Like any young woman searching for herself, except with blue hair, Karou wanders the streets of Prague and wonders who she really is. She's trying to come to terms with losing her virginity to Kazimir, a hot guy who turned out to be a bit of a jerk. Even though she's kind of a loner, Karou's pretty popular at school. Or, at least her artwork is.
Karou's sketchbooks are filled with fabulous creatures—Brimstone, the Wishmonger; Issa, the snake goddess; and more. Eventually it becomes clear that these creatures aren't just figments of her imagination: they're real where Karou comes from. And not only was Karou raised by chimaera, but she has the power to make wishes come true.
Small wishes, yes. But that's still more than we can do.
Karou actually runs errands for Brimstone, trotting around the globe in search of teeth, both exotic animal and crusty old human chompers. She doesn't know what he needs them for, just that he does. As she's out doing these errands, some weird stuff is happening. Weirder than a blue-haired girl bargaining for illegal ivory, we mean.
Black handprints are appearing on the magic doors that open into Brimstone's world... and they seem to have been left there by angels. (You just have to roll with all of the fantastic elements of this story, okay?)
One of the angels has his eye on Karou, and while she's buying some teeth off Izîl the Graverobber, in Marrakesh, the angel makes his presence known. This causes the invisible creature on Izîl's back, Razgut, to become visible. Razgut totally flips out.
See, he's an angel too, but a gross, perverted one. He wants this other angel, a handsome studly one, to take him back to their world. (We don't blame him for lamenting being in this boring old human world.) But that angel has other things on his mind: killing Karou.
These three angels fight, and swords and sticks and energy blasts emanate from Karou's palm tattoos. It's intense. Karou escapes with a few injuries. The angel then turns to Izîl and Razgut, demanding to know more about Karou. Izil throws himself off a tower in order to protect her, but that wiley Razgut blabs it all to this vengeful angel.
While Karou's recovering, she sneaks through a door in Brimstone's shop into the world of the chimaera. Brimstone is so not happy about this, and he chucks Karou's butt onto the cold streets of Prague. Looking like a heroine in a Lifetime movie, Karou decides to tell her friend, Zuzana, the truth about her supernatural lifestyle.
Zuzana doesn't believe her, but Kishmish, Brimstone's demonic homing-pigeon, shows up just as she's about to leave. The good news: Zuzana now believes Karou. The bad news: Kishmish dies, and all the doors to Brimstone's world are closed. Permanently. Unlike Hostess cupcakes.
Karou's determined to get back to Brimstone's world. Her plan is to find two gavriels, powerful wish coins, and wish for her and Razgut to fly through the portal to the other world. She gets her wish (har har), but that evil angel shows up and delays her plans. He doesn't want to kill her this time; he just wants to talk.
So talk, they do. Karou learns that the angel's name is Akiva, and that he's super good-looking. Also, his brother and sister hate Karou's guts because they think she's a chimaera too. Oh boy, does Akiva know the answers to the questions Karou's been asking herself about her past?
Yep. As it turns out, Karou is Madrigal Kirin, a chimaera who was killed for loving an angel. And not just any angel: Akiva. We guess Karou and Akiva are meant to be. You could say she was made for him.
Karou's fine with this development. She's getting pretty fond of the super fine Akiva. But she's not fine with what Akiva tells her next: He killed Brimstone. The seraphim and the chimaera had been at war for centuries, and it was the only way he could see to end it.
So, Karou's all, "Thatz not okay, dude,", and she and Razgut fly off into the portal to... well, we don't know. To do something. We'll have to read the sequel to find out. Huzzah.