Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1
by Laini Taylor
Published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers on September 27th 2011
Amazon • Barnes & Noble • 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?
I know I’m probably a few years behind the game on this book, but in my defense, it came out before I started blogging and therefore before I had such a wonderful network of bookish friends to make recommendations to me. That is now rectified and I have an awesome group of blogger friends that enjoy the same types of books that I do! