The Epic Conclusion: Laini Taylor – Dreams of Gods and Monsters

At this point, there is no way I can be considered unbiased anymore. It took me two tries to appreciate this story of Chimaera and Seraphim but now that I’m into it, I know I can’t judge this book properly. I am completely biased, I am rooting for the characters, I love the world… so any flaws this book may have (and I’m sure it does) just didn’t matter because Laini Taylor has woven her magic around me and I am happily oblivious. Warnings for gushing and spoilers for Daughter of Smoke and Bone and Days of Blood and Starlight!

Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini TaylorDREAMS OF GODS AND MONSTERS
by Laini Taylor

Published: Little, Brown, 2014
eBook: 613 pages
Audiobook: 18 hours 12 minutes
Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone #3
My rating: 7.5/10

Opening line: Once upon a time, an angel and a devil pressed their hands to their hearts and started the apocalypse.

Two worlds are poised on the brink of a vicious war. By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera’s rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her.
When the brutal angel emperor brings his army to the human world, Karou and Akiva are finally reunited – not in love, but in a tentative alliance against their common enemy. 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.
But with even bigger threats on the horizon, are Karou and Akiva strong enough to stand among the gods and monsters?
The New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy comes to a stunning conclusion as – from the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond – humans, chimaera, and seraphim strive, love, and die in an epic theater that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy.

It’s pretty amazing when an author sets up a world, peoples it with interesting characters and then, in the sequel, makes that world so much bigger that you feel like you’ve entered an entirely new story. It’s even more amazing when an author manages to pull this off twice! Laini Taylor did just that in her Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy. Whereas the first book took place mostly in Prague and some other places on Earth, the second book transported us not just to Morocco but also to Eretz – the world where Chimaera and Seraphim come from. By meeting new characters, this world felt utterly real and Taylor painted a picture of this centuries-old war that was so engaging to read that I didn’t even miss those quieter, funnier moments with Zuzana and Karou in Prague.

In this final book, we are introduced to yet another aspect of the world and we learn some rather important (read: world shaking) things about its past. But I’m getting ahead of myself and I won’t tell you what I mean anyway, because this is a spoiler-free blog. Just know that you’re in for a couple of surprises that were hinted at before but definitely not predicted by me.

Karou and Akiva have managed a reluctant truce between their people and the goals are clear. What with Jael having invaded Earth, pretending to be biblical angels in order to gather human weapons, and the revelation that hundreds, maybe thousands, of Chimaera souls being preserved, they plan to do two things. Keep Jael from bringin human weapons to Eretz and decimating their entire world and resurrect what’s left of the Chimaera. But of course, things don’t go exactly as planned. That’s all I’m going to say about the plot as such because while it was certainly exciting, my focus was on other aspects of this book.

The characters have grown so dear to me over the course of the series that I didn’t think I had space in my heart for new ones. But I totally did! Karou and Akiva are obviously my favorites, but Zuzana and Mik prove their worth over and over again, all while providing the necessary comic relief to not make this story too dark. I adored Zuzana’s bickering, her practicality, and her brilliant mind in moments of need. But we meet new characters as well and one of them felt out of left field. Eliza is a student who is plagued by strange dreams of monsters and angels… It’s pretty easy to make the connections to the monsters and angels we, as readers of this series, already know, but figuring out how Eliza fits into this took a while. And while I adored the idea behind her character and the resolution of this mystery, I think a tad more foreshadowing could have been used in the previous books. That’s the bit of critizism I can come up with in my adoring Laini-Taylor-is-the-best-give-me-all-her-books state of mind. 🙂

I also appreciated that some characters from the very first book become important or make an appearance again. It shows that Taylor didn’t just add them in willy-nilly. And even if she did, those characters are fleshed-out enough for them to have a personality and a mind of their own. With everything that’s going on in the world(s), it only makes sense that these people would have hopes and desires that sometimes work well with our heroes’ own plans and sometimes… not so much. I love that added layer of realism in works of fantasy. Just because we’re dealing with monsters and angels doesn’t mean that they can’t behave like people, after all.

