[This is for] the way loneliness is worse when you return to it after a reprieve—like the soul's version of putting on a wet bathing suit, clammy and miserable. (3.24)
This is some great loneliness imagery. Like a wet bathing suit, Karou's loneliness clings to her. She's an orphan, so we understand why she's especially sensitive about being alone.
Zuzana looked back and saw the expression that Karou sometimes got when she thought no one was watching. It was sadness, lostness, and the worst thing about it was the way it seemed like a default. (10.35)
What do you think your default expression looks like, and what does it say about you? Karou is so used to being alone, that when she forgets to put a front, she just looks like a sad puppy dog in a pet store.
Karou didn't want to need it. Yearning for love made her feel like a cat that was always twining around ankles, meowing Pet me, pet me, look at me, love me. (10.109)
Karou conjures up a pathetic image of herself here, mostly likely from the shame she feels at feeling lonely. She tries to make her loneliness into a strength, by being "cool and aloof" (10.111), but that attitude doesn't change how she feels.
[Karou] didn't want to be released into the wild. She wanted to be held dear. To belong to a place and a family, irrevocably. (13.2)
Karou's interpreting Brimstone's comment about "taking her freedom" pretty harshly. She's afraid she's going to lose him too, and even though he's a crocodile-headed demon, he's like a father to her.
Over the years [Akiva] had learned to deaden himself, and he had lived so long with the deadness that he believed pity and mercy were extinguished in him, but tonight he had experienced dull stabs of both. (18.9)
Like Karou, Akiva has lived in relative isolation his whole life. Although he doesn't yet realize it, he's starting to feel again because he was just close to Karou, who is his long-lost soulmate.
At the very least Issa would bring her coat and shoes. Surely. But the door didn't and didn't and still didn't open. (19.30-19.32)
We're surprised at Karou's resolve here. Despite the fact that she has just been completely cut off from the only family she's ever known, she doesn't have a nervous breakdown. Maybe she's in shock.
[Karou] was flying. God, she wished there was someone here to share it with. (22.42)
How awesome would it be to be able to fly? How much would it suck to not have anyone to share that with? Some people feel like there's not much to live for if they don't have someone to share their experiences with.
"I'll keep you warm. I'll braid your hair. You'll never be lonely again." (22.69)
Well, Razgut might be a creepy little troll of an angel, but he manages to get right to the heart of Karou's pain. And what does he do with his insight? Use it to his advantage. He wants to get out of Dodge, and he realizes Karou is his golden ticket.
With the infinite patience of one who has learned to live broken, he awaited her return. (23.8)
Akiva might as well be an orphan, like Karou. He didn't know his mother, never identified with his father, and his brother and sister aren't exactly supportive of him. The upside to living his life in relative isolation: this infinite patience for crappy situations.
"I'll wait for you as long as I can. That's the best I can do." (36.37)
Karou shows us the flip side of that "infinite patience" coin. She's patient too, but her isolation has given her a sense of independence and perseverance. So she is going to do whatever it takes to take care of herself first, before she deals with her relationship with Karou.
[Karou's] hair did grow out of her head that color, pure as ultramarine straight from the paint tube, but that was a truth she told with a certain wry smile, as if she were being absurd. (2.28)
Karou's an expert at telling the truth, and telling it slant. (Yo, Emily Dickinson. What up?) When the truth is so ridiculous that no one will ever believe it, you can still tell that truth, but it'll inevitably sound like a joke. So ham it up, kiddos.
"You and your errands. What do you have to do, so all of a sudden?" [...] "Just things," said Karou, and Zuzana let it drop, knowing from experience that she'd get no specifics. (4.45, 4.46)
As Karou's friend, Zuzana is used to dealing with lies. But eventually gets fed up with Karou, and demands the truth. Karou's lucky Zuzana has put up with her for as long as she has.
"What's it all for? What do you do with these teeth? If you would just tell me, maybe I could understand." (5.51)
Of course, Brimstone never tells Karou what all the teeth her for. He keeps her in the dark for her whole life. We have to wonder whether his form of "protection" actually did Karou more harm than good.
In all Karou's life, [the door] had never been opened in her presence. (8.49)
That door symbolizes Brimstone's lies about Karou's true identity. Through it, there is a portal into the Elsewhere, as well as the place where Brimstone creates bodies. Although this is never explicitly said in the novel, he probably created Karou's body there too.
