Daughter of Smoke & Bone Summary
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.
Impossible to Scare
- Karou, our blue-haired heroine, is walking home when she gets attacked by a vampire. Wow, this book doesn't waste any time getting to the action.
- Oh, wait, it's not a real vampire. It's just Karou's ex-boyfriend, Kazimir. He only thinks he's a vampire. But he knows he's super sexy.
- He tries to convince Karou to be a part of his new "Old Town vampire tour" (1.17).
- Karou doesn't want to be a part of his group, and she feels stupid for ever falling for this cad in the first place.
- After threatening to chuck coffee in his face, Karou finally gets Kaz to back off. But before he leaves, he tells her that he has a new job, "an... unveiling of sorts" (1.45).
- What could it be, we wonder?
An Unveiling of Sorts
- In life drawing class, Karou complains about Kaz to her best friend, Zuzana.
- Zuzana tells her she should get a Taser, but Karou feels that "she was more than capable of defending herself without out electricity.
- She'd had an unusual education" (2.6). We guess those twelve-hour marathons of Bad Girls Club are educational after all.
- After Karou banters with Zuzana and a few more classmates whose names we don't need to learn because we will never see them again, class starts.
- Then a new nude model enters the class: Kazimir. He disrobes and reveals, well, everything, plus a new tattoo: "an elaborate cursive K." (2.51)
- What could that be for? Did he take the Special K Challenge, too?
- During a break, Kazimir walks over to taunt Karou in front of her friends. He teases her about her tattoo: "the one that says Kazimir, right over [her] heart" (2.71).
- She unbuttons her sweater (maybe Karou can be the next nude model?) and reveals the top of her chest: no tattoo.
- Kaz is baffled that it somehow disappeared. How did she get it rid of it?
- However she did it, we bet Romney Face Tattoo Guy wishes it were that easy.
- Karou leaves the room to fill Zuzana in on her breakup with Kaz.
- Playing with the string of beads around her neck, Karou has an idea at how to get him back. Actually, it's an idea as to how to get back at him—as in revenge—not get him back, as in to her apartment for a sleepover.
- As it turns out, Karou's beaded necklace didn't come from Hobby Lobby: it's made of scuppies. "Like money, wishes came in denominations, and scuppies were mere pennies" (3.14).
- A penny is enough to give Kaz an itch, though. First, one he can easily scratch, on his elbow. Next, another one in a fairly easy to reach place: his nose.
- A bead disappears for each wish that Karou makes to torture her ex.
- Then, she pulls out the big guns. She wishes for an itch right up his... cranny. Karou feels this gets him back for taking her virginity.
- Tit for tat, we guess?
- Kazimir has to go running out of the room to find a discrete place to take care of his suddenly itchy cranny.
- Karou feigns innocence, but she wonders what the Wishmonger might think about her actions...
- This was a pretty rotten way to seek revenge, Karou. But it was kind of funny. So.
- We guess it's fine.
- After school, Karou and Zuzuna go eat at Poison Kitchen, a cafe populated with statues wearing gas masks. They've even got a history of serving up deadly dishes. Exciting.
- Anyway, the two chat about story stuff—scene, backstory, and foreshadowing, of course—until a crow-like little monster named Kishmish shows up with a message for Karou: "Errand requiring immediate attention. Come" (4.38).
- Karou has to blow off Zuzuna for the rest of the night, and her friend isn't happy about it. But duty, whatever it may be, calls.
- Karou walks across town to an unmarked metal door. A door to what, you ask?
- If you opened it from without, it revealed only a mildewed laundry room. […] When the door was opened from within, it had the potential to lead someplace quite different. (5.7)
- After Karou knocks on the door, someone inside opens it. The door opener turns out to be Issa, the snake woman, who looks just like she does in Karou's sketchbooks.
- Issa lets Karou in and takes her to see Brimstone, the Wishmonger.
- Brimstone's doing what he's normally doing: stringing teeth and gems into a necklace. Does he have an etsy shop? Because we'd like to make some wishes of our own.
- Brimstone criticizes Karou for wasting her scuppies on frivolous wishes, like making her ex-boyfriend's buttcrack itch.
- If you're wondering what Brimstone looks like, here you go: head of a ram, eyes of crocodiles, big horns, human torso covered in scars, furry legs, and dragon feet. Hot.
- This type of creature is called a chimaera.
- Also, Karou makes a point of noting the wishbone around his neck.
- Finally, Brimstone gives Karou a case packed with euros and sends her to Paris.
- Um, where do we apply for this job?
The Angel of Extinction
- Okay, so the job isn't actually that glamorous. Karou had to go to an auction and bid on elephant tusks.
- She feels guilty for being a part of the endangered species contraband trade.
- To make matters worse, she has to carry the things halfway across Paris; no cab driver will take her.
- When she finally gets back to Brimstone's door, she notices something strange: a large black handprint that looks like it's been burned into the door. Odd.
- Maybe Banksy was there?
- Check this out: black handprints are appearing on doors all over the world.
- And there are some strange stories circulating about the people who were witnessed making these black handprints.
- Some people say the culprit is a man with a mismatched shadow. Others say it's a woman who fled the scene by flying away.
