Rating: 2.5 Stars
Walking to school over the snow-muffled cobbles, Karou had no sinister premonitions about the day.
Karou is a blue-haired artist with a secret: She grew up with and works for strange creatures: half human, half animal. One of them is Brimstone, the Wishmonger, who collects teeth and offers wishes in return.
But they are threatened. Dark handmarks appear on the doors that lead to Brimstone’s shop and angels walk on earth. Angels that are determined to destroy Brimstone. Karous should hate them, but among them is one who sets her heart on fire. And she can’t shake the feeling that she knows him, from somewhere…
When I first read this book I loved it. I was thrilled to re-read it but somehow… it didn’t hold up anymore. I struggled getting through it.
Here’s the thing: I loved the worldbuilding, I really enjoyed the characters.
She knew of a scribe dressed all in white who penned letters to the dead (and delivered them) and an old storyteller who sold ideas to writers at the price of a year of their lives.
There’s a parallel world where angels fight chimaeras, half human-half animal creatures. Angels versus monsters, in a way, except the chimaera aren’t monsters. They aren’t inherently evil. The war has been going on for years and years and there is no end in sight.
Brimstone’s shop is in between their world and ours and a hundred different doors in this world lead into it. He collects teeth and offers wishes in return. It’s an awesome setting and an intriguing mystery: what does he do with the teeth?
In all the world, there was only one place humans could get wishes: Brimstone’s shop. And there was only one currency he accepted. It wasn’t gold, or riddles, or kindness, or any other fairy-tale nonsense, and no, it wasn’t souls either. It was weirder than any of that.It was teeth.
The characters were really great as well. I loved Karou’s friend Zuzanna. She’s the best friend everyone wants. I loved Brimstone. I was thoroughly creeped out by Thiago, general of the chimaera and creepy dude.
Basically, I enjoyed all the non-romance parts of the book. But a big part of the book is romance. And the romance totally ruined it for me. It was just too much.
His touch, his heat, his gaze washed over her and, in an instant, it was not butterflies she felt. That was small, the flutterings of a giddy girl.
This new thing that sprang up between them, it was … astral. It reshaped the air and it was in her, too – a warming and softening, a pull – and for that moment, her hands in his, Karou felt as powerless as starlight tugged toward the sun in the huge, strange warp of space.
The book went downhill fast when Akiva, the love interest turned up. Everything sort of… stops. All we get is them gazing at each other. Talking about how beautiful they are. We get it, Akiva is gorgeous and Karou is totally in love. And yeah, I get it, Karou has blue hair (seriously what is the obsession with her hair? It is mentioned constantly!) and there is just something about her that makes Akiva’s cold heart flutter
“Love is a luxury.”
“No. Love is an element.”
An element. Like air to breathe, air to stand on.
I wanted to know more about Brimstone and the war and the teeth. Not about Akiva’s abs or Karou’s hair. It is a shame because we never get to see them falling in love. They just are, utterly and totally, head and soul, from the second they meet.
It’s a shame because there were some genuinely sweet moments.
The magic she knew through Brimstone had little whimsy in it. This was beautiful, both in form – the wings were a dozen twilight colours, nd as soft as lamb’s ears – and in purpose. He had covered her. Thiago had torn her dress, and Akiva had covered her.
If it could have been like this, the two of them slowly getting to know each other, it would have been way better. As it was, it was annoying.
I felt like Karou was a much stronger, more interesting character before Akiva arrived on the scene.
I liked Karou’s decision in the end though and the world, so I will read the next one and hope there will be less… soul-gazing.
Interesting world, interesting characters, too heavy on the romance.