Karou is a 17-year old art student living in Prague. She has bright blue hair, speaks many languages and disappears a lot to do "errands" for an otherworld man named Brimstone. He and others in his shop are the only family she's ever known but she also knows nothing about her past and where she comes from. She doesn't seem to really worry about it though it haunts her, especially after she meets, or rather comes face to face with, the beautiful Akiva, a man who has a violent past and may be part of her future. This is a beautifully told story, with some of the best prose I've read in quite a while. Karou is truly an enigma as are most of those around her. She doesn't seem to be overly concerned about her origins though she often reflects on the question of her mysterious past. When she is confronted by Akiva, the story takes its most interesting turn, hurtling Karou into conflicts that she could have never predicted. Their relationship is extraordinarily complex and there are many twists that you don't foresee.I read this story listening to the audiobook format and the narrator really enhanced the experience. I don't normally read young adult fiction and didn't really engage until about the halfway mark of the story and I'm really glad I stuck it out. It really is a lovely book with one of the more compelling worlds I've seen in the paranormal genre. The story ends with many issues unresolved so I'm anxious to read the next book. This was quite the gem, especially for me since it's not of a genre I normally read.