- In Delhi, a nun watches a man fly away, and feathers float down from the sky.
- She catches one, "but unlike a raindrop it burned, and left the perfect outline of a feather seareed into her flesh" (7.8).
- She thinks it was an angel. "She was not exactly wrong" (7.10).
- The plot thickens with all kinds of magical stuff…
- Back in Brimstone's shop, Karou waits for Brimstone to be done with another trader: Bain. (No, not Bane, the mumbly guy from Batman.)
- Brimstone pays Bain a couple of gavriels, which is pretty much a superwish, "enough to buy […] flight and invisibility" (8.9). Wow.
- Karou gives Brimstone the tusks, but he won't tell her what they're really for. He pays her with a shing, which is the next step above a scuppy.
- It's cool, but it's no gavriel.
- Needless to say, Karou thinks the payment is on the skimpy side.
- But she doesn't get too mad. It seems that Brimstone raised her here, and she's feeling a little homesick.
- She's about to ask to spend the night in her old cot when there's a banging at the door.
- Not the outside door, but an inside door. Karou does not know where this one leads.
- Brimstone makes her leave before she can find out what's behind the door.
- Issa ushers her out, back into the cold Prague night.
The Devil's Doorways
- Hey, remember that guy who's been burning handprints onto doors? Well, his name is Akiva.
- Also, he's really hot. We know this because we're told he's "bronzed" (9.8) "beautiful" (9.9) with eyes that are "luminous, mesmerizing and achingly beautiful" (9.11)
- Great. Can he cook?
- Anyway, he's flying around marking doors. "Once all the doors were marked, the end would being. And it would being with fire" (9.15-9.16).
- There's nothing sexier than a crazy pyromaniac, are we right? Yikes.
- We're scared. Someone call our mommies.
- Brimstone sends Karou on a new job every day of the week. She's working nine-to-five. What a way to make a living.
- At least she gets to see the world.
- Meanwhile, in the yawnfest of a human world, Zuzana is irritated that Karou isn't hanging out with her anymore. She demands to know what Karou's been doing.
- Karou tells her she runs errands, but she's really vague about it.
- All she does is convince Zuzana that she's doing something illegal.
- After more talking, she finally manages to smooth things over with Zuzana. Then, with perfect timing, here comes Kishmish with another mission.
- She ignores him for a long time, but eventually excuses herself to go to the bathroom and take the note.
- It has one word on it: "Please" (10.114).
- Back in Brimstone's shop, Karou finds out that the dude is really anxious about something. He's afraid that she has "taken [her] freedom," (11.17) whatever that means.
- No matter. Brimstone has been burning through teeth like nobody's business, and he needs more.
- He sends Karou to talk to Izîl in Marrakesh, even though she usually only sees him once a month, and it's more than a week early.
- Karou agrees to go, but "she couldn't shake […] the uneasy feeling that something was terribly wrong." (11.44)
- What could it be?
Something Else Entirely
- The only thing that happens in this short chapter is that Akiva watches Karou.
- Okay, so he's drop-dead sexy, a pyromaniac, and a stalker. Have we missed anything?
- Karou meets up with Izîl in the markets of Marrakesh. He's a nice old man, but a little nuts.
- What makes him crazy is that an invisible creature named Razgut rides around on his back. And that creature wants to lick Karou.
- Yeah, just a little crazy.
- In the shadows nearby, Akiva watches as Karou and Izîl talk teeth.
- Karou is dismayed that Izîl's teeth are of such bad quality. They're "the teeth of a people who had gnawed at tough food, smoked pipes, and been unacquainted with toothpaste" (13.55).
- None of them followed proper brushing advice, we guess.
- Izîl has some baby teeth (not his own), which Karou refuses to take, even though Izîl says that Brimstone requested them once.
- A few of the teeth do meet Karou's satisfaction, so she pays him for those.
- Then Izîl tries to ask Karou a question about saving himself from Razgut. Izîl ends up fighting with the invisible creature on his back and falling over.
- Karou helps him up, but the invisible thing licks her neck. It weirds her out and she leaves.
- He calls out to her, telling her that a bruxis would save him.
- A bruxis is the wish of all wishes, the uberwish, and the only way to get it is "with one's own teeth. All of them, self-extracted" (13.81). Eek. Can you wish for more teeth?
- Karou's had enough of this crazy pants, so she leaves for real.
- But again, something holds her back: a commotion behind her.
- That invisible thing on Izîl's back, it ain't invisible anymore.
Deadly Bird of the Soul
- Razgut can see Akiva, who's been invisible to Karou. Also, he recognizes Akiva—he even speaks his language, "the language of the seraphim" (14.4).
- Izîl tells Karou that she must run to Brimstone and warn him that the seraphim are here.
- Run? Karou wonders. But how can someone as gorgeous as Akiva be an enemy?
- Her senses get the better of her, and she runs. But Akiva catches up with her.
- They tussle, and Akiva slashes Karou with his sword. She fights back with a shard of wood and manages to plunge it into his side.
- He's pretty scary-looking up close. His expression is flat, "the living face of a dead soul" (14.39). He is not smizing, that's for sure.