"Well, it's not exactly a job. I just run errands for this guy." (10.26)
Karou takes small steps toward telling Zuzana the truth about her lifestyle. It's hard to figure out what's better: hiding her magical self altogether, or telling Zuzana half-truths that sound a heck of a lot sketchier (but more believable) than the whole truth.
In her jacket pocket, [Karou's] fingers toyed with the store of shings from the week's errands. "I think those guys are about to leave." She nodded to the backpackers. [...] A second later, the backpackers rose to their feet. "Told you." (10.68, 10.69)
Karou often uses her wish magic for deceitful purposes. In addition to this, she makes Kaz's, um, porthole itch. And she makes Svetla's eyebrows grow huge. What are the consequences for these petty wishes?
Karou felt the two chimaera looking at her and tried her best to appear unconscious. (16.30)
When trying to get secrets out of someone, pretend to be asleep. You don't need magic to do that.
"Okay," Zuzana said. "I'm ready. [...] For a really good story that I hope will be the truth." (20.14, 20.16)
Here's the point when Zuzana gets fed up with Karou's lies. A friendship can only hold so much deceit, and Zuzana finally cracks. Brownie points to Karou for telling her the truth for the first time, even though the magic stuff is too crazy for Zuzana to believe.
[Akiva] couldn't tell them why he'd come here, or what he'd found. (34.36)
Akiva deceives his family, too. His reasoning is that he is going against everything the seraphim believe in: romance with a chimaera. Do you think they would understand if he told them the truth?
"If you want to see my hands, all you have to do is ask." (34.54)
Here, Karou is showing off her magic tattoos on her palms, the ones we learn she earned by being resurrected. It's a little ironic that Karou tries to prove her honesty by showing her palms, though. The showing of one's palm, a hand gesture known as moutza, can be pretty offensive in some parts of the world.
"Don't put anything unnecessary into yourself. [...] No inessential penises, either." (3.34)
Brimstone's not much of a fan of lust, it seems. Love must make a penis "essential."
"I was going to say the beginning is the good part, when it's all sparks and sparkles, before they are inevitably unmasked as assholes." (10.90)
Here, Karou is talking about the love (or is it lust?) she felt for Kaz. Funnily enough, this could also be applied to the love (or lust) she feels for Akiva. By the end of the book, he's unmasked as a murderer.
"So, if it's all chemical and you have no say in the matter, does that mean [Kaz] still makes your butterflies dance?" (10.103)
Zuzana and Karou have a huge talk about whether you have any control over love or not. Karou suggests that it's all chemical. Maybe she's talking about how her pheromones get her blood racing around Kaz. Is that love or lust? Also, even if her attraction to Kaz is purely chemical, is it any different from her relationship with Akiva, which is pre-destined? Destiny is stronger than any chemical, we think.
"Beauty," Brimstone had scoffed once. "Humans are fools for it. As helpless as moths who hurl themselves at fire." (29.4)
True dat. But, Brimstone, as your ward Madrigal proved, chimaera are suckers for beauty too. She just could not stop starting at Akiva's beautiful face.
[Zuzana] cast a sidelong glance at Karou and said, in helpless amazement, "Oh, hell. Must. Mate. Immediately." (33.8)
Akiva's good looks seem to inspire lust in just about everyone. None of the people who saw the angels when they were burning handprints onto doors seemed to be consumed with lust, though. Why do you think that is?
It was tantalizing. Karou didn't think. She reached for Akiva's hand. And shocked a pulse into it. (34.28)
Although Karou is actually shocking Akiva—using her paranormal hamsa powers that just love energy-blasting angels—this "shock" could also be representative of lust.
The thing [Akiva] wished for most was a thing he had never wished for at all, not until he had discovered [Madrigal]. And it came true that night, and many nights after. A brief and shining span of happiness. (40.14)
This is something Akiva thinks about while fondling Karou's wishbone, so we're pretty sure what he's thinking about… But is Karou the only reason he originally wanted to end the beast war? Does peace come into the equation at all?
[Karou] knew what she wanted. She wanted what her hands wanted: to touch Akiva, and not just with her fingertips, and not with caution, and not with fear or causing him pain. (41.18)
Karou really wants Akiva here. But she knows that real love shouldn't hurt. Conundrum.
A whisper of a thrill came over [Madrigal] at the thought of [Thiago]. (48.34)
Here's one of those little SAT analogies for you: Thiago:Madrigal :: Kaz:Karou. Both Thiago and Kaz are hot, a little different (Thiago, kind of a werewolf; Kaz, kind of a vampire), and drive Madrigal/Karou wild with lust... but neither are the right "men" for her.
