|Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor
Published by Little, Brown & Company
Publish Date: September 27, 2011
My Source: Borrowed
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. -(summary from Goodreads.com)
My Thoughts: I’m just going to be completely honest right from the start and say that this is one of the best books I’ve read this year. I was captivated from the beginning and in absolute awe of the story from cover to cover. Be warned, I have nothing negative to say about this book at all.
Karou lives a double life in Prague. Most people see her as a blue-haired art student with an uncanny talent for drawing, but she actually works as an errand girl for Brimstone, a mysterious sorcerer that raised her from childhood. She travels around the world collecting teeth for Brimstone’s magic and in return he gives her wishes. Karou is also able to travel back and forth thru portals between this world and Eretz, a war-torn world where angels and chimera have been fighting for many years.
Laini Taylor wrote this book so incredibly well, it was like a feast for my senses. I could picture each scene, whether in the world I know or in Eretz. I could hear and see the battles between the angels and the chimera. Every page was so vivid, it was like being right there, inside of the story. I found myself gulping this book, turning page after page to find out what would happen to these characters that I had become intensely connected to. Every time I had to put the book down to deal with ‘real life’ I would ache to pick it back up and find out what was happening with Karou, Akiva, and the battle between good and evil.
I soaked up the settings Laini Taylor wrote out for me. Her characters were just as magnificent as the places they inhabited. Not only are the main characters absolute perfection in this book, but the secondary characters are also wonderful. I must say that this book may be one of my favorite of all time in terms of secondary character development. Each character in this story had an important reason for being placed in there, and these reasons are made apparent to us as readers. From Brimstone to Zuzana to Chiro–and each of the other secondary characters–we the readers understand the purpose of their stories. I love this so much because it made me feel so much more grounded and secure in the story and made me have more faith in my storyteller.
Let’s talk about the romance aspect of this story for a second. Karou and Akiva have this amazing and unusual relationship that begins as, well, enemies. In their initial scenes together, they try to kill each other. But as the story progresses, a love develops that is so deep and so believable and so amazing, it made my heart swell so that I think it actually almost hurt. I literally hung on every word written in their story, and there is a twist that left my chin on the floor and speechless. There is so much that could be said about Karou and Akiva, but I really think that their part of this story and how it intertwines with every other aspect of the story is better if it is experienced by the reader first-hand without any prejudices or preconceptions.
If these thoughts bounce back-and-forth a good bit and are not very cohesive, it is because that is how my thoughts are in real life with regard to this book. I have thought about ‘my thoughts’ for a few days now and pretty much all I can come up with is how impressed I am, how much I loved the story, how connected I felt to the characters and setting, and how much I desperately want to read it again.
Folks, I cannot stress strongly enough how well-written and fantastic this book is. All of the buzz and the hype is well-founded. Laini Taylor is an extraordinary storyteller. Her language is smooth and superb. Her characters are lovable yet fierce. The mythology is captivating. The pacing is perfect. The story is beautiful and romantic and tragic.
I would recommend this book to everyone, particularly adults and older YA fiction fans. (In fact, this book almost seems like it could be an Alex Award-type book–written for an adult audience but with interest to a young adult audience, sort of like a crossover.) I think that females and males alike will enjoy Daughter of Smoke & Bone. If you love fantasy, paranormal, or tragedy with some romance thrown in there, this book is definitely for you. You should know, though, that you are in for a fantastic ride and this will likely be one of your top picks for Best of 2011. I am waiting not-so-patiently for the next book and will likely re-read this one very soon.