- A splinter in the side isn't enough to kill Akiva. He readies his sword and prepares to cleave Karou in two.
- Despite this being a life-or-death situation, Karou has a lot of time to think about what's going on. She thinks she sees hesitation and confusion in his expression.
- But she's also feeling a tingling. In her palms.
- She has a tattoo of an eyeball on each palm, and they're burning with energy.
- Soon, she raises her palms and blasts Akiva with a huge burst of invisible energy. The angel goes down, woohoo.
- While he's down, Karou bangs on Brimstone's door. After way too long, Issa finally lets her in.
- Akiva pursues her, but when he opens the door, he almost collides with a woman holding a broom. He can't enter Brimstone's shop that easily.
- Akiva does know one thing that Karou doesn't, however: Karou "was not, in fact, human" (14.77).
- Wow. Now that's a fun reveal.
The Other Door
- Safe inside Brimstone's shop, Karou bleeds all over the place, mumbles about angels, and passes out.
- Sounds like us after getting into a fight with Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu at that Academy Awards after-party. Wild night.
- When she finally comes to, Issa and Yasri are talking about Karou.
- She pretends to still be unconscious and eavesdrops. It's all very mysterious, so she doesn't learn much from their conversation.
- However, the shop is basically deserted. Brimstone isn't there, and that secret door that Karou's never been through, it's open.
- So Karou slips through.
- Back in Marrakesh, Akiva interrogates the now-visible Razgut.
- It seems he's one of the Fallen, a seraphim that's been exiled for treason. But for what, we're not sure.
- Akiva demands Razgut tell him everything he knows about Karou.
- Through Brimstone's door, Karou enters a whole new world. Don't you dare close your eyes, girl.
- It's a brand new place she never knew. Two moons, huge fortress walls, a city covered in iron bars "as if they existed within a cage" (17.8).
- Karou thinks she's high up in a tower, and now from way up here, it's crystal clear, that she's in a whole new world... alone. And it's kind of creepy, what with the winged creatures flying around.
- Voices travel down the hallway: Brimstone and Twiga. Karou hides, and they don't see her.
- She follows them down a long spiral staircase into a cathedral.
- Instead of people kneeling in prayer, however, it is filled with stone slabs, and on each one, there's a dead chimaera.
- Karou sneaks over to investigate one of them: a muscular white wolf man.
- As if this wasn't strange enough, she notices that his palms have the same eye tattoos as hers do.
- She holds her hand next to the wolfman's. "His hand […] it was warm. It was not dead. He was not dead" (17.5-17.53).
- Before you can say eep, the wolfman wakes up and grabs Karou.
- He slams her onto the stone table.
- All she can do is scream.
Battle Not With Monsters
- Back in Marrakesh, Akiva decides he needs to employ intimidation tactics to get any real information out of Razgut.
- He flies them to the city's highest point and places them precariously on the edge.
- Izîl tries to convince Akiva that Karou is innocent, but he's not having it.
- Anyone who's trafficking teeth can't be innocent, he says. (We'd hate to see what Akiva would do to the tooth fairy.)
- Razgut does a lot of cryptic talking, but doesn't actually say anything of substance.
- Meanwhile, Izîl babbles on about mustaches.
- Akiva gets sick of all this nonsense, and tells Izîl that he can make him talk.
- "Oh no you can't," Izîl responds, and he throws himself off the tower.
Not Who, But What
- Back in the cathedral, Karou is still screaming. Brimstone comes to her rescue.
- He tells Thiago, the wolfman, that he will take care of Karou.
- Then he hauls her butt back up to his shop and chucks her inside.
- Talk about fire and Brimstone, this guy is pissed. For some reason, letting this fuzzy Thiago fella see Karou's palm tattoos is a big no-no.
- Even though she's injured, Brimstone kicks her out of his shop and out into the cold.
- She trudges back to her apartment—or "flat," as they say in Prague—but her coat and keys are still in Brimstone's shop. She's locked out.
- Suddenly, someone grabs her shoulder. Busting out her mad martial arts skills, Karou flips her attacker over her shoulders and into the window. Boom, pow.
- Her "attacker" turns out to be Kazimir. Well, this won't get him back on her good side.
- He's fine. "The glass had broken into rectangular chunks" (19.40), though.
- Kaz asks her "What are you?" (19.41), but Karou doesn't answer. Heck, she's not even sure.
- She gets into her apartment and ponders the question.
- Karou mopes around her apartment drinking tea and dining on Tylenol for a few days.
- Eventually, Zuzana comes by to check up on her.
- She thinks Kazimir has beat her, but Karou decides to tell her the whole story: an angel attacked her with a sword.
- Zuzana takes this as a lie along the lines of "I fell down the stairs and through a window," and she goes to leave.
- Before she's out the door, though, something thumps against the window. "It was Kishmish, and he was on fire" (20.31).
- He dies in Karou's hands.
- The note tied to his foot crumbles to ash, but he's carrying the wishbone Brimstone wore around his neck.
- Karou dashes through the streets to Brimstone's door. It's on fire, too. And not in that good "the roof, the roof, the roof is on fire" way.
- "The way to Elsewhere had been severed, and [Karou] was cast adrift" (20.44).
