This is one gorgeously written book. Laini Taylor knows how to create a fresh, inventive fantasy world of dark and unsettling magic and she writes with such relish of words and phrase turns that I felt I was treated to a feast of poetry and imagination. And I loved every bite and sip. And because she knew how to portion her offerings, at the end of the long meal, I felt simply satisfied and not overly stuffed. I fell in love with Karou, the 17-year-old main character who straddles the human and the “monster” worlds. She is artistic, fiercely loyal, and full of mystery. And that love sustains throughout the tale. The Madrigal chapters slow down the pace a bit and I did get a bit impatient to get back to the Karou story (although Madrigal’s IS part of her tale, too, the placement and the length of this part did disrupt the flow of the telling for me) and was a bit annoyed that the story does not end at the conclusion of this volume.