The ending was a fantastic mixture of bittersweet resolution and enough open questions for maybe revisiting this world again, someday. Without spoiling, it’s really hard to talk about details but I can tell you this much: Even when a war is over, things don’t magically fall into place and everyone isn’t suddenly happy living alongside people they have been fighting against all their lives. You don’t topple Sauron’s tower and all the Orcs magically die. In this world, the Orcs aren’t necessarily the bad guys either and the plan is to live alongside them. That takes an enormous amount of work and Laini Taylor doesn’t let her characters off easy. I found the ending very satisfying, even though I have a few questios that were left unanswered. For now, I am just happy that I still have the spin-off about Mik and Zuzana ahead of me.

MY RATING: 7.5/10 – Very good!

The Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy:

  1. Daughter of Smoke and Bone
  2. Days of Blood and Starlight
  3. Dreams of Gods and Monsters

Illumicrate Collections: Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Illumicrate

War Between Angels and Monsters: Laini Taylor – Days of Blood and Starlight

It doesn’t happen often that an author makes my opinion change 180 degrees. Laini Taylor did it! I first read Daughter of Smoke and Bone a while ago and bounced off it hard. Then, however, I read Strange the Dreamer and fell so utterly in love that a second chance was in order. My second read of the trilogy opener ended up much more positive. So much so that I ordered the pretty expensive Illumicrate special edition hardback. And while I’m saving Muse of Nightmares, I just had to know how Karou’s story continued. SPOILERS FOR DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE BELOW!

Announcing Laini Taylor's 10th Anniversary Editions | HodderscapeDAYS OF BLOOD AND STARLIGHT
by Laini Taylor

Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2012
eBook: 516 pages
Series: Daughter of Smoke & Bone #2
My rating: 7.5/10

Opening line: Prague, early May. The sky weighed gray over fairy-tale rooftops, and all the world was watching. 

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a world free of bloodshed and war.
This is not that world.

Art student and monster’s apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is—and what she is. But with this knowledge comes another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it.
In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must decide how far she’ll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices, Days of Blood & Starlight finds Karou and Akiva on opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life.
While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. For hope.
But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream?

This book picks up almost seamlessly from where the last one ended and it begins both in the best of ways and the most agonizing of ways. I love that the opening chapter is from the point of view of Zuzana, Karou’s best friend from art school. She not only brings a lot of humor into an otherwise very dark story, but she also puts the girls’ friendship front and center. Do I even need to mention how much I love seeing great female friendships in fiction? Where one girl can appreciate that the other is ridiculously beautiful without being jealous? Where they have each other’s backs, no matter what? Yeah, Zuzana and Karou are like that and this middle volume puts more focus on that friendship than the first one did.
The reason the beginning was also terrible (in a good way because it hits you right in the feels) was that it takes a long time for us to actually catch up to Karou. We see what Akiva has been up to, we meet some new chimaera characters, and that’s all good and interesting, BUT WHAT ABOUT KAROU?? Until, of course, we do see what she’s been doing and, more importantly, how she’s been doing.

Laini Taylor may write about Chimaera and Seraphim, creatures that aren’t real, that are considered fantasy, but this novel is really about war where it doesn’t matter what side you’re on or whether any of the people involved are actually human. Karou hasn’t been idle since Zuzana and Mik watched her fly away into the sky but she also hasn’t been well. When we meet her again, she is broken, torn between her two lives and numbed by the grief of having lost her closest family. And then there’s the war…

This book takes a little longer to get going because it spends a lot of its first half introducing secondary characters, sometimes even very minor characters, to give the world more depth. I loved those parts but I’m sure some readers will be put off by the lack of focus on Karou. I found it interesting (and at times heartbreaking) to get to know random Chimaera characters who are currently in Eretz, fleeing from the angels that are trying to slaughter their entire species. I also loved seeing from the eyes of Seraphim guardsmen who aren’t participating in the war by hunting and killing Chimaera civilians, but whose job it is to protect emperor Joram. Their perspective is vastly different than Akiva’s for example, and even though some of those side characters only show up for a chapter or three, they helped make this world feel more real and more lived-in. And they gave me, as the reader, hope for a future peace. Not everyone is on board with what their leaders are telling them. They comply out of fear or because they think they are alone. Then again, some characters are just utterly vile and we get to see them as well, adding to the darkness of this novel.

