Title: Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor
Published: September 27, 2011 by Little, Brown and Company
Grade rate: A+
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.
Daughter of Smoke & Bone is so darn good that I don’t know how to begin with my review. What if I start with the first paragraph from the book?
“Walking to school over the snow-muffled cobbles, Karou had no sinister premonitions about the day. Monday, innocent but for its essential Mondayness, not to mention its Januaryness. It was cold, and it was dark- in the dead of winter the sun didn’t rise until eight- but it was also lovely. The falling snow and the early hour conspired to paint Prague ghostly, like a tintype photograph, all silver and haze”
I don’t normally include citations from books in my reviews, but I wanted to illustrate what I mean. Doesn’t the opening of the book makes you crave for more? It has me hooked from the first sentence and I couldn’t put it down.
The characters are well developed, full of both flaws and redeeming qualities. Karou is a strong character that was raised in very unusual circumstances, but still finds a way to rise above it. I loved Zuzana’s snarky remarks and unwavering loyalty. Akiva is a different kind of male protagonist. What I mean by that is that he is not your swoon worthy male teenager, he is more mature and has been through a lot, which made him cynical and hard. I wouldn’t call him exactly likeable, but that is fine by me.
The story is told from the third person point of view, which allows us to know what is going on with both Karou and Akiva. The plot is original, well-paced and spellbinding. Ms. Taylor’s writing is so good, fluid, full of made up words that somewhat made sense and almost lyrical. The story was totally unpredictable and I am glad we didn’t have to wait for the next book in the series to understand what was going on. My only complaint was the ending, but I am sure Ms. Taylor will redeem herself in the next book (pretty please!!)
Daughter of Smoke & Bone was an incredible read and it is most definitely going to be part of my favorite books (series) list. I cannot wait for book two!
About the Cover : This is not the prettiest cover that I’ve seen lately, but it is appropriate for the story (which is not a fluffy romance either). The blue, the feathers, the mystery implied by covering someone’s face, are all relevant to the story.