A love thought lost proves anything but when another world’s 1,000-year war spills over into this one.
Seventeen-year-old Karou leads a double life: as an art student in Prague with normal boyfriend troubles—and as a runner of bizarre errands for Brimstone, a scarred and saturnine sorcerer with the head of a ram and the lower body of a dragon. With similarly chimerical associates, he has raised her from infancy and dispatches her through magic portals to destinations all over the world. She knows nothing of her past or purpose—until a sudden, fiery closure of all the portals cuts her off from the only family she’s ever known, and an initially violent but ultimately “sweet and beckoning collision” with winged, inhumanly beautiful Akiva leads to revelations of an ancient conflict between Seraphim and the supposedly bestial Chimaera. Switching points of view and settings, Taylor then fills in a back story that links Akiva and Karou in an older tragedy, while planting seeds that might lead ultimately to peace. The plot hinges on major contrivances, but along with writing in such heightened language that even casual banter often comes off as wildly funny, the author crafts a fierce heroine with bright-blue hair, tattoos, martial skills, a growing attachment to a preternaturally hunky but not entirely sane warrior and, in episodes to come, an army of killer angels to confront.
Rarely—perhaps not since the author’s own Faeries of Dreamdark: Blackbringer (2007)—does a series kick off so deliciously. (Fantasy. 13-16)