03 November 2011

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

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?

A well crafted and excellently written book, though it's not without its faults.

This is the first thing I've read of Laini Taylor's and it's an impressive first impression. I was completely blown away with the writing.  The setting was what really took me away, though.  I don't think I've ever read a book where the author painted a foreign setting that clearly.  (I mean, thank you Jesus, finally!)  This seriously makes me want to visit Prague now or hunt down every movie set in Prague and have a Friday Night Movie Fest.

Karou was an interesting main character whose strength really showed through.  I loved her consistent sense of humor and steel-like core.  I loved her quirks—artistic ability (MY GOD, SO ENVIOUS!) and language collection (EVEN MORE ENVIOUS).  She was never annoying.

Her relationship with the angel, however, was pushing my patience.  I kept getting distracted by the whole "love at first sight deal" with undertones of a Romeo and Juliet-esque romance.  I want to compare it to Twilight because there wasn't a lot of the stuff that truly makes a stable relationship, just mostly physical attraction.  I had a hard time not thinking, "Okay, seen this before.  Get.  Real."

I was very taken with the set up of the story.  The plot was intricate, unique and very well set up. As it got closer and closer to the end, I started figuring things out slowly as each new piece of information was presented.  I love that kind of slow-coming realization!  I'm glad I found a book where I didn't have the whole plot figured out by chapter three.

Monsters…angels…very cool.  Even though I couldn't really get into the romance, I loved the story and the worlds and the characters.

(The ending annoyed me though.  Just saying.  Makes me hesitate to pick up the next book. o.o)

Book Info:

  • pages – hardcover 420
  • published – September 2011
  • publisher – Little, Brown & Company
  • genre – urban fantasy/fantasy
  • received via – Books A Million
  • rating – 5/5
  • series – Daughter of Smoke and Bone
    • Daughter of Smoke and Bone
    • book 2 – coming September 2012