Around the world, black hand prints 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 grows dangerously low.
And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly 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?
This book is the perfect amount of weird and definitely 100% unique. Laini Taylor is a master of taking elements of real mythology and twisting it into something new and original. In this case the angels vs. demons type mythology and let me tell you: she nails it. After reading this along with her other book “Lips Touch: Three Times” I can safely say she’s one of my new favorite authors and I will buy/read anything this woman writes.
Where do I even begin? It’s simply amazing. The story has no problem keeping your attention by feeding you bits of information at a time that leave you craving more. It isn’t exactly a fast paced book though, in fact the pacing slowed down a bit in the middle. However, the promise of answers to certain plot points will definitely push you onward. There also a lot of big reveals and twists throughout the story that I didn’t find to be very predictable, sure there are some things you may see coming but many that you also won’t.
I’ve seen many other reviewers complain about “info-dumping” in this book but I personally didn’t feel that way about it. The world that Laini Taylor created is so unique and fascinating all I wanted was more information. So even if there were loads of info being thrown at me I didn’t mind it in the least bit.
Have I mentioned the world building yet? Yes? Well I’m going to do it again because it’s just so good. The mythology and world that Laini has crafted for us is just absolutely amazing, nothing lacks for detail. She takes the classic concept of “angels vs. demons” and makes it into something completely new and original. If you think you’ve”read it all before” you are so, so wrong my friend. “Daughter of Smoke and Bone” is a whole different breed. This is definitely a story you can completely immerse yourself in.
The absolute best part about this book though is Laini Taylor’s writing, it is complete and utter perfection. I could gush all day. It’s beautiful, elegant, and very lyrical. Honestly I’d read her grocery list. She also doesn’t dumb anything down or spoon feed information to help us figure out what’s going on and that’s what really helped with the unpredictability of the story. Extremely refreshing for YA.
One last note on the plot: I’m usually not a fan of paranormal stories especially paranormal romances but this one blends so well with fantasy that it truly makes for an exceptional story that I couldn’t resist loving it!
Seeing as how Laini Taylor brought the world of “Daughter of Smoke and Bone” to life, it’s really no surprise she succeeded in the same way with the characters. Every character is fleshed out including the secondary characters. If there’s one thing I appreciate in books it’s well developed secondary characters.
Karou is exactly the kind of heroine I love in my books: the strong, independent girl. She’s not some super badass and she’s not a damsel either, I like how she’s a sort of in-between type it makes her so much more realistic and relateable. Karou may not be able to kick everyone’s ass with any Special Snowflake gifts but she definitely won’t be running to have someone else save her!
Akiva wasn’t as developed as the others in my opinion, I didn’t really feel for his character. and his narrative was not as strong as Karou’s. Don’t get me wrong he isn’t a bad character by any means but I’m hoping he’ll be a little more interesting in the rest of the series, maybe become more of the heartthrob everyone seems to think he is….
I wasn’t a super big fan of it but it wasn’t awful either which is always a plus and you do have a couple of the usual YA tropes: insta-love and forbidden love. However, I feel that saying it’s insta-love isn’t very fair since it is explained/justified later. No spoilers though! The forbidden love is done so well in this story that I don’t even want to call it a cliche, I wanted them to be together so badly and I was actually rooting for them! That’s how you do it!
It really is a decent romance and I am very picky with my YA romances, but there are a few “romantic scenes” that did drag on. There’s a lot of description which is fine since Laini’s writing is amazing but it did get a little tedious and a bit too…fluffy for me.
I blame any dislikes I have for the romance on the fact that I wasn’t a huge fan of Akiva though.
“Daughter of Smoke and Bone” is a truly wonderful, unique book. The mythology and world are very colorful and the writing is gorgeous. I couldn’t ask for a better combination! I absolutely cannot wait to continue on with this series.
Yes, yes, yes I do recommend it very highly. If you’re a fan of original mythology, great world-building, lyrical writing, and stories that are a bit odd but ultimately fascinating then this is for you!