- Poor Karou.
Hope Makes Its Own Magic
- Flashback time. Karou thinks back to when she learned about the power of wishes.
- Brimstone, even though he makes wishes, is not such a big fan of 'em. "I hope, child, but I don't wish. There's a difference" (21.21).
- What is that difference, do you think?
- Karou doesn't understand it. Even now, she doesn't understand the difference, as she kicks down the door to an isolated cabin in Idaho.
- She's not after potatoes; she's after Bain.
- "Abominably, he was shirtless, showing an abundance of loose white gut" (21.28).
- How dare he be shirtless? There is no room for a shirtless non-gorgeous man in this book. He must die.
- Karou doesn't kill him with body snarking, however; she presses a gun into his eyeball.
- At such close range, she realizes that he's intertwined all his wish coins into his beard. She cuts them free, and pockets them.
- He threatens her, "You piss off a hunter, you're gonna live like prey" (21.62).
- Not quite, "You mess with the bull, you get the horns," but it'll do.
- Karou leaves and finds that her cab is gone. Good thing she's got a gavriel, which can grant practically any wish...
A Piece of Empty Candy
- Karou catches us up on the three months since the angels burned Brimstone's doors: Zuzana has a new boyfriend, Karou's kind of pining for the angel who assaulted her, and, oh yeah, Brimstone left her bajillions of dollars in bank accounts, which fund Karou's globetrotting schemes.
- Back in Idaho, Karou uses her gavriel to wish for flight.
- As she flies away from Bain's cabin, she thinks of a plan.
- She's going to talk to Razgut and fly through a portal to another dimension.
- It seems that she had talked to Razgut and he told her about the portal he was exiled through. Perhaps the portal works both ways, and she can exile herself on out of this world.
- Back in Prague, Akiva stakes out Karou's apartment.
- He got her address from a page in one of her sketchbooks that he found. Where could he have found it?
- For two days he's watched her empty apartment.
- Nope, not creepy. Not creepy at all.
Flying Is Easy
- In the States, Karou flies through the air, catches up with the taxi that abandoned her, and hops in. She asks the driver to take her to the airport.
- Just another day as a cabbie.
- Karou gets comfy. She is about to fall asleep in the backseat when Zuzana calls her cell.
- She assures Zuzana that she's coming back home, with presents, and will be there to see Zuzana's puppet show.
- Okay then.
- After she arrives back in Prague, Karou goes to knock on Brimstone's charred door. No answer.
- She returns to her apartment, where Akiva watches her sleep. Because girls love being watched while they're sleeping. Yikes.
- He thinks back to the last time he watched a girl sleep (yes, he's a serial sleep-watcher).
- That girl's name was Madrigal. She had wings, and she let him touch her while she slept.
- Akiva wonders, "What was it that made these memories of Madrigal rise so thick and fast?"
- Unable to tear his eyes away from Karou, Akiva broods about his family a bit, and wonders if he's a monster.
- He's gone when Karou wakes up in the morning.
A Soft Wrongness
- Karou travels with presents and food to Zuzana's puppet show, but she's a little nervous about Bain's threat.
- Nothing happens. Karou arrives without incident, and gives Zuzana breakfast, a vintage ballet dress, and shoes.
- Karou also thinks about the gleaming half-moon knives she bought for herself.
- Once the crowd builds, Zuzana starts her puppet show. As it turns out, she is the puppet, and there's a giant marionette playing the puppeteer. Neat role reversal, huh?
- The crowd loves it, but Karou starts feeling more and more uneasy about something.
- What could it be?
Not Prey, But Power
- Still feeling like she's being watched, Karou decides to go home. Alone. Bad idea.
- She bumps into someone unexpected—not one of her stalkers, but Svetla, Kazimir's new girlfriend, whom Karou wished into having really fuzzy eyebrows. They are not happy to see each other.
- Karou convinces Svetla to remain quiet as her actual stalker approaches.
- She sees his shadow first, and it has wings.
- Taking the initiative, Karou steps out of the alleyway and blasts Akiva with her invisible palm energy.
- Once he recovers, he tries to tell her that he won't hurt her, but she's not having any of it.
- She battles him a little more, until he flies into the air.
- Akiva keeps saying that he just wants to talk to her.
- Karou leaps into the air too.
- "So talk" (27.62), she says.
Attitude of Power
- People gather in the streets to watch the two flying people fighting each other in mid-air.
- Well, it's really only one person that's fighting.
- Karou is throwing blows at Akiva, but Akiva seems to just be dodging and deflecting. He won't hit her back.
- Then, the people on the street see the girl do... something... and the guy falls to earth.
Starlight to the Sun
- So what's really happening up there in the air?
- Welp, Karou is frustrated for being so attracted to someone that tried to kill her. We know; we hate when that happens.
- Again, Akiva tells her he just wants to talk.
- As he approaches her, she throws up her hamsas—the eye tattoos on her hands—and the blast knocks him to the ground.
- When he regains consciousness, Karou tells him to stand up and take a bow. C'mon, pretend it was all a show for the good terrestrial humans of Prague, okay?
- They sneak away, and Akiva starts to spill some juicy exposition.