There is little advancement in plot for a long time but during the second half of the book, things go absolutely crazy. Not only are old secrets revealed and new alliances forged, but both Karou and Akiva go through extremely tough situations that will leave them changed for the rest of their lives. The ending managed to straddle that line between being a satisfying conclusion to this volume but leaving many, many things open to be resolved in the final instalment.

There were a few things about this book that made it stand out to me. One quote – which I can’t tell you without spoiling, so I’ll be super vague – even brought tears to my eyes. I can sort of describe why, though. What Laini Taylor sets up during the beginning of this book is an atmosphere of utter despair. We see both sides of this useless war doing unspeakable things to each other and neither side can see any way out of it. Too much has happened in the past, to many deaths, too much suppression, how is this ever supposed to end unless one side completely annihilates the other? In the middle of this depressing world are Akiva and Karou, both sort of helping “their side” in the war effort but neither of them wants the killing to continue. But what can two lonely people do against the Warlord’s ruthless son and the Seraphim emperor who is determined to eradicate all Chimaera?

When you’re right in there with Karou and Akiva, when you feel there’s no hope for this story to ever reach a resemblance of a happy ending, Laini Taylor gives you glimpses of light. And it was those moments – whichever form they came in – that made this book have such an impact on me. Whether it’s a side character who refuses orders because killing children is not something they want to do, even if it’s “the only way” to save their people; or someone you thought you couldn’t trust who turns out to be on your side after all, or whether it’s just Zuzana and Mik being Zuzana and Mik and showing everyone that there’s more to life than blood and battle – I loved these moments and they gave me, reading this, the same feeling that the characters in the story got and which is also the book’s central theme: hope!

If I wasn’t in the middle of a readathon with a nicely planned TBR, I would have started the third book right away. I may just make Dreams of Gods and Monsters my next audiobook just so I can get to it in August. By now, after the rollercoaster of emotions that has been me discovering Laini Taylor’s writing, I have high expectations and I’m pretty sure I’ll be a sobbing mess by the end of this trilogy.

MY RATING: 7.5/10 – Very, very good!

Look at these gorgeous anniversary editions!!! There will be a paperback re-release of the trilogy (third cover to be revealed) but as I mentioned above, I splurged and orderd the signed hardback edition from Illumicrate and I fully intend to get the matching hardbacks for the rest of the trilogy.

Laini Taylor 10th Anniversary Special Editions | Hachette UK

These stunning covers are done by Jim di Bartolo (Laini Taylor’s husband) and I just love all the little details. Brimstone’s face on the first cover with a tiny Karou looking up at him just says so much. And then you have (I assume) Prague hidden in the smoky blue lines.
On the second cover, it took me a while to notice that the fiery smoke behind Madrigal (I guess it’s Madrigal) is in the shape of wings which also fits the book perfectly! I have no idea what to expect from book 3 as I haven’t read it yet but I cannot wait for both the content and the new cover of that book. It’s been a while since I was this excited! 🙂

 

So Much Better on a Re-Read: Laini Taylor – Daughter of Smoke and Bone

I don’t usually write reviews when I re-read a book but this time, I simply had to. Because this is probably the only case where a book I disliked a lot turned into a book I really loved! It goes to show that what you read before you pick up a book and your current mood makes a huge difference. I think the first time I read this, I had read too many bad YA books and went into it prejudiced or at least very carefully. When my expectations weren’t met, I was annoyed. And the love story kind of threw me.
This time around, I knew what to expect, I was in the right mood, and I ended up loving it. Sure, I still have some reservations (holy crap, the dialogue is cheesy on occasion) but I was much more forgiving on those parts because everything else was just so beautiful.

DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE
by Laini Taylor

Published: Little, Brown, 2011
Ebook: 420 pages
Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1
My rating: 7/10

Opening line: Walking to school over the snow-muffled cobbles, Karou had no sinister premonitions about the day.

Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.
In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.
And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war.
Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.
When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

Karou is a young, blue-haired art student who lives in Prague. She also secretly works for a group of chimeara – human-animal hybrids or monsters or whatever you want to call them – running errands for them. Errands that mostly have her collecting teeth from different places all over the world. Through doors that turn into magical portals, she can get to far-off places quite easily and bring back teeth to her foster father Brimstone. Karou was raised by Brimstone and his monster friends but she doesn’t actually know who she is, who her biological parents are, or where she comes from. So even though she has otherworldly beauty and a best friend, she always feels sort of lost in the world. Like there’s a part of her missing.

Oh man, there is so much to love in this story. Having read Strange the Dreamer and some shorter works by Laini Taylor, I have to say that this feels very much like an early work. The beginnings of her genius are there but her lyrical language often veers into kitsch, something that doesn’t happen at all in her later books. What bothered me immensely the first time I read this was the description of people’s looks. Both Karou and Akiva are so beautiful that Laini Taylor unpacked a whole list of clichĂ© descriptions that simply made me roll my eyes. Those parts were just as painful on the re-read as they were the first time. But at least I was prepared and tried to ignore it and concentrate on the other parts of the story.

And the story packs a punch. When black handprints appear on the portals Karou uses, she knows something isn’t right. When she is cut off from the only family she has evern known and has to fear for their lives, it’s time to act on her own. Even if that means talking to the weird (but of course, crazy beautiful) angel who almost killed her and who seems responsible for her dire situation. When Karou and Akiva do talk, the secrets that are revealed are way bigger than Karou could have expected. And that’s all I can say about that without spoiling. But there are twists within twists and they work because – despite the cheesy language – Laini Taylor makes us care for these characters first.

Karou wasn’t the easiest character to like. She feels a bit aloof what with all her secret-keeping and the magical abilities granted to her by Brimstone, in the form of wishes. Being a teenager, she only gets small wishes – just enough to make her hair blue without having to dye it, or to give a nasty ex-boyfriend an uncomfortable itch. But Karou is after the bigger wishes, the ones that can make you fly or turn invisible. And honestly, how can I fault her? I would totally get myself teleportation powers and invisibility… But it took me a while to actually like her. Maybe it’s because she is described as being so beautiful and well-liked that I couldn’t really identify with her. But the more the story progresses and the more it becomes evident that Karou has real problems to deal with, the more I liked her. Even the ridiculous insta-love is forgivable once you’ve read the entire book.

Another strange storytelling choice was the cut from Karou’s storyline to a story from the magical world of the chimaera. It is such a crass cut that totally jarred me out of the reading experience when I first read this book.  Once you have read the entire book, it does make sense, but when you go into it for the first time, it just feels weird to completely leave Karou behind and go to a different character’s story for many chapters without ever checking back with Karou. Maybe alternating chapters would have been a better idea, maybe this is the right way to tell the story, I don’t know. But I also knew to expect this and so the wanting-to-finally-get-back-to-Karou wasn’t all that bad this time. And, unlike last time, I really enjoyed this flashback because I could just enjoy it for what it was. Madrigal’s story shows us this amazing other world, the one that Karou doesn’t really know. The one where Brimstone and Issa came from.

