Title: Daughter of Smoke and Bone*
Author: Laini Taylor
Published September 27th 2011 by Little, Brown & Company
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 grown dangerously low.
And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly 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?
Are the words MADE OF AWESOME too strong?
My expectations were built up beyond BELIEF for this book. There was so much hype about it. From the originality of the plot, to the characters… even to the cover.
And you have to admit that is one gosh dang b-e-a-u-tiful cover.
And I didn’t find any disappointments within the pages of The Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Not that I really expected to. I mean, half the reviews were from blogs I really trust. The other half? They had the good sense to realize that awesome had just reached up from black and white text to smack them across the face and scream “RECOGNIZE!”
So first– the originality. It would be so so so easy to spoil you on this because how can I just hint at things I’ve never even seen before? So let me just say that I don’t think you’ll have read anything like this either.
The world-building. Hell to the yes. Taylor made both Prague and the “elsewhere” that she created come completely alive for me. I couldn’t imagine the story anywhere else, to the extent that Prague has officially made it where it’s never been before: my list of places that I must someday travel to. And the “Elsewhere?” Oh, baby. The wars going on there, the hierarchy of the “government,” the magic, the mythology. It’s rich and layered and it just. Freaking. Works.
The WORDS. Laini Taylor is the epitome of the term “wordsmith.” It was perhaps a mistake for me to read this book during NaNoWriMo when my mind is focused on quantity over quality because this is a quality that I am nowhere near to reaching.
Finally, the characters– Now, I’m iffy on Akiva as we see him in the beginning. I totally thought he was another Patch or something. You know… the I-Must-Kill-You-But-Maybe-After-Sexytimes type? Nope. Nope, nope, nope. Akiva’s so flawed but I still want to cuddle him into oblivion once I get to know him better.
But he’s not who I love the most here. And I love a lot of people in this book. I love Karou’s best friend, Zuzana, the one Karou refers to as a “rabid fairy.” I love Issa, the closest Karou’s got to a mother figure. I love Brimstone, better known as The Wishmonger, who might as well be her father.
Most of all, though, I love Karou. She’s smart. She’s talented. She’s a slave to her emotions and her heart. She does things like wish a mean girl’s eyebrows grow out of control, “collect” languages, and turn her own hair blue. I am so glad I got to learn part of her story.
Overall rating: 5/5. This book is wondrous. But keep in mind, it begins a series. You may want to cry when you realize that you can’t pick up the next book right away.
*Note: I am an Amazon Affiliate. If you choose to purchase the book through my link, I will receive a small portion of the sale. This in no way affected my review, but I’m poor and not above adding a wheedling “please?” here.