So far, my main thoughts are: The story is fairly original; interesting plot; but frustrated by how long the author is holding this "secret" of Karou's identity over the reader - especially as I'm pretty sure I figured it out around 80 pages ago. We'll see - if I'm wrong, then I suppose the author's intentions worked. But it does feel a little like she's saying "here's the secret! I'm gonna tell you.... I'm gonna tell you... OH no sorry I'm not." (repeat this a few hundred times) The story so far has kept my attention captive, which is generally a book's most desirable trait.
FINISHED: Okay, so I was right about who Karou is. I wish it had been less obvious - the whole climax of the book is dependent on this "big reveal", and while it was interesting to find out all the logistics of how everything happened, the basic facts were completely unsurprising. The ending however was unexpected, and definitely leads (perhaps a little too well) the reader into wanting the sequel.
I've also changed my mind about the writing - it really grew on me, I think I've grown to love the style. It has it's own strange beauty that kind of sticks with you long after finishing.
I didn't adore this book as many others seem to but it was a quick easy read, and required little thought - in this case, I count this as a good thing. I will definitely be reading the sequel.
MUCH MUCH LATER - AS IN, MONTHS AND MONTHS:
Audio review to come - actually, damn it, entire new review to come, my opinion on this book is so so different now after a little time and with a second re-reading! I'm not sure why this is - maybe I was in an overly critical mood through the first reading?
And again, even later:
This book in hardcover (the one with the purple feathers) is one of the most beautiful objects I own. Yes, I bought the book. It sticks with you, it really does. After a third re-read, I've realised what it is - the first third is wondrously intriguing, and I adore it. The middle third (Karou and Akiva) gets a little... bland and purplish, in comparison to the rest of the story, and at this point I always seem to think "maybe it's not quite as great as I remembered?". Then the final third is once again incredible, I am recaptured by it and forget that I had second thoughts ever at any point.
This is turning into such a bit-and-pieces review - maybe I'll have to come back and write it all out coherently at some point. Anyway.
Film castings - I don't usually get too attached to this because it'll happen regardless of what I think and either be perfect or not. But I couldn't resist - Christina Hendricks as Issa and Anton Yelchin as Mik (I know, I know, Mik isn't Russian but since when has Hollywood cared about this kind of thing? He can change his accent to suit, and better that than some American playing him with an American accent) And he's who I imagine every time I read about him) would be perfection!