Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Book Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Release Date: Sept. 27, 2011
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
Pages: 420 pages
Genre: Fantasy
Source: Library
Goodreads Summary: 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?
I wasn’t sure how to approach Daughter of Smoke and Bone at first. Both the summary and the book’s cover art are vague and then there is the hint that this may be an angel book, which I usually avoid. After reading enough reviews that assured me that the mythology is this book is different than what we traditionally associate with angels, I decided to give Daughter of Smoke and Bone a try. I’m very happy that I did. Easily, Daughter of Smoke and Bone is one of my favorite books of the year. 

Laini Taylor certainly has a way with words. Her writing is so vivid and the world building is incredible. While reading this book, I could very clearly imagine the scenes in Prague, Marrakesh, the city of Loramendi and even the battle fields on Eretz. And the characters! Karou is a fantastic main character, both vulnerable and fierce at the same time. And Akiva, oh Akiva…. His pain, anger and love are such real, visceral things that are awesomely written.

There are certain plot devices used in this book that usually annoy me (characters declaring love very quickly after meeting and stalkerish behavior), but Ms. Taylor makes it work and work well. The story is incredible and well plotted, the characters are amazing and well rounded.

As great as the characters and world building are, the thing about the book that I really love is the original, dark and fantastical story that Ms. Taylor has imagined and thankfully, shared with us. I don’t want to give too much away, this book is something you should experience on your own and fall in love with it as I did. The sequel, which comes out next year, is now at the top of my list for must read books in 2012.

Content: Implied sex, kissing, mild profanity and heavy violence. While this is marketed as a young adult novel, only Karou and her friend Zuzana are teenagers. Everyone else is an adult including Akiva and Karou’s ex-boyfriend, Kaz. Daughter and Smoke and Bone reads like an adult fantasy novel and may be more appropriate for older teens. 

My Rating: The Best!


SweetestLittleBookworm said...

This was by far one of my favorite books of the year. I thought I would like it, but I didn't realize how much I would really love it. I'm SUPER impatient for the second in the series. Glad you liked it too.


Becca Christiansen said...

I just finished this book. I looooved it up until Madrigal. The last quarter or so of the book really dragged for me. But I love Laini Taylor's writing, there are quite a few sentences I'd like to get tattooed somewhere on my body! I'm looking forward to the sequel, and her first book is now in my TBR pile.

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Great review. And I love that you do a contest warning. I'm a fan of knowing what I'm getting in to.

KM said...

This one was definitely an adult book for me. But OMG LOVED IT!!!!! And you're so right - his pain is very visceral. (Good word choice! lol) I think that's why I liked him. Plus, I'm a sucker for a good setting, and Taylor had 3!

Read.Breathe.Relax. said...

Wow, your fave read of the year! That means I must pick up this book too. I agree with you that I was unsure of what to make of the story from the description and the cover alone. (Honestly, the cover freaks me out a little).

This is the encouragement I needed! :D


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