- He calls Karou's hamsas "the devil's eyes" (29.41) and "revenants' marks" (29.46).
- Okay, we take it back. That doesn't actually explain a thing.
- At least he does confess to burning the portals to end "the war" (29.57). But he doesn't elaborate on what war.
- Karou decides to take him back to her apartment.
- And he hasn't even bought her dinner yet.
- Karou drags her handsome homicidal angel to her apartment, determined to get answers.
- The answers are: Akiva learned Karou's name from Izîl.
- "It wasn't difficult" (30.12) to find her.
- The chimaera are his enemies, always have been, always will be. There are many of them.
- Akiva is fifty years old. He was raised to be a soldier.
- He says that Karou means hope.
- He wants water and a nap.
- We hear you, buddy.
- Now it's Karou's shot to turn the creepy tables, and watch him sleeping.
- Not only that, she draws him until she falls asleep around midnight.
- When she wakes up, he's standing over her with knives.
- This angel guy just does not know how to chill out.
- Where did we leave off... oh, that's right, Akiva is standing over Karou with her knives in his hands.
- She gets ready to stab him with a pencil and he backs off, saying, "I didn't mean to frighten you." (31.3). He just really likes the knives.
- Almost like they remind him of something... or someone...
- It's early, so they both go pee-pee (yes, angels urinate) and fly off to the bakery.
- Yes, they literally fly there. Remember, Karou can fly now. We are so jealous.
- They buy some yummy bread and fly to the top of the cathedral to eat it and watch the sun rise.
- In between munches, Akiva tells her that the price for wishes is pain.
- Gasp. Good thing we're not eating too, or we might have choked on our own bread.
Both Place and Person
- "To take from the universe, you must give" (32.3), says Akiva.
- Karou feels queasy and uneasy as she wonders who felt the pain for each frivolous wish she's made over the years. Is having blue hair worth that?
- To change the subject, Akiva fills Karou in on the history of his world, Eretz.
- There, the chimaera and the seraphim have been at war for years.
- Akiva sees the chimaera as ungrateful: "They were nothing but barbarians. We gave them light, engineering, the written word" (32.34).
- Karou's opinion: "The seraphim want to rule the world, the chimaera don't want to be ruled, and that makes them evil" (32.33).
- Hm, when you put it that way the seraphim sound downright imperialistic.
- Akiva then reveals that the tattoos on his hands, the marks on the backs of his fingers, are tally marks for each chimaera he's killed.
- His fingers look like bar codes, so he's killed a lot of 'em.
- They end up going to a teahouse to chat. The waitress recognizes Karou as the flying girl. Then Zuzana calls, and says she's coming there to meet up with her.
- As if things weren't complicated enough.
- Karou tries to think through her dilemma.
- He as the enemy of her family. And yet, something tied them together, stronger than any of that. […] Anything she did to fight against it felt like discord, like disharmony with herself. (32.116) And he's hot. Did you forget how hot he is?
- We didn't.
- Zuzana tries to figure out Karou and Akiva's relationship, all while Karou is translating from English or Praguelish (aka Czech) into chimaera-ese or whatever Akiva knows how to speak. Don't worry, Zuzana, we don't get it either.
- After getting exactly nowhere, Zuzana tells Karou that the police are at her apartment.
- They think her little flight was a "disturbance" (33.54) and they want to question her.
- Well, Karou's not too stressed about that; she's planning on going away anyway.
- As she leaves, Akiva makes her promise not to go with Razgut through the portal. Karou says "okay" (33.83).
- But we tots don't believe her.
What's a Day?
- Karou and Akiva hang out with Zuzana for a while.
- Karou says little mental goodbyes to the world she's prepared to never see again.
- At one point, Karou tries to hold Akiva's hand, but her powers jolt him.
- Oh, the pain. She can't even touch him.
- That doesn't stop him from pawing at her. As he moves in for some tongue wrestling, he notices the wishbone around her neck.
- It brings all sorts of memories back to Akiva.
- "Karou, I know who you are" (34.56), he says.
- We are on the edges of our seats, folks.
The Tongue of Angels
- Before Akiva can reveal to Karou who she is, his siblings Hazael and Liraz, show up.
- They're mad because Akiva keeps sneaking away without telling them where he's going. Um, okay, moms, we guess he's not allowed to have a life.
- Akiva tries to evade his siblings' questions about Karou, whether or not she's human, what's up with her hands, etc.
- Finally, Karou's had enough of them talking about her as if she's not there.
- "If you want want to see my hands, all you have to do is ask" (35.54), she says.
To Do Else Than Kill
- Making a quick wish, Karou finds herself able to speak seraphimlish, or whatever. Now she can understand what the angels are saying about her.
- Bad idea.
- Liraz lunges at her, but Karou blasts her with her magical hand eyeballs.
- Insert fight scene here.
- Things aren't looking good for Karou, so Akiva tells her to fly away and meet him in Marrakesh. She promises to "wait for [him] as long as [she] can" (36.37).
- That's the kind of promise that love is made of.
- Flashback redux.
- Akiva is lying on a beach somewhere. Not on vacation. He's at war.
