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Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

>>Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Title: Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Author: Laini Taylor
Series: ?
Format: ARC
Pages: 420
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Publication Date: September 27th, 2011
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
Rating: A

Summary:
From Goodreads: 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?


Why did I read this book? I was midly interested in this book after receiving it at BEA, but what really piqued my interest was all the rave reviews.

Source: ARC from BEA 2011

My Review
This is one of those times where I'm going to have to reign in all my giddy fangirlishness and try and make this sound like a proper review. But I really, really want to squee all over this page but I suppose that's not the best way to get people interested in reading this book...

I would say there are two major things about Daughter of Smoke and Bone which easily makes this an awesome read: world building and the prose. I never heard of Taylor before, but she surprised me with this world she geniusly created. It's set in Prague and centers round Karou, our aquamarine-haired protagonist who loves art and whose adopted family is a set of chimaera. Her father-figure is Brimstone, a creature part man, part stag and who knows what else. Karou often runs errands for him, using the portal of to his workshop as a means to travel around the world. She picks up teeth for him, all kinds of teeth. She doesn't know what he uses it for, but he often trades wishes to clients who bring him teeth of various species. In this world, wishes are like a currency, the lowest being a scuppy, that can only manage something like turning hair a different color.

But this world is hidden from ours and Karou is the only one who seems to know it exists, until she meets another mysterious player, Akiva. Akiva's a seraphim and somehow connected to this other world, but he is also her enemy. The seraphim are at war against the chimaera and so there's natural tension between him and Karou, but they also can't help but be attracted to each other.

I really loved Karou's world as we see it through her life. However, she's been kept in the dark about her past and so have we and much of the story is about her discovering who she is and where she came from. This was expertly done by Taylor who provides a thrilling action-packed story filled with the glamour of Prague and the magic of a world elsewhere.

The only issues I had with this novel is how prominent the romance became after the first half of the book and the fact that the book doesn't really end. We are left to wait for the second book to find out what happens in Karou's story.

Rating: A
I definitely recommend Daughter of Smoke and Bone to readers looking for a magical story. It's a great read for young adults and adults alike. I hope to read the next novel in the series and to get closure on some of the events and also hope to see the romance fleshed out a bit more. 

9 comments:

  1. Great review. And nevermind about the urge to gush about a book when you're meant to be serious. I personally love seeing gushing with the serious. I think I just made the decision to wait out for the US paperback. :P But this sounds sooo good, and the trailer stands out in my mind too.

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  2. Yay! I just ordered this one and can't wait to read it! AWESOME, AWESOME review! :)

    p.s. I mentioned you in my review of Enchanted Ivy, which will be posted later this morning. :)

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  3. Great review! I`m reading this for sure!

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  4. I loved this book too. The world-building blew my mind! I don't even... Now I'm going to have to read all of Laini Taylor's other works, and book me a plane ticket to Prague!

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  5. Hello =)

    wonderful review! Im so excited about this book. Im still waiting to get it by mail though. Hopefully I'll get it next week =D

    C ya tomorrow btw =D wooho!!

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  6. I can't wait to read this!!

    Great review! I'm now following your blog too :]
    Here's my latest review: http://tiny.cc/odtku!

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  7. I have almost bought this a couple times since it came out. I should do so, I think...

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  8. Gloriously written. Wondrous characters. Blue hair brilliant. Plot thin and predictable but so what? Delicious characters. Still, great work does not end with "to be continued" even if a sequel is planned. Lazy and condescending to reader; labels work as throwaway when author is capable of better.

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