Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Title: Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Author: Laini Taylor
Publisher: Little, Brown
Release Date: September 27, 2011
Pages: 420 pages (hardback)
How I Got the Book: Amazon Vine-provided ARC

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?


It was difficult to come up with a review that was more intelligent than "YESYEYESYESYEYESYESYESYESYESYESYESYESYES" times infinity, so here goes something.

Raised by the chimaeras from birth, Karou is an art student living in Prague and runs errands for Brimstone, the chimaera she pretty much considers her own father. Picking up teeth for him here and there isn't so bad (usually) and she gets wishes in return, letting her do things like give her wings or make her hair grow out of her head naturally blue. Then the black handprints begin showing up on doorways and Karou meets Akiva, a seraph soldier in the war against the chimaeras.They fall hard and fast and he may be the key to helping Karou find out where she came from and who she is. But could knowing cost her everything?

I could swear the author has been silently watching and reading all the grievances YA PNR readers have with the genre because the book manages to avert pretty much all possible problems even when they come close (like a guy watching a girl while she sleeps--don't worry, he doesn't do it for long because he figures out he shouldn't). The characters are vivid, the world-building with the seraph and the chimaera is clear and original, and I want to read it all over again when I just finished it a few hours ago. The descriptions of Prague and all the other locales visited over the course of the book really come to life and you can see the Poison Kitchen as if you were standing right in front of it.

A little more on the characters: Karou is exactly the kind of heroine I like. Flawed, but human and very enjoyable to read about instead of painful. Akiva, the love interest any maybe even co-protagonist considering the sizable portion of the book he narrated, wasn't too bad either. While they fall in love very quickly and this is normally a turn-off for me, something clicked this time and it felt right. Their relationship even has a healthy dynamic! Imagine my surprise that for once, the love interest didn't keep things from the heroine just to keep her from falling out of love with him or getting angry and he actually trusted her.

I'm not a prosey person. I'm not. In the never-ending battle of pretty prose vs. constant plot, the plot always wins despite my appreciation for good prose. When I run across those rare books that have both plot and prose so beautiful I wish I could write like that, they have my heart and my attention. Smoke and Bone is one of those books. I don't like omnipresent third-person point of view either, but it was the perfect type of narration for the novel. It read almost like a fairy tale, similar to the writing in her previous YA novel Lips Touch: Three Times, a book I also loved and that led me to Smoke and Bone.

The book isn't even out yet and I'm hungry for the next installment! I guess I have only two things left to say. One is that you--yeah, you, with the funny look on your face--should read this book. The second is screw the ARC, I want a hardcover. I'm so happy and lucky I snagged an ARC before they ran out, but I want final copies of the books I really loved and I want to give it a proper sale. For writing such a wonderful book, the author deserves the slice of the money pie she'll earn when I buy it.

5 stars!

What am I reading next?: Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel

1 comment:

  1. Hi. I found you via Amazon and I love to read book reviews (yes, I'm a nerd)so I had to stop by. Reading your review of Smoke and bone made me want to read it KNOW. And so that's what I'm going to do , actually, I've already baught it to my kindle. Though I just bought another book (I'm also a total impulsive bookshopaholic). I just want to say that I hold you totally responsible for the outcome and you'll be damned if I end up dissapointed. :) (Ok, that's I joke wich I really think you get but one can't be too carefull)
    Give me a couple of days and I'll pop back to tell you what I think. If you're intrested..

    Good night (or maybe good morning for you?) from Sweden.


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