- Oh, and he's dying. Don't worry; it's a flashback. So he'll be okay.
- A chimaera with a silver censer approaches. Not just any chimaera, though: a hot one.
- At least, so far as someone with wings and the legs of a goat can be hot.
- This beautiful beast-babe patches up Akiva's wounds... and his heart.
- He's in love with the enemy, he's determined to find her, and he swears to not kill any more of her people.
- Things don't get any more romantic than that.
- One thing happens in this chapter: Akiva tells his brother and sister, "A chimaera saved my life […] and I feel in love with her" (38.31).
- We got that in the last chapter, dude.
- Moving on...
Blood Will Out
- This chapter's a flashbackback: a flashback to the flashback from a couple of chapters ago.
- As Akiva recovers from his wounds, he realizes he can tap into his deep personal pain in order to do magic.
- Just in case this deep personal pain didn't make him all dark and twisty enough, he spends a few pages mulling over his traumatic family life.
- He never knew his mother, his father was jerk, he shed tears on the inside, "he learned to go into his pain" (39.35).
- Akiva decides to learn the chimaera language so he can find "his chimaera girl" (39.37).
- She's his possession now, isn't that sweet?
Almost Like Magic
- We're back in the present now, and Akiva is flying to Marrakesh to reunite with Karou.
- He's holding Karou's wishbone, and he considers chucking it into the ocean, so that Karou wouldn't "know anything" (40.18).
- Will he do it?
- Tune into the next chapter to find out
- Karou and Akiva are reunited (and it feels so good).
- She spent about three days worried that he wouldn't come, but he did. Hooray.
- Not only that, but he didn't throw away the wishbone. He brought it, and they're going to crack that sucker so Karou can find out who she really is.
- Akiva tells Karou that it wasn't Brimstone's wishbone. "He was just keeping it. For you" (41.49).
Ache and Salt and Allness
- Before breaking the wishbone, Akiva and Karou get up close and personal.
- There's some smooching and some heavy petting, but then Akiva pulls away.
- Time to break the wishbone.
- "Such a little thing, and brittle, and the sound it made: a sharp, clean snap" (43.1).
- There you go, you just read Chapter 43.
- No really, that's the whole thing. One sentence. Our summary is now officially longer than Chapter 43.
- This chapter is six times the length of the previous chapter. It's six whole sentences long.
- We can sum up this chapter in two sentences, though: "She rushed into herself and was filled. […] She was whole" (44.3, 44.6).
- How's this for a paradox: this chapter's a flashback, but it's told in the present tense. Mind. Blown.
- And there's all sorts of lyrical, poetical, magical language here.
- The point is: Karou is Madrigal.
- And it seems like her head got cut off by a guillotine or something. Ouch.
- Mind blown again.
- Okay, this is the last of the page-long poetic chapters.
- Karou's recovering from realizing that in her past life, when she was Madrigal, she was beheaded. "She understood everything" (46.7).
- Girl, you better tell us, because we still have no clue what's going on.
- Please? We'll play nice.
- The next thirteen chapters are all flashbacks, y'all.
- If you're just joining us, these chapters are basically like listening to Evanescence.
- Seriously. Karou and Akiva broke the wishbone, and Karou woke up inside. Yada yada yada.
- We begin at the end, with Madrigal's execution.
- At Thiago the Wolfman's insistence, Madrigal is to be beheaded while Akiva watches.
- She handles her execution about as calmly as someone who is about to be executed can handle such things.
- But maybe it's because she has a plan: "After she died, she was going to save Akiva's life" (47.12).
- Wow, this book really isn't getting any less confusing, is it?
- Okay, now we're finally at the beginning of Madrigal and Akiva's story.
- Madgrial's stressed because there's a big ball coming up and she knows that Thiago has his wolfy little eyes on her.
- Why? Because she's "pure." We're not sure if this is in the virgin sense or with respect to something supernatural yet.
- Even though Thiago is a grade-A hunk of wolfman meat, Madrigal is just not that into him.
- Madrigal's sister, Chiro, tries to talk her into going with Thiago anyway.
- After all, if she gets hitched to Thiago, she won't have to be a soldier anymore.
- Chiro, she doesn't like being a soldier. She's already died. Like Buffy.
- We're not sure exactly how this dead-but-not-really-dead thing works yet either.
- We accept all the confusion and keep forging onward.
- Finally: it's the moment we've all been waiting for. What's the deal with all the teeth?
- "Brimstone was a resurrectionist" (49.7).
- We learn about Brimstone through the story of Madrigal's sister Chiro's death... and rebirth.
- Somehow, dude is able to create a new body for a dead chimaera by making a necklace of teeth and gemstones. Madrigal was the lucky gal who got to make her sister's necklace.
- The resurrected are called revenants, and they have hamsas—the eye tattoos on their palms, just like Karou has.
- That purity talk from before? It has nothing to do with virginity.
- It means you haven't died and been resurrected. (Yet.)
- Anyway, after all this backstory, we're back to Madrigal fretting about a dance.
- She decides it's time to take a bath and think things over.
- Madrigal's sister, Chiro, and her friend Nwella squeeze her into a skimpy gown for the upcoming ball. "You see what happens when you dither? Others make choices for you" (50.5), says Chiro.
