After Jael's rise to power, he heads to the human world to obtain human weapons to use against the chimaera in the war. Karou now has control over the chimaera forces and allies with Akiva in the hopes of stopping Jael from wiping out the chimaeras. The two of them still hope for peace, but they're severely outnumbered by Jael's seraph army. And, unknown to those involved in this war, greater problems are about to threaten everything.
This book took me far longer to finish than it should have. At one point I set down the book and didn't pick it back up for another week or two. I read multiple books during that time period and only picked this one back up again because the due date for it was approaching. I was frustrated while reading it because of how much things got stretched out. There were so many looks that were exchanged between characters that had to be dissected and interpreted, which could take anywhere from a few paragraphs to a few pages. While the writing in this book is lovely and wonderfully expressive, I can only read so much of things I don't care about.
I do not like the romance in this series, which, being the backbone of the story, is unfortunate for me. My problem with the romance is all on Akiva's side. I love Karou. Well, I love her when she's not obsessing over Akiva, which means I didn't get to love her as much in this book as in the previous two. But Akiva. Nope. He wasn't an interesting character for me to begin with, but his backstory ruined my chances of liking him. Specifically his backstory after Madrigal's death. After Madrigal's death, Akiva escapes (with the help of a chimaera who is, unbeknownst to him, Madrigal) and returns to the seraph army, reveals all of the chimaeras' secrets, and begins to work toward their complete genocide because he's upset that they killed Madrigal. Now, I can understand an emotional response to Madrigal's death and wanting to lash out at those that killed her. And his initial actions after her death are definitely that. But he continues working toward their genocide for more than a decade. The genocide of Madrigal's people, of her friends and family. And Akiva only stops this upon learning that Madrigal lives as Karou now. Of course he's already murdered her entire family, including my favorite character, Brimstone, at this point. (I will admit his killing Brimstone does play a part in my opinion of him). Akiva didn't stop killing because he realized that Madrigal wouldn't have liked it or that it was wrong or anything. He did it because Madrigal/Karou was alive and killing the chimaera wasn't a good way to win her back. And honestly, I wouldn't have been surprised if Akiva went right back to killing chimaera if Karou were to die again. I got the impression that his desire for peace was contingent on Karou being with him. And I really couldn't see why Karou would want to be with him after what he'd done. That all being said, I know I'm in the minority about their relationship, which is fine.
The series did work hard to try to get Karou to forgive Akiva. First we get the reveal that Brimstone was able to think fast and save some of Karou's family. So Akiva only murdered some of her family rather than all of them. Then, while doing resurrections, Karou gets a feeling that she should resurrect Rath even though they need warriors and he's not a trained warrior. Upon spotting Akiva, Rath makes sure to let everyone know how awesome Akiva is for working to save chimaeras from being killed. Good thing Karou had that feeling so she could hear all that. And then there was basically every character pushing the two of them together and going on about how the two of them were meant to be together. It just got really old really fast for me.
The instalove between(show spoiler)
I was surprised to find a large chunk of the book focused on brand new characters(show spoiler)
Overall, I was just very disappointed by this book, which is disappointing after how much I loved the first book and with how beautiful the writing is.