I can’t really put my finger on why this book worked so damn well for me this time when I kind of hated it the first time around. Sure, knowing ahead of time what things I won’t like helped. But I believe it mostly had to do with my own mindset and some prejudices about YA romantic fantasties that I have since left behind me (mostly). Whatever it really was, I am so very glad I gave this series another chance because I will definitely continue reading the trilogy and anthing else Laini Taylor publishes. The good thing is, I already know her writing gets better with every book (having adored Strange the Dreamer and Lips Touch: Three Times), so I fully expect to like the second and third novels in this trilogy even more.

MY RATING: 7/10 – Very good

Laini Taylor – Daughter of Smoke and Bone

I know, I know. My forays into recent YA fantasy have been mostly devastating (with the exception of Patrick Ness, who is awesome) and it seems that I keep falling for the same kind of hype. But Laini Taylor has been praised not only by voracious YA readers but by pretty much everyone, and I feel reluctant writing off a new (to me) writer just because the hype seems insincere (again). You know the feeling, right?

daughter of smoke and boneDAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE
by Laini Taylor

Published by: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2011
ISBN: 0316192147
ebook: 391 pages
Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1

My rating: 2,5/10

First sentence: Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love. It did not end well.

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.
In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.
And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.
Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”; she speaks many languages–not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.
When one of the strangers–beautiful, haunted Akiva–fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

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Oh boy… it is at times like these that I am grateful I don’t have a lot of followers. Or at least not the kind of followers who will rip me apart for disliking a beloved book. Let’s do this! Karou is a young girl who goes to an art school in Prague. What her quirky best friend Zuzana doesn’t know is that Karou leads a second life. A life of running errands for the only family she has – a group of chimaera, monsters if you will, with bodies that are part human and part animal. Karou knows almost nothing about the chimaera or their magic which makes for a great premise and immediately drew me into the story. Unfortunately, the author doesn’t really focus on these interesting bits enough. Instead, she has other things in mind. Let me explain with this quote:

Karou was, simply, lovely. Creamy and leggy, with long azure hair and the eyes of a silent-movie star, she moved like a poem and smiled like a sphinx. Beyond merely pretty, her face was vibrantly alive, her gaze always sparkling and luminous, and she had a birdlike way of cocking her head, her lips pressed together while her dark eyes danced, that hinted at secrets and mysteries.

This is worrying for two reasons. One, nobody is that perfect. Personally, I like my heroines flawed – physically as well as otherwise – and except for photoshopped supermodels, I have never seen a woman who could be described like this. I only quoted this one part, because it shows just how ĂĽber-perfect Karou is and how clunky the language in which she is described. But there are numerous occasions on which Karou’s perfection is highlighted. Her ballet-dancer figure, her shiny hair. Every single girl and woman I know has in some way suffered because she didn’t fit the current beauty ideal. Having struggled with my own weight and a pimply face for quite a few years, I find it much easier to sympathise with protagonists who are in some way like me. Give her too bushy eyebrows, a potato nose, crooked front teeth – something to make her more realistic. I should also mention, that everyobdy in this book is of otherworldy beauty. I’ll grant that some of these characters actually are supernatural and I’ll forgive them their perfection, but with everybody being beautiful, the word just lost its meaning.

The second reason this paragraph struck me as awful was that this is a third person limited narrative. Meaning, we see and know only what Karou sees and knows. That is essential to the plot, because for the most part of the story, she is rather clueless. Then I read this paragraph and wonder how full of oneself a person has to be to describe herself in such a manner. Had another viewpoint character spotted her and thought these things, everything would be peachy, it would be his perception of her. The way it was done? Not ok. On a sidenote, the other viewpoint character does see her and describes her in equally flowery, cheesy language. So there you go.

Having gotten the author’s obsession with physical beauty out of the way, there were other things that rubbed me the wrong way.  As the story progresses, Karou stops thinking about her love life and starts thinking more about survival. But there is a clear line between her adventures concerning the chimaera world and Karou’s real world life. The latter never offers more than conversations about boys, idiotic stereotypical girl characters and – you guessed it – more talk about how beautiful everybody is. This became worse and worse, especially when the male romantic lead shows up. It was at that point that the writing took a terrible spin for wanna-be-poetic, but ended up being clunky and, a lot of times, illogical.