- Thinking about the dance makes Madrigal think of Thiago, and how he's the type of guy that likes to examine his new body ahead of time.
- She's seen him checking out his future replicas and making sure they meet his strict approval. Madrigal thinks this is pretty strange, but if we were in his shoes—and by shoes we mean lean, taut body of rippling muscle—we'd want to make sure we were getting put into an equally hot body after our resurrections too.
- While in the middle of this flashback, Madrigal thinks of Chiro's resurrection.
- It's a flashback within a flashback, whoa.
- Madrigal had worked hard on Chiro's necklace. She even used diamonds, which is a big deal, although we're not sure why.
- Magic loves pain, so maybe the blood diamonds make it even more potent?
- Anyway, Chiro is miffed because Madrigal makes Chiro look exactly like she looked before. What's the problem, you ask?
- Well, Chiro is "beast aspect," which means she has the head of jackal. And she hates having the head of a jackal.
- Madrigal doesn't understand why Chiro is angry.
- "You wouldn't [understand]. You're beautiful" (50.39), she says. Ouch, a compliment has never stung so much.
- Back in the present flashback, Chiro seems to have gotten over it. She helps Nwella dust Madrigal with sugar powder, "which girls wore when they planned to be tasted" (50.51).
- It's intented to entice Thiago.
- (We hope that there is a sugar-substitute dust for any diabetic chimaera who may be attending this party.)
- The Serpentine is the main road in Loramendi, the chimaera capital, and it is where a huge dance takes place. It's like one of those exciting elaborate dances from Pride and Prejudice, except that no one wants to dance with Madrigal.
- They stay away from her because she is assumed to be Thiago's.
- Did we mention this is a costume party? People of beast aspect wear human masks, and people of human aspect wear beast masks. Fun Fun.
- This costuming becomes important when a man in a horse-head mask actually has the guts to dance with Madrigal. He's very seductive and secretive. "I know who you are. I came here for you" (51.23), he says.
- They flirt their way through the dance, she all sugar and sweet and he all "spice and salt" (51.36). Yum.
- As the dance starts to wind down, Madrigal presses him harder to tell her who he really is.
- "I came to thank you […] for saving my life" (51.40), he says.
- Well, Madrigal's a freaking hero. She's saved tons of lives.
- So who's this pony boy?
- She leans in and looks into his mask.
- When she sees his blazing eyes, she knows exactly who it is.
- If you didn't figure this out ages ago, the dude in the horse mask is Akiva.
- Also, Akiva is a seraphim. The sworn enemy of the chimaera.
- Madrigal instantly assumes he's in chimaera-ville for nefarious purposes.
- He tells her he's only there for her. She manages to suppress a swoon, mainly because she fears what Thiago will do if he finds out.
- (As we know from Madrigal's ultimate fate, this fear is completely rational.)
- Karou tells Akiva that she's betrothed to Thiago. Before Akiva can react, someone grabs Madrigal from behind.
- It's not Thiago—he would probably just grab her actual behind—but her sister, Chiro.
- Chiro wants to know who the sexy horse-headed stud was that Madrigal was dancing with. She manages to evade the question.
- Thiago makes a grand entrance, but all Madrigal can think about is "where her angel had gone" (52.56).
Love is an Element
- It's time for the Furiant, another one of those dramatic Pride and Prejudice dances with lots of partner switching.
- This time, people actually dance with Madrigal because Thiago is nearby, and they don't want to give her the impression that they're shunning her.
- At one point, she gets passed off to a man in a tiger mask.
- It's Akiva with a new animal head on. What's next? Panda bear? Platypus?
- Madrigal tries to tell Akiva that she doesn't love Thiago, but she has to marry him anyway. Akiva's not a big fan of that answer.
- He loves her (even though he's known her all of about 57 seconds), and he wants to marry for love. Sweet.
- But before they can resolve this issue, she gets passed along the dance line and ends up in Thiago's furry arms.
- Thiago tries flirting with Madrigal, but he's not that slick. He makes comments about her dress falling off and then tears one of the straps himself.
- When the dance requires her to be passed along, she ends up back with Akiva.
- Oh. Wait. They don't even know each other's names yet. It's hard to keep this straight with all the flashbacks and flashwards.
(Hopefully this book doesn't take a cue from Lost and include a flash-sideways anywhere...)
- Akiva and Madrigal finally introduce themselves to one another, but Akiva gets mad when he sees that Madrigal's dress has been ripped.
- "I can make you a shawl" (54.59), he says, because nothing is sexier than a man who can crochet.
- He makes her one with magic. Her "shawl" is made of beautiful shimmering moths that settle on her shoulders.
- Right before it's time to pass Madrigal back to Thiago, fireworks go off.
- Madrigal grabs Akiva's hand and they run, far away from the crowd.
Children of Regret
- Madrigal takes Akiva to a temple of Ellai, a phantom moon goddess, and tells him her people's creation myth.
- Akiva sums it up by saying, "That is your legend? […] That seraphim are the blood of a rapist sun?" (55.9) Yikes.
- They rush further into a nearby grove, and take each other's masks off.
