Destiny and love commingle despite, it sometimes seems, the author’s best efforts to prevent them in this culmination to the 1,000-year war between angelic beasts and bestial angels.
Taylor takes up the tale where it left off in Days of Blood and Starlight (2012). Mad, scarred angel Jael leads a shining, 1,000-strong Dominion to this world in search of the human weapons that will at last exterminate the despised chimaera. Meanwhile, back on parallel Eretz, blue-tressed Karou and winged Akiva concoct a desperate scheme to unite the remnants of the chimaera army with the Misbegotten—rebel seraphim. The teeming welter of betrayals, anguished sacrifices, abrupt reversals and revelations entails gut-wrenching choices (“Uncomplicated,” remarks Karou at one pass. “What’s that like?”). Despite this, not only does a fragile peace seem possible—albeit expedited by a previously clandestine third power bearing news of a much older, larger conflict—but the author metes out just deserts to the despicable characters while consummating the central romantic relationship (and several secondary ones) in discreet but fully satisfactory ways. Furthermore, the author’s gift for poetically intense language is on display everywhere, from chapter titles (“The Abyss’s Mad Gawk”) to general description: “Her heartbeat felt like cannon fire—doomful and deep and reverberating through her entire body,” etc. Delicious.
Despite being speeded to resolution, an ambitious, gorgeously edgy drama lit up by its coruscating characters and prose. (Fantasy. 13 & up)