[The sugar's] telltale shimmer might as well have been a sign that said LICK ME. (50.51)
Lust appeals to all of the senses, and the chimaera take advantage of the sense of taste by donning sugar dust.
"Your body is nothing but an envelope, Karou. Your soul is another matter, and is not, as far as I know, in any immediate danger." (6.13)
Reading this for the first time, you might think it's a little bit of New Age-y wisdom from Brimstone, informing Karou to take care of her soul over her body. However, by the end of the book, we realize that this moment is foreshadowing the fact that Karou's soul has been inside another body before.
This was [Karou's] life: magic and shame and secrets and teeth and a deep, nagging hollow at the center of herself where something was most certainly missing. (6.22)
You might think this nagging something is Karou's loneliness. But we think it's more likely her lack of a solid identity. All she does is go on errands for Brimstone and try to hide what she's doing for others. She has no idea why, and without that why, she has no idea who she is.
The blue-haired girl moved through it all like a fairy through a story, the light treating her differently than it did others, the air seeming to gather around her like held breath. As if this whole place were a story about her. Who was she? (12.8, 12.9)
These lines have a bit of double meaning. Karou is glowing to Akiva because she is his long-dead love, Madrigal, resurrected. However, this book that Karou is moving through is also pretty much a story about her. That's the whole conflict, the driving force: finding out who Karou is, really.
A human marked with the devil's eyes. Why? There was only one possible answer, as plain as it was disturbing. That [Karou] was not, in fact, human. (14.75-14.77)
This is the first hint that Karou isn't human. She doesn't know it yet, though. Since Akiva's not human either, maybe it takes a non-human to know one?
"What are you?" [Kaz] asked. Not who, but what. (19.41-19.42)
This is a pretty biting question, directed at Karou while she's smack-dab in the middle of her identity crisis. At this point, she has no idea who she is, and being called a what makes her wonder if she's really a monster after all. Poor Karou.
[Karou's] name, called out to her, didn't always register, and even the lay of her shadow could strike her as foreign. (22.6)
The more lost and confused Karou becomes after Brimstone's disappearance, the more disassociated from herself she becomes. As we've heard, a shadow tells the truth, so the fact that her shadow is foreign tells us that she's really someone else.
For the first time since [Akiva had] lost [Madrigal], his memory failed to conjure Madrigals' face. Another face intruded: Karou's. (25.31)
While this sentence can be interpreted as Akiva's newfound love/lust for Karou replacing his memory for Madrigal, it's also some subtle foreshadowing about Karou's true identity.
She rushed into herself and was filled. [...] She was whole. (44.3, 44.6)
Snapping the wishbone marks the moment when Karou knows exactly who she is. The pieces of the identity puzzle finally snap together. Man, we wish it was this easy in real life.
[Akiva] wore a horse mask of molded leather that covered his true head completely. (51.13)
The chimaera play with identity at the masquerade ball. Human-types dress as animals and vice-versa. Here, we see Akiva don a horse mask. What do you think he's trying to say about himself by assuming this as his animal identity?
Brimstone had made her a baby, a human, named her hope and given her a whole life, far away from war and death. (57.9)
What kind of "hope" does Karou represent? Hope for what, or for whom?
In the center of each [palm] was an eye inked in deepest indigo, in effect turning [Karou's] hands into hamsas, those ancient symbols of warding against the evil eye. (2.70)
The hamsa has roots in Jewish mysticism. What do the real hamsas have in common with the fictional Karou's hamsas?
If you opened [the door] from without, it revealed only a mildewed laundry room. [But] when the door was opened from within, it had the potential to lead someplace quite different. (5.7)
Around the world, over a space of days, black handprints appeared on many doors, each scorched deep into wood or metal. (7.1)
Why do you think the angels chose a black handprint as their threatening symbol instead of some graffiti, like "UR GONNA DIE"? Perhaps their handprints have something to do with the hamsas, another hand symbol. Maybe the hamsas and the black handprints are two sides of the same coin: the hamsas course with righteous energy, but these black handprints seem evil.
"Scuppy shing lucknow gavriel bruxis!" (21.10)
Not only does Karou finally explain the hierarchy of power when it comes to wish coins here, but she does it in order. Where do think the names of these coins came from?
Kaz [...] perceived that his ex-girlfriend was in midair. (28.2)
And he's pretty much like, "whatever." All of Karou's supernatural weirdness, no matter how much she tried to hide it, desensitized Kaz a bit over the months. So flying just isn't that big of a deal to him. Also, he's kind of a jerk, so.
