Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Publication Date: September 27, 2011
Check out the author's blog HERE
Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.About the Author:
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 other wordly 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 beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery 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?
Laini Taylor is the author of the National Book Award Finalist Lips Touch: Three Times, as well as the novels Blackbringer and Silksinger. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband, illustrator Jim Di Bartolo, and their daughter.
I received this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own. Amazon is offering this Kindle book for $7.99 today (2/20/14).
"Daughter of Smoke and Bone" is the first in a trilogy with the third installment due out this April. Seeing the 830+ reviews on Amazon and the 3,000+ on Goodreads, I promise not to spend too much time rehashing plot or characters.
Let's get my dislikes out of the way first. Akiva. Yes, I know. But I don't feel as if I am completely alone when I page through the reviews. I did feel for him once I'd read the whole story, he suffered a great lost, was in great, horrible pain. I mean how do you NOT feel for that. However, I just couldn't get on board with a lot of his decisions. Maybe I just couldn't relate, but after the love of your life dies, do you really turn your back on everything you two had dreamed about, everything you had hoped to accomplish? So I spent a lot of the book saying "What the poo??"
I also didn't like Karou's final decision, but that may have been because I didn't think Brimstone was all that awesome. He was not a spectacular father figure by any means, he was just all Karou had. But we are lead to believe that Akiva and Karou have this epic, perfect love where he gives all to be with her, and she leaves him to go find Brimstone. Some will argue with me about how Akiva killed her people and he is horrible and she should leave him, but are they in this together or not? Are they going to try and end this war like they dreamed together or not? She chooses not. Well, waste of a good love story then. Boo.
There were a few other minor things I tripped over. Insta-love. The convenience of being suddenly rich. Remembering how much I dislike angels depicted in fiction. But let's move on to what I, and hundreds of others, LOVED: the world building. Fantastic. First we get the gorgeous, quirky Prague which instantly fired up my wanderlust. Then we get this giant fantasy world that just bursts with history and character. War has been raging for centuries, both sides full of secrets, power, and deep rooted hate. One of my biggest motivators for continuing this series is just to read more and see if we get to discover more history, more lore. Taylor's writing also really picked up towards the end and I am excited to see if the trend continues through book two.
As much as I might complain about the little things the characters were well rounded, the world building was fun and intriguing, and the author's take on Romeo and Juliet was great. "Daughter of Smoke and Bone" is getting 4 stars from me. If I get my hands on book two, I am really hoping for that score to go up! Any one who hasn't read this book yet but enjoys great fantasy world building and doesn't mind some serious conflict between angel and monster, should add this to their TBR list immediately!