A good book allows the imagination to create wondrous images that no special effect ever could. Characters become like treasured friends.
Excellent narration. A perfect choice for this book. Made every emotion palpatible! bring on the next one.
Great reading. Good dialogue. Original. The romance drags (he looked- she looked) in the midst of an otherwise well paced adventure.
Oh. My. Gosh! I think this is the best book ever! Thank you to all that recommended it so highly. I, too, now sing its praises!
Laini Taylor is the storyteller's storyteller. Once I started into the world that she created I didn't want to leave. In fact, though the copies I had of the hardback and the CDs were borrowed from the library, I couldn't bear to return them had I not gone ahead and bought the Kindle and Audible versions to read again. And while I was at it I picked up the next in the series.
Oh, and I need to sing a few praises to the narrator, Khristine Hvam. I was caught up in the sound of her voice and her ability to wring out every nuance each word and even syllable the book had to offer.
The main character, Karou, is real, palpable. I could see through her eyes, smell what she smelled, anguish in choices to be made or mistakes that resulted. The cast of characters surrounding her was also real. I keep trying to come up with another word after all this IS fantasy, but that is all I can come up with, real.
Magic is in abundance in the book, whether it is meant to be or not. Yet it is highly believable. And always leads to hope. Hope is the theme, I think. It made me feel it deep inside in places that haven't felt it for a while. Hope. How many books give you that? That is a priceless commodity.
Please read this book with the audio along side. It immerses you into this world and you will feel hope, too.
I did enjoy the reader's performance. It was the only thing that kept me going besides it being a book club choice.
I thought I knew what would happen next but was surprised a lot
A new idea for this genre with some favorite staples
Yes, it was done well
At the end of this book I bought all of the others of the series
The narrator's voices, by far! This is a book FILLED with new creatures galore; dozens and dozens of them. Let alone the people. Khristine Hvam gave a hiss or growl or snarl or menace to each and every character and kept it through the entire series. I still don't know how she did it. Even if the words hadn't read "Issa said..." I would have still known it was her speaking. And don't even get me started on Zuzana. I laughed out loud so many times!
Brimstone's workshop when Karou first arrived there in the book. I so wanted to step inside and look around.
Laini Taylor has a singular way of description that I've never seen before. It seems she uses all of her senses when writing that really fit the story. For instance if another author would describe feeling someones soul they may use words like kind and cheerful and sweet. But Taylor's descriptions would run something like "his essence was morning sunshine and mountain stream and crackling fire". It made no sense but at the same time, I understood her completely and it was a joy to listen to.
The story was a unique idea, but I did not finish. Got too dark for me about her working for Satan's men or something and there was a lot of swearing. Not happy with my purchase, would not recommend.
Foul Language and Link to Satan, too dark/evil for me.
AMAZING PERFORMER, she did so good at doing voices and had just the right amount of animation.
I could see it, but I wouldn't see it.
I'm a caffeine zombie suffering from constant book hangovers.
There was a lot that grabbed my attention about this story but I really found myself intrigued most with Karou's personality and the scenery of the world she lived in.
the scene where Karou's best friend does her show like a marionette dancer and the concept behind it.
the showdown on the bridge with Karou and her Hamsa hand tattoo's against Akiva's sister of sorts.
this was a book good to take in, in small steps because of it's prose it was better to soak up in bit's and pieces and steep over time
how the writer incorporated the concept of evanescence into the story.
This is one of the YA books that's really just not inviting adults to read. It's firmly entrenched in the romantic interests and emotional maturity of adolescents, and it's a very good bet (especially considering its popularity and acclaim) for them. And while I can't connect emotionally, I can understand the appeal of the characters and I can appreciate the deftness of the plotting. That said, I do find a few aspects of the storyline pretty troubling, and parents considering this book for their teens should be aware of them (at least to talk to them about).
While Karou is the kind of creative, motivated, powerful, socially-connected heroin that Bella Swan (sorry) looks at from a distance with mopey envy (sorry), this is still a love story that starts with a young woman being enchanted by the beauty of a (much) older man, who himself initiates the relationship by stalking her, and who fall in love with each other without getting to know each other. The Twilight parallels do more or less end there, but it remains troubling that the rest of their relationship starts with intense physical violence. All of this is the obvious stuff, though. More troubling, because it flies so much further under the radar, is how easily the male characters in the story manipulate Karou's identity, and take away her ability to self-determine. Specifically, I want to mention Akiva. Karou's backstory is that she's a "reincarnation" (of sorts) of Akiva's former lover (Madrigal), but most of Madrigal's personality has been locked away in a talisman. So, for 16 or so years, this personality, this identity we know as the young woman named Karou has been developing independent of Madrigal, and even though she did begin her life as an aspect of Madrigal, she's fully differentiated by the time we meet her. She's her own person. Akiva manages to divine her history, though, and breaks down one day telling her, "I know who you are!" "Tell me who I am," she demands. Good. She should be able to demand this information. This is where it goes wrong, though. Rather than telling her about Madrigal (you know, like, actually talking about stuff) and allowing Karou to choose for herself whether or not to integrate Madrigal's personality into her own (a decision she surely deserves to be able to make), Akiva literally says, "I'm not going to tell you." And he doesn't. He shows her, by breaking the talisman (she still does not know what it is) and forcing Madgrigal fully into Karou's body. This is an extraordinary violation of Karou's mind and body, and it's a decision made for her without giving her of the information she needs to provide informed consent. It's a man telling a woman that he knows who she is more than she does, and then forcing his interpretation of her character on her. This is something that, if your teens are reading the books, you NEED to speak with them about.
Now, having not read the other two books in the series, I do not know whether or not Taylor has addressed these issues in the text. It could very well be that she's introducing problems like these so that she can resolve them later. I certainly hope so.
I don't see any reason why I would not read anything by Laini Taylor again. If I see a Taylor work that's couched in more adult sensibilities, I could easily imagine enjoying it rather a lot.
I gave the performance for this book a low grade, but I don't think that should necessarily be taken as a sign that I dislike Khristine Hvam as a narrator. This particular performance suffered mostly from the cloying "monstrous" voices of several prominent monster-y characters, decrepit fallen angel Razgut being the prime example. The choice to perform these characters like this even makes sense in context, but it's just not enjoyable to sit through the drawn out, slimy, throaty tones. When performing Karou or Akiva or Zuzana, Hvam's performance is light and animated and often a joy, and I would be more than happy to listen to more of THAT from her.
While I did not love this book, and have a few serious concerns about how the main relationship develops, it has plenty to recommend it -- which I do hope its acclaim speaks to. I already talked about Karou, romantic choices aside, as a really positive young female protagonist. It's refreshing to see a character like that who actually loves her family, who actually trusts her friends, who actually wants things for herself that make sense. The mythology is interesting. The plotting, at least until we get to Madrigal, is crisp and clever. There are plenty of things to enjoy, if you don't mind that the book appeals mostly to the emotional maturity of teens, and doesn't throw many emotional bones to the rest of us.