"There was magic coming through the doorways. Dark magic." "From here? There's no magic here." "Says the flying girl." (30.63)
Here, Karou is called out for being kind of blind to supernatural goings on, since she is living them all the time. Also, to Akiva, Karou's world is a little supernatural as well. And now there's Brimstone's dark magic, but we still don't know much about it at this point.
[Karou] went out onto the balcony instead, climbed up onto the balustrade, glanced back over her shoulder at Akiva, and stepped right off. (31.20)
Karou has gotten so used to her supernatural existence, she steps off a balcony like she does it every day... even though she's only been flying for about twelve hours. This act shows that she has a lot of faith in wish magic. Boy, if it didn't work, that would be a crazy way to end the book, huh?
"We didn't break any laws. [...] It's not like there's a law against flying." "Yes there is. The law of gravity." (33.56)
Here's another bit of evidence that Karou has embraced her supernatural lifestyle. We flew, so what? She doesn't even consider that us terrestrial human folk might think that this is a little weird. If she flew around over L.A., she'd have her own reality TV show by now. Criss Angel, eat your heart out.
Brimstone was a resurrectionist. He didn't breath life back into the torn bodies of the battle-slain; he made bodies. (49.8)
We knew Brimstone was a supernatural being before this point—he has crocodile eyes and ram horns, after all. But now we finally found out what he's been up to all this time. The chimaera aren't inherently supernatural, when you think about it. They're just a different race of half-animal people. But this resurrection thing makes them supernatural.
[Madrigal] learned that magic was ugly—a hard bargain with the universe, a calculus of pain. (49.38)
Magic isn't all fun and games, the way Karou has always made it out to be. Why didn't Brimstone tell her this sooner? He always hinted that she shouldn't make frivolous wishes, but he never told her the price was another's pain. Jeez.
[Karou's] hair—loose, long, and peacock blue—was gathering a lace of snowflakes. (1.3)
Karou's appearance makes it apparent that she's the main character of this book. A striking, blue-haired girl would never be relegated to the supporting cast.
"[Ancient Wiktor] looks like an unwrapped mummy." [Zuzana] shuddered. "I ask you, is staring at a naked old man any way to start the day?" (2.37)
We know they're young, but for people who want to be artists of the human form, these two are surprisingly judgmental about what it should or shouldn't look like.
They looked like African trade beads. They were more than that. (2.95)
People aren't the only ones who have deceptive appearances in this book. Karou's plain necklace has the power to grant small wishes. If someone else got their hands on it, do you think they'd be able to make wishes, too?
[Akiva's] fiery wings were glamoured invisible, and he should have been able to pass as human, but he wasn't quite pulling it off. (9.7)
Akiva has to use magic when in the human world, so that he can appear human. Why doesn't he quite pull this ruse off—what is it about him that makes people realize he's not-quite-right?
His face—oh, beauty, he was perfect, he was mythic—was absolutely cold. (14.15)
Akiva's striking appearance makes it hard for Karou to realize that he is trying to kill her. It's not really that worth it to die at the hands of a hot guy, girls. It's not like you'd get to tell your friends about it afterwards.
Abominably, [Bain] was shirtless, showing an abundance of loose white gut, and his extraordinary beard bushed around his shoulders in clumps. (21.28)
How dare this man be shirtless in his own home, with a body that doesn't meet Karou's demanding standards for physical beauty? The audacity. We can't believe Karou didn't kill him just for that.
"Beautiful, aren't they?" "Beautiful," he agreed, and he might have been talking about the knives, but he was looking straight at her. (31.12)
As a man of war, Akiva can appreciate the beauty of a good knife. However, this scene is rife with double meaning. The knives are beautiful. Karou is beautiful. But Karou, and the knives, are beautiful to Akiva because they remind him of Madrigal, who was also beautiful… Is anyone not beautiful in this book? Oh, right. Bain.
Madrigal was of high-human aspect, as was said of races with the head and torso of man or woman. […] [Chiro] was of creature aspect, with the head of a jackal. (48.4, 48.16)
Appearances are a big deal in the world of the chimaera. When some of them die, they want to come back as "high-human." Why do you think this is the valued appearance in their culture? Is it just an arbitrary form of prejudice, like skin color?
"Would you want to be me?" Hurt and confused, Madrigal said, "I don't understand." "No, you wouldn't," said Chiro. "You're beautiful." (50.39)
Chiro is extremely self-conscious about her appearance, which isn't surprising when you consider how prejudiced her culture is against those with creature aspect. The desire to be human after death is eerily similar to some people's real-world desire to put their life on the line for extreme plastic surgery.