- They say "hello" to each other three times in about four paragraphs. They just came to say "hello," we guess.
- Finally, their lips touch.
- Just one time... for now.
The Invention of Living
- When Madrigal takes off Akiva's mask, he looks just like Ricky Gervais.
- Oh, wait, no, that's The Invention of Lying, not "the invention of living." Honest mistake.
- Now it's Akiva's turn to tell Madrigal his people's origin story: the seraphim came from light and the chimaera came from "a hideous shadow" (56.8).
- Funny how each story makes the race who tells it out to be the superior one, huh?
- Together, Akiva and Madrigal decide to make a new, happier myth.
- They think of a planet that "had never known war. […] It had earth and water, air and fire, all four elements, but it was missing the last element. Love" (56.19).
- Basically, they stole the plot of the Captain Planet cartoon.
- Real original, guys.
- Madrigal then shares the lore of the wishbone, which she wears around her neck, with Akiva.
- They make a wish, and break it.
- It breaks exactly in half.
- "Maybe it means we wished for the same thing" (56.52), one of them says.
- Madrigal's wish was to see Akiva again. But we don't get to hear what his wish is.
- Madrigal gets her wish; she does see him again, and they carry on a secret affair.
- Each time they get together, they break a wishbone.
- But their wishes start to change. Now they wish for a way to change the world into one where they can peacefully co-exist.
- Is it too much to ask to be able to be with your lover without being executed?
- We're finally back to the present-present now, with Karou and Akiva.
- "Mere seconds had passed since they had broken the wishbone, but in that space of time, years had come home to her" (57.2).
- Karou knows who she is: she is Madrigal's revenant. Her resurrected soul.
- Also: remember those baby teeth mentioned back in Chapter 13?
- Brimstone used them to make Madrigal a baby body. Babies are easier to hide.
- Um. There is no way to say that without sounding creepy, but we mean it in the least-creepy way possible.
- Oh, wait. We're not done with flashbacks.
- Time for another. Back again to Madrigal's execution day...
Victory and Vengeance
- Okay, now we've traveled back a couple more days prior to Madrigal's execution.
- Madrigal is still carrying on her secret affair with Akiva, but her sister, Chiro, has been acting funny.
- Chiro thinks it's weird that Madrigal is even less interested in Thiago than before.
- Here's a suggestion from Chiro: Madrigal should die and resurrect ugly.
- Hm, that idea is so terrible, we nominate it for the chimaera equivalent of a Darwin award.
- The narrator foreshadows that Madrigal should have suspected her sister of treachery in that moment.
- "Her trust was her undoing" (58.23).
The World Remade
- It's execution day again—for, what, the fourth time?
- Anywho, Madrigal is in her cell, and Brimstone has come to visit her.
- The resurrectionist drops hints that this is not the end for Madrigal, even though Thiago has demanded that her soul be evanesced—dissipated into the air, never to be resurrected.
- Jeez, man, jealous much? This takes "if I can't have her, no one can" to the craziest extreme.
- Then Brimstone drops a huge bomb on Madrigal. He says it was Chiro that sold her out to Thiago. That jackal-headed jerk.
- Before leaving, Brimstone tells Madrigal that hope is the real magic. She just needs to focus it.
- After he says this, "[Madrigal] didn't understand, quite, but something was starting to take shape, out of magic and will. Smoke and bone" (59.95). Title shout out, woot woot.
- Enough of this heartwarming moment of courage, it's time to chop her head off.
- Thiago comes in to boss the guards around.
- Brimstone tells Thiago that he found someone to bless Madrigal's evanescence: "Chiro. […] I can't imagine you would object to her" (59.106).
- Thiago doesn't object, and Madrigal now has an idea.
- It's all clear to her now.
- Just not to us, yet.
If Found, Please Return
- So here's the low-down: when Madrigal's head got lopped off, she was able to focus her spirit into Chiro's body because, Chiro's spirit was weak.
- Then, Madrigal-as-Chiro freed Akiva from his cell.
- Since Chiro was the one who sold them out, he is not happy, and he knocks her unconscious.
- Seventeen year later, Karou has figured this all out.
- She doesn't know what happened between the jailbreak and her birth.
- But she does know that she and Akiva her meant to be together, so she tries to put the moves on him. He resists her.
- Akiva confesses that he knew about the resurrection the whole time.
- Thiago told him because he's one of those super villains who spills his entire plan at the dumbest possible moment.
- What he didn't know was that Brimstone had saved her. Now, he's feeling pretty guilty for killing the guy.
- That's right: Akiva murdered Brimstone. That's how he got the page from Karou's sketchbook and figured out where she lived.
- That puts a damper on the foreplay, doesn't it?
- Karou flies toward the portal in the sky, not with Akiva, but with Razgut.
- She admits that she hadn't been able to kill Akiva, that murderous dude. Even though part of her really wanted to.
- As she passes through the portal, she thinks, "Under the misery, there was hope. […] This was not the end" (Epilogue.10, Epilogue.12).
- And that's that. For this book.
- Seriously? What is this, The Matrix: Reloaded ? Guess we'll have to dig up a copy of Days of Blood and Starlight and find out what happens next.