This is what the hype is all about? 0___0 I won't lie for most of the book this was going to be a four star read for me, but my goodness after page 300 it went downhill. Endless back storiesQ___QReally?We already know what is going to happen in the end. So, why spend the rest of the book writing a back story that is, in essence, detracting from the overall feeling of the book? Just to dump information to the reader in order to make one relationship okay? Not in my books.I was annoyed because there are so many things to like about this book. The setting in Prague, it's different and feels well researched. I can imagine it well in my head. It's intriguing and can heighten the atmosphere. In the beginning this entire story felt like what you would get when you combine "Pan's Labyrinth"; Tim Burton; "Romeo and Juliet"; and Baz Lurhman to get an over the top atmospheric read with a creepy vibe out of left field. The kind of book that I thought would surprise me and I would say "wow". The interesting characters such as Brimstone, Issa, and Zuzanne. The descriptions can be fantastic and fresh, however there are times when she does go a bit overboard and it feels too purple prosy to me. It doesn't move the story forward, it only detracts from the overall enjoyment of the book. I think she is a wicked storyteller, however her ending in this book needs a lot of work. After you built up a great climax, the rest of the story falls flat on its face. Now to the parts that bother me. At first, the way Karou is described. A lot of things that make a character too unique can make the character seem like a parody. She has blue hair she's asked for, a very unorthodox name, speaks 27 languages, can protect her own behind, orphaned (till a point), and is a really great artist. What's her downsides? The fact she doesn't know who she is fully? Every orphan is like that, but we find out later the truth. By the end, there is a better sense however it still feels a bit over the top. Also, the way Laini Taylor writes Karou is hard for me to RELATE to her as a character. Karou's style of talking and humor just is off-putting at times.It stuns me that I could dislike this book seeing as I've read so many glowing reviews and a lot of great things. How it is step above everything right now (in YA). No, I don't agree with it.While Laini is a dazzling writer where she spins a unique storyline and gives some fantastic descriptions--in my mind that is not the end all and be all of a great story. In fact, she's like a magician using smoke and mirrors to detract the reader from the issues this book has. She's also not that deep, and juvenile at times. Besides Karou, there is pacing. This is one of those books where the beginning and I really hit it off. It's the best part of the book, and where I am thinking I will love this book. Slowly, but surely, as I read on I go from giddy excitement to a bored look on my face. I just spent me time thinking why did I read this again? Surely that did not happen? Nope, it did. It's frustrating when this happens for a reader.Akiva...I have so many things to say. He didn't leave any kind of impression on me, and even his feelings for Karou fell flat for the majority of this book. I was really underwhelmed at their relationship because it felt like going nowhere. None of it made sense till the endless backstories towards the end of the book. This is a major problem for me when it comes to forming relationships, when it is one sided we have no idea why he feels for her till the endless backlog of stories dealing with Madrigal--that in itself ruins the entire story. In fact, it probably would have made sense to just write about Madrigal and Akiva instead of bringing Karou into it. Would have been a bit more interesting overall. I wanted to like this book. I really did, but in the end it's maybe not for me. I thought it had a pretty good premise, but then it just got ruined in the end. There is no doubt the author is a good writer, I just think her plotting needs a bit of work. Her endings especially. All and all, it's really hard to give this a star rating. I am going to give it a two because the negatives outweigh the positives for me. I'm not saying I shouldn't give Laini credit where it is due, certainly she's going out on a whim here. However, it isn't enough to have a creative idea and good writing a writer needs to run on all cylinders to make everything work including characterization, plotting, and pacing. I might read something else of hers instead...maybe.