Madrigal had to agree [that Thiago was magnificent] but she placed the credit for it with Brimstone, who had crafted that beautiful body, not with Thiago, who wore it with the arrogance of entitlement. (52.49)
Thiago bought a beautiful body for his reincarnation. What do you think: is the beauty a person is born with more valuable than the beauty a person works for (or pays to acquire)?
"Josef and I are starting up a new tour. Old Town vampire tour. The tourists will eat it up." (1.16)
Performance art is a big part of both Kazimir and Zuzana's lives. Why isn't Karou as into it as they are?
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, Karou's first class was life drawing. (2.1)
Karou doesn't just draw as a hobby; she's going to school for it. It was either that or a degree in Black Market Economics, and those classes were filled up. Just kidding.
Karou's sketchbooks had a cult following around school and were handed around and marveled at on a daily basis. (2.15)
As we see here, Karou's specialty in art is drawing. Do you think it's possible that the subjects of some real-life fantastical art pieces are also real—just like in Daughter of Smoke and Bone?
[Issa] and Twiga and Yasri were as hooked on Karou's sketchbooks as her human friends were, but for the opposite reason. They like to see the normal things: tourists huddled under umbrellas, chickens on balconies, children playing the park. (5.14)
This goes to show that, depending on your perspective, absolutely anything can be art.
[Karou] could put it in her sketchbook, and that was something, but it wasn't enough. She wanted to talk. (10.34)
Art is a way to express feelings that you can't necessarily put into words. But Karou's been creating art so long that she thinks it's time to start talking to other people. She wants to know the truth.
"Do you have any new drawing of [Issa]?" (13.31)
Karou's friends like her drawings because they show them a world that they don't even know exists, a world of magic and fantasy. Izîl likes the drawings because they show him a world he can never go back to—his world of magic and fantasy. Sad.
Over her the puppeteer loomed sinister, and as Zuzana twirled, its arms and fingers jittered and jumped as if it were controlling her, and not the other way around. (26.66)
Zuzana's puppet show is amazing. The crowd loves it and showers her with coins. However, the performance makes Karou feel empty inside. Why do you think this is? What is it about the show that awakens feelings like this inside of Karou?
Karou, her back to [Akiva], dropped a theatrical curtsy. (29.27)
Here's an important lesson: if you end up performing real magic in public--like fighting an angel in midair--just pretend it was all an act. People on the street will believe anything. Heck, they might even give you money for it.
It was beautiful, what [Brimstone] did, but terrible, too, and the terrible bountifully outweighed the beautiful. (49.32)
Brimstone's "dark art" of making necklaces and bodies is exactly that: an art. He has to craft them patiently, with skill, and they are beautiful. Like a lot of artists, Brimstone also has to tap into a lot of pain to do create his works.
Loramendi's main thoroughfare, the Serpentine, became a processional route on the Warlord's birthday. The custom was to dance its length, moving from partner to masked partner all the way to the agora, the city's gathering place. (51.1)
Even in times of war, the chimaera turn to dance to express themselves, socialize, and relieve stress. It's a peaceful, fun part of their otherwise violent culture. We figure dancing is a good hobby for them. Some of 'em might not have opposable thumbs, so drawing and playing instruments might be challenging…
"I exist only because of war. [...] We are enemies because the chimaera are monsters. My life is blood because my world is beasts." (30.83)
War is a huge part of the novel's backstory. None of Karou and Akiva's drama would exist, were it not for the war between the seraphim and the chimaera.
"They were nothing but barbarians in mud villages. We gave them light, engineering, the written word--" (32.34)
The beginning of the war between the seraphim and the chimaera started, according to Akiva, when the chimaera didn't appreciate the seraphim's generosity. But we think this statement reeks of imperialism.
"You're going on the rule that what's yours is what you can defend, in which case anyone is within their rights at any time to try to take anything from anyone else. That's hardly civilization." (32.39)
We agree. That would be total anarchy. Or Manifest Destiny. Not much difference, really.
"The invaders are always the bad guys. Always." (34.9)
Well, unless they're the ones writing the history books, Karou. Then the invaders are the good guys... at least until some courageous voice blows that oppressive story apart.
"War is all. If they're not fighting it, they're providing for it, and living in far, always. There is no one without loss." (34.22)
This must be what it's like to live in a part of the world that is constantly experiencing conflict and violence. Wow. We're speechless. (And you know how hard it is to shut us up.)
