Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Release Date: September 27, 2011
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: ARC from Comic-Con
Buy It: Amazon | Book Depository
Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.
In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.
And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war.
Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”; she speaks many languages—not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.
When one of the strangers—beautiful, haunted Akiva—fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself? – Goodreads
Perfect. The end.
Okay, in all seriousness, Daughter of Smoke and Bone is one of those amazing reads that make it so incredibly difficult to try to review. On the surface, the book has some familiar elements that we’ve seen before: angels and devils, forbidden romance, star-crossed lovers, magic, and secrets…Sounds like a few different books out there, right? But, no, you have not read a book quite like this one. Laini Taylor wove the familiar into something so refreshing and unique, leaving me in awe.
I don’t know what it says about me, but I knew that this was a Favorite — with a capital ‘F’ — once there was a mention of “inessential penises” (page 22 of the ARC). There were several other scenes that Taylor infused with the perfect brand of humor but, in addition to that, she was a master with her world building and words. Prague and “Elsewhere” came alive.
While Daughter of Smoke and Bone has a love story, an ancient battle, and many other things taking place, at its core it’s a story about the discovery of Karou’s identity. She’s brave, quirky, and a bit of a badass, but she’s also very vulnerable; she doesn’t feel whole because her background is a mystery to her. Enter Akiva and the chain of events that revealed who she is. It definitely took me by surprise!
In my experience, side characters often feel so unnecessary in most of my reads because they’re there and then gone without even skimming the surface of who they are. Here, even with the quickest glimpses of some of them, I felt that Taylor created layered personalities. Everyone from Zuzana to Brimstone and the rest of Karou’s family, to Razgut, Chiro, and Thiago… A lot of time wasn’t spent with all of them, but attachments and opinions were formed and I had a very clear and vivid picture of who they were.
And then there’s the romance. I honestly get shivers just remembering it! I was quickly on board with the idea of Karou and Akiva, but then it got even better as secrets were revealed and it was just…almost too much. Unexpected. But brilliant and beautiful and so very swoon-worthy. Who knew “Hello” was such a sexy word?
This is a book whose ending I looked forward to with dread because I wanted more. Usually after I finish a book I immediately find a spot for it on my shelf. Not the case with Daughter of Smoke and Bone. It’s been over a month since I first read it and I’ve been unable to move it from my bedside table. I’ve needed it close by for revisits and, though I’ve obviously read other books since then, Karou’s story is one I have not been able to let go of. Taylor’s words, her world, and characters have lingered and I’m aching to experience it all over again in the next two installments. This is not a book you want to miss!
Want a signed copy? Yep, it’s giveaway time! Laini Taylor is making an appearance here next month, and I’ll be attending the event, so I thought I’d share in the awesome and offer a signed copy for you all. Read on!
Open internationally, the giveaway ends at midnight PST on October 17, 2011. The signing is the following week and the winner has 48 hours to reply to my e-mail or another winner will be chosen. Extra entries are available but not required.
Winner will be announced soon.