love this trilogy. I love the characters and everything about the story. It ended differently from what I’d expected or hoped and yet it felt right. It left me with so many emotions that even now I’m not sure I’m ready for a reread.
Crush Intensity: 4.75/5 Nothing will ever top book #1, but this was a very satisfying end to a completely imaginative series. If you start it and struggle, press on. It’s worth the wait, I promise.