To [Hazael and Liraz], Karou was just another tattoo waiting to happen. (35.12)
The tattoos on the seraphim's hands are just tally marks—they turn the deaths of the enemy into statistics. Kind of like how many boys are just another Taylor Swift song waiting to happen.
They lived as they did, angels and monsters killing in a volley of killing and dying, dying and killing, seemed an arbitrary choice. (37.16)
The word choice is important here. Akiva fancies his side the heroes of war and frames the enemy as "monsters." Sure, they're actually kind of monstrous in appearance, but instead of calling them chimaera, he calls them monsters. This is some war-time propaganda for sure.
All Akiva could think of was the enemy girl, and how she might end up a black mark on some seraph's knuckle. (38.6)
It's hard to kill people you know. We're pretty sure that's why the higher-ups would prefer we wage war with robots these days, not actually people. So, when Akiva meets Madrigal, his whole view on the seraphim-chimaera conflict changes.
In a lifetime of hating seraphim, Madrigal had never thought of them as living the same life as she, but what the angel said was true. They were all locked in the same war. They had locked the entire world in it. (53.12)
Here, Madrigal realizes that her kind are not the only ones affected by this stupid baseless war. War affects everyone.
Peace wasn't the only way to end a war. (60.44)
War begets war, we guess: at the end of the book, we think Karou decides to turn to violence in order to end the seraphim-chimaera war. At least, we're assuming that's what she does; we'll have to read the sequel to find out for sure.
"When an essential [penis] comes along, you'll know." (3.36)
Brimstone equates sex with love, as in, Karou should wait for her one true love before she gives up her virginity. Later, we learn that the chimaera aren't puritanical about sex. Why does Brimstone have these values, while other chimaera do not?
Of all the things in the world, that was [Karou's] orphan's craving: love. (3.39)
Karou doesn't just crave romantic love, although that's a big part of it. She just wants to be accepted.
"I came back to find you," Akiva said. "I don't know why. Karou. Karou. I don't know why. [...] Just to find you and be in the world that you're in..." (30.87)
Akiva and Karou have an almost literal soulmate thing going on. He's drawn to her because she's his long-lost love reincarnated. How would you feel if you were in Karou's shoes, thrown into this pre-destined love story?
Each time [Karou] touched [Akiva] it was like a leaping spark and a call, a call to entwine her fingers in his, and even—god, what was wrong with her?—to lift his hands to her lips and kiss the marks there... (32.64)
This quote shows just how desperate Karou is to feel close to someone. Love can be romantic and physical at the same time. Physical closeness = emotional closeness here.
"Ask him if he's in love with you," said Zuzana at once. (33.15)
Zuzana is only kind of joking when she says this. She can feel the attraction between Akiva and Karou. It's almost tangible. When you see two people together, can't you tell if they are truly in love?
"I'll help you. Even if you couldn't fly, I could carry you." (34.17)
More than many of the other quotes here, this one shows the lengths Akiva is willing to go to in order to show his love for Karou. He would carry her across multiple countries so that she can achieve her goals. Yep, that's love, people.
[Akiva] felt as if his life to that point had been spent wandering in a labyrinth, and on the battlefield [...] he'd finally found its center. (37.44)
Akiva's feelings for Madrigal are complicated. 1. She's his mortal enemy. 2. She's a babe. 3. She saves his life. 4. She's a babe. Perhaps his love for her, that blossoms in all of four minutes we might add, comes from a combination of her attractiveness and his desire for peace? We're not exactly sure.
[Akiva] caught himself thinking of [Madrigal] as his, and it didn't even seem strange. (39.38)
There's a possessive quality to Akiva's love for Madrigal, as evidenced by his pronoun choice here. Is love always about ownership?
Not for an instant had [Madrigal] considered doing what anyone else in the entire city would have done without a thought: unmasking him and screaming, "Seraph!" (52.6)
This might be the moment when Madrigal realizes she loves Akiva back, even though she barely knows him. There's something between them that keeps her from allowing him to be executed in the streets. How romantic.
"So you are a child of love. It seems right, that you were made by love." [...] "Did your parents love each other?" [...] "No," [Akiva] said, and offered no explanation. "But I hope that my children's parents will." (53.23-53.27)
Love is a big deal for Akiva because it is an emotion that he is completely unfamiliar with. Perhaps he is actually a better match for Karou than he was for Madrigal, because Karou, too, lived through a long, loveless childhood. We say: soulmates.