I really wanted to like this book. It has a lot of elements that I thought I would love, prior to actually reading it. Story is very good, but its exe...moreI really wanted to like this book. It has a lot of elements that I thought I would love, prior to actually reading it. Story is very good, but its execution is far from even borderline. There are some ok characters, but most are pretty two dimensional, villains are all evil-lordish, good guys are all epitome of virtue, and high-powered to boot. Not very smart, though, they always fall into very simple plots that would shame any half-smart villain out there. Dialogues are uninspired and there are clishes all around. Sometimes it was pretty painful to read nonsense. And the saddest thing is, the book held so much promise - I really liked first book, even with all its faults in writing, the description of Reza's childhood on the Empress Moon was beautiful. But the somewhat wavery writing of the first book slid downwards in the second, and in third hit the rock bottom. For the first book, this omnibus gets three stars. Such a shame. (less)
To begin with a short impression on the book: absolutely lovely! This is one of the books that I will remember mostly for its atmosphere, which is hau...moreTo begin with a short impression on the book: absolutely lovely! This is one of the books that I will remember mostly for its atmosphere, which is haunting, lyrical, mystical and wondrous. In some ways I'm reminded on Catherine Valente, though their prose style are nothing alike, but because of that vivid background where they paint their pictures.
And that background is breathtaking - beautiful, mysterious Prague, which I love like no other city in the world. First time I was there, I spent a month on student practice in a nearby observatory in Ondrejov. I traveled most of south Bohemia, and before and after that I traveled a lot through Europe and Asia, but I will always return to Prague, its gothic towers, marionette shops, walled gardens.
I guess some will put this book in the genre of paranormal romance. I usually don't care much for that genre, or romance in literature in general. I don't have anything against it, of course, but most of it is poorly written, and serves only to satisfy the hunger for romance in a world where there is not much of it. Here we have Romeo and Juliette story with two factions - chimaera and seraph - in war, and Karou and Akiva whose love dreams of peace.
They are both vivid individuals, though we spend most of the time with Karou, with her strange chimaera family, Brimstone who collects teeth and pays in wishes, Issa with her snakelike body, little messenger Kishmish, getting languages for birthdays, and traveling the world on errands through portals - and her other life as an art student in Prague, visiting macabre Poison Kitchen, bantering with her best friend Zuzana, little marionetter, avoiding her beautiful and kind of dumb ex-boyfriend. I absolutely loved scene with Zuzana, where marionetter plays marionette balerine on Charles bridge. Akiva is a bit more clishe - seraph with a tormented past - but that quickly drowns in haunting mythos of the war and loss and defeat. Beautifully done.
I'll be definitively looking for sequel. This is very highly recommended.