This book rocked my world. And any other world I've ever known. It is the most exemplary example of young adult fantasy that I've ever come across. I was so thoroughly folded into this book that by the time I came to the end of the book I couldn't believe that it was only a book. This world was created so seamlessly to exist with our own, that I'm not entirely convinced that it can only be found on these pages.
Not only did it include parallel fantasy worlds, but it was set in Prague (and Karou was in Morocco quite a bit as well) so it already had that old, smoky, enchanted feel without adding in the fantasical elements. I'm so jealous of Karou for where she lives and for her ability to learn languages just by making a wish. She even has access to a portal that opens up places all over the world - which, if I could put a portal like that on my wish list, I so would. And her supernatural friends are so vibrant, so wonderful, and the world they come from is so fascinating.
But the reason this book exceeds others is in the storytelling. It's incredible. The way the story unfolds is clearly thought out - it's quiet and subtle - so that when something major happens it knocks you off your chair. I can hardly explain why this was so masterfully written, unless you've read it, but the magic in this story is in the way it unfolds. If you've ever doubted it, read this and you won't anymore - Words ARE Magic.
I've read a lot of fantasy books, but this was so new and so fresh. It's still angels and demons - good and evil - but it's told in a different perspective, a new angle - it's all so crazy, but somehow it works, and it feels so real. It's impressive. I can't recommend this book enough - and I daresay it breaks my top five books I read this year - it might possibly be THE best book I've read this year. It's. so. good. It's the first installment in the series (thank goodness! I can't get enough!) and the second book is expected to be released in September 2012. I have a feeling that this is one of those series that starts out stunning, and then turns into something epic - so start falling in love now. It's so worth it.