Karou lives in two worlds. In one she is an art student living in Prague, set apart by her blue hair and tattoos. In the other she works with the chimaera, creatures that are a cross between different animals and sometimes human. For Brimstone, the chimaera who raised her, she collects teeth. These are turned into wishes, and other powerful magic, but she does not know their main use. There are doorways to this other world all over Earth, and this makes her teeth gathering mission much easier, but one day when she returns to a door it has a scorched black handprint on it. These handprints keep showing up on doorways, until one day, after being kicked out of Brimstone’s shop for a transgression, the doorways are burned away completely. Desperate to see her chimaera family again, Karou hatches a plot to find a final doorway and make it across to the chimaera world. Along the way she will battle angels, learn to fly, and find out the truth about her identity.
I feel like I’ve had this on my to read list for an age. And yet I’ve avoided picking it up. I’m not sure why, except angels don’t really do it for me as subjects in books. Luckily they’re not the main focus, nor are the the stereotypical angels you always end up reading about. And I’m so glad I finally got out of my own way and read this. It’s a wonderful book, and Taylor has an amazing imagination and an incredible gift with description. I can often have trouble picturing things in fantasy books, or relying on things I’ve already seen to fill in the blanks. But I didn’t need to do that here. Karou and Akiva (the angel), and Brimstone and the other chimaera, are so fully depicted that it’s easy to fall into the story and accept this as reality.
The story is also incredibly compelling, and I really cared about what would happen to Karou and her odd family, as well as her new love. I’ll definitely be diving into the rest of the series as soon as I can get my hands on them, as well as other books by Taylor.