[…]when I saw her smile I wondered what it would be like to make her smile. I thought… I thought it would be like the discovery of smiling.

Apart from strange and not very elegant sentences like the one above, there are tons of continuity and logical mistakes in this book. Remember, this is third person limited. However, when we switch between the two protagonists, Akiva knows things that Karou only thought to herself in the last chapter, never said out loud. He has information that he couldn’t possibly have – unless he’s also a mind-reader. Frequently, you will find moments of head-jumping in the middle of a chapter. Generally, that’s ok. It is the inconsistency that bothered me. The author couldn’t make up her mind whether to use a third person limited or third person omniscient perspective. The fact that you never know what you’ll get in a given chapter is massively annoying.

But speaking of Akiva… oh boy. If you’re a Twilight fan, you will probably find him cute and strong and protective and whatnot, but let’s face it. He is 50 years old. He stalks Karou, watches her sleep, and – without warning, by the way – falls in love with her. Well, the only “warning” we get is that Karou is beautiful. That’s enough, right? Apart from being a creepy, old stalker who falls in love with a girl who could be his dauther, this felt wrong to me on so many levels. If at least there had been an actual romance, a getting to know each other and slowly falling in love, maybe (though probalby not) I wouldn’t feel so strongly about this. But it’s insta-love. And just because it is insta-love on second sight doesn’t change that fact. Karou is also most taken with Akiva’s beauty. At least people are equally shallow in this story – men are worthless if they don’t look pretty just the same way women are.
The bottom line is: A 17-year-old girl and a 50-year-old man fall in love because of how pretty they are. I am disgusted.

At pretty much the exact point the “romance” starts, Laini Taylor apparently decided to entirely drop all plot. Everything that we get to read in the second half of the book is how two impossibly beautiful people are in love after only a few minutes together. The last third was definitely the worst, though. Not only because the prose reaches levels of cheesiness that I thought were impossible but because the story is interrupted for flashbacks. Flashbacks that tell us – in minute and achingly boring detail – things we already know! In somewhat decent foreshadowing, we were given all the information we needed. But it seems that we get the prequel included in this first of a trilogy. Needless to say, it slowed down what was already a very loose plot to a standstill.

Let me mention the few things that were done well. In the first half of the book (this is vital, the second half is pure torture), the story was actually quite immersive, and hard to put down. It promised to show us a world of wonder, a world filled with monsters and dark magic – all of which was unceremoniously dropped for a lame romance between a child and an oldish man and for flashbacks with more gorgeous people telling each other how perfect they are.

Another thing I liked (again, only in the beginning) was Taylor’s sense of humor. Zuzana, who was mostly there for comic relief, always had something funny to say. Even Brimstone came up with the occasional chuckle-worthy sentence.

I don’t know many rules to live by,” he said. “But here’s one. It’s simple. Don’t put anything unnecessary into yourself. No poisons or chemicals, no fumes or smoke or alcohol, no sharp objects, no inessential needles – drug or tattoo – and… no inessential penises, either.”

I could rant much more because this could have been a great book. If somebody had dared to tell the author to stay on track with the plot and to tune down the descriptions of beauty and flowery language a bit, it could have worked. This way, the book was just horrible. A fresh idea wasted on somebody who lacked either the will or help to execute it well.

THE GOOD: A great idea and a thrilling beginning.
THE BAD: Every character is of unnatural beauty, the language is clunky, there are logical mistakes galore, the romance is revolting, the plot gets dropped mid-book. Plus, cliffhanger (for those who care what happens).
THE VERDICT: Not recommended. Dear YA authors. Not every story needs a forced romance, especially between an old man and a teenage girl. Age is not just about how old you look, it is about experience and maturity. This was a pretty terrible book.

RATING: 2,5/10 – Terrible

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