It's not often that a sequel is stronger than it predecessor, but it's the case here. Laini Taylor unflinchingly minimized the wonder and cuteness and romance and instead focused on creating a rich landscape devastated by war, and characters wounded and scarred by it, and yet caught in the relentless cycle of violence which breeds more of the same."A dream dirty and bruised is better than no dream at all."
Karou is hardly recognizable as the spunky blue-haired girl full of vitality that we came to love. She lost everything she held dear and permanent in her life, and is barely a shell of her old self, consumed by regret and shame and guilt which, honestly, she really does not deserve (and the frequently annoying in its persistent cheerfullness presence of Zuzana is a painful reminder of how different Karou's life has become).
"In the cycle of slaughter, reprisal begat reprisal, forever."
Karou - resourceful, strong, level-headed, self-sufficient - you are still welcome to join my literary BFFs circle. Really."Be your own place of safety, she told herself, straightening. No crossbar in the world could protect her from what lay ahead, and neither could a tiny knife ticked in her boot - though there her tiny knife would most certainly remain - and neither could a man, not even Akiva. She had to be her own strength, complete unto herself."