Thursday, October 10, 2013

REVIEW: DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE by Laini Taylor

Title: Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone, #1
Author: Laini Taylor
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 27, 2011
Genres: YA, Paranormal Romance
Reviewed by: Books4Tomorrow
Source: Purchased
My rating: 5/5

SUMMARY

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 hairactually 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?




REVIEW

The tagline that hooked me before I even started on the first chapter:

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love. It did not end well.

I’ve seen this book on countless blogs; all with glowing five-star reviews. I just had to see what all the excitement and rapture was about. And as you can tell from my rating, I’m in full agreement with all the other readers out there singing their praises for Taylor’s work of genius. Daughter of Smoke and Bone is not simply a book. It is an experience that needs to be savored again and again and again. Whatever I’m going to read next is going to have a tough time living up to the wonder and amazement this novel has left with me.

The first thing that caught my attention was the poetically descriptive writing, painting a clear picture in my mind of the characters and their surroundings. Two pages into the story I was already miles away from reality, immersed into a world unlike any other. Discovering that the backdrop for this story is Prague in all its splendor, came as a delightful surprise and a welcome change from the American high-school setting for countless YA novels. Prague being only one of many portals all over the world into Brimstone’s Shop, was an even better discovery. This is where the story really got its unrelenting hold on me. I was enthralled by the creatures and characters that came to life here; the same ones which chapters earlier were only drawings in Karou’s sketchbook, seemingly borne from her imagination and her hand.

Karou’s best friend, Zuzana – in all her tiny glory – is undoubtedly one of my absolute favorite characters. Small, feisty and snarky, her wit had me in stitches time and again. Elegant, graceful, mysterious and different in oh-so-many ways, Karou intrigued me to no end. Keeping her two lives in balance isn’t child’s play, but she managed to pull it off effortlessly. On one hand she’s a seventeen-year-old art student in Prague; on the other, she’s errand girl to an inhuman creature who’s the closest thing she’s ever had to family. It was easy to warm-up to her enigmatic character, and I was especially fascinated by the air of mystery surrounding her, not to mention the creatures living in Brimstone Shop which she considers her family. Karou is tough-as-nails and I was absolutely bowled over by the mere fact that her actions and reactions are in no way influenced by her feelings for her love-interest. The author repeatedly puts her through the wringer and then some, but Karou continues to grow stronger right in front of the reader’s eyes.

Once upon a time, a little girl was raised by monsters. But angels burned the doorways to their world, and she was all alone.

Brimstone, Issa, Yasri, Kishmish, and all the rest also swiftly became firm favorites of mine. I was as sad as Karou when the portals to “Elsewhere” were severed, leaving her stranded, alone and cut-off from the only family she had ever known. At first I didn’t know what to make of the angel, Akiva, and I had a hard time deciding whether I should like him or not. Nonetheless, I was overjoyed that the romantic aspect turned out to be unlike anything I’ve ever read in any other YA book. For starters, there was no insta-love between Karou en Akiva, yet the chemistry between them was electric and their ensuing romance deep and meaningful. Trust me, this is no ordinary, wishy-washy, read-it-before romance. Even the love and bonds formed by this unusual family of beasts and a human girl was written with sensitivity and care – so much so I am still not sure which side are the good guys and which side the bad.  And then there’s the ending... The heart wrenching, shocking ending, which just about left me in tears, and at the same time looking forward to reading the next book in the series, which, so by the way, I already purchased once I got halfway into this one. 

Daughter of Smoke and Bone without a doubt lives up to all the hype surrounding it and is deserving of all the praise it receives. It is entirely different from, and so much more than, your average angel vs. demon love story, and most certainly in a league of its own.  I recommend it to fans of mythology, paranormal romance, and readers who enjoy Julie Kagawa’s books. If you already have this book on your to-be-read list, move it to the top. Now!



READ more REVIEWS

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor has 10 219 reviews on Goodreads. Read it here.

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ABOUT the AUTHOR

I'm a writer of fantasy books for young people, but my books can be enjoyed by adults as well. My 'Dreamdark' books, Blackbringer (2007) and Silksinger (2009) are about faeries -- not dainty little flowery things, but warrior-faeries who battle devils. My first young adult book, Lips Touch, is a finalist for the 2009 National Book Award! It's creepy, sensual supernatural romance. . . about kissing. I am also an artist with a licensed gift product line called "Laini's Ladies."
  
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