By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her, if there can even be a future for the chimaera in war-ravaged Eretz.
Common enemy, common cause.
When Jael’s brutal seraph army trespasses into the human world, the unthinkable becomes essential, and Karou and Akiva must ally their enemy armies against the threat. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people.
And, perhaps, for themselves. Toward a new way of living, and maybe even love.
But there are bigger threats than Jael in the offing. A vicious queen is hunting Akiva, and, in the skies of Eretz … something is happening. Massive stains are spreading like bruises from horizon to horizon; the great winged stormhunters are gathering as if summoned, ceaselessly circling, and a deep sense of wrong pervades the world.
What power can bruise the sky?
From the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond, humans, chimaera and seraphim will fight, strive, love, and die in an epic theater that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy.
At the very barriers of space and time, what do gods and monsters dream of? And does anything else matter?
Some things in life just cannot be explained, and the rush of reading this book is one of them. I think I have always made my love for this series evident – short of shouting from the rooftops, that is. It was with some hesitation that I even began reading this 600+ page saga – more for the end of a brilliant series and doubt that could anything even close this series well. See, the world that Taylor created is vast and infinite, in more ways than one, as was revealed in this book. I was worried how it would all be tied up and kept putting off reading until some auspicious moment to begin it, allowing me to savor each delicious word and phrase for the first time. I didn’t even mind the long descriptions of a scene – to me, they were richer, like how telethesia was better than a verbal conversation.
The writing – I am not even going to touch on that, because the brilliance of her writing cannot be described in words. It may seem like me being superfluous and too starstruck, but her poetic way of describing everything right from a beautiful first sighting to the horror of a battle is just something you have to experience for yourself and then hold it in your mind in awe. There is a brilliance in the way the characters are constructed, with the rabid fairy Zuzana to the compassionate Ziri to the conflicted Liraz, and even the fallen Razgut. Mind you, these are all secondary characters but while reading each of their story matters. It is not just Karou and Akiva’s story – they may have been the beginning but the scale to which this book was taken – it’s just magnificent. We get a new character Eliza who has a big role to play in the future of Eretz and the Earth. What started as a mere rebellion against the empire is encompassing all worlds. Karou and Akiva set out to unite two races and by the end have had so many missed opportunities and responsibilities that when they finally meet, it is a beautiful thing. Ziri and his struggle with being the Wolf is an amazing arc – here is a pure soul into a cruel body, but he brings out the best of it. Him and Liraz start out the same way – instruments for a purpose, and the freedom they gain at the end is touching.
The book, being divided into four parts, has the first two parts devoted to a tense atmosphere, akin to the clouds gathering before a storm. Things overlap and foreshadow in a splendid way, and when the whole creation of the worlds was brought out in the third part, I was blown away. The third, in fact, ends on somewhat of a happy ending, which made me dread the fourth. The fourth gave way to a lot of future-building and the threat looming over Eretz is the dominant arc. The ending was as described ‘not a happy ending, but a happy middle’ and yes, it was left open-ended, the fact that things were already explained before makes me relieved in the fact that there is an HEA, an unexpected one but a satisfying one all the same.
Now, I normally don’t do this but I just had to share this small snippet which I absolutely loved. It is Akiva describing happiness and I feel it embodied even the end of the book.
It was a new idea for him, that happiness wasn’t a mystical place to be reached or won – some bright terrain beyond the boundary of misery, a paradise waiting for them to find it – but something to carry doggedly with you through everything, as humble and ordinary as your gear and supplies. Food, weapons, happiness.
With hope that the weapons could in time vanish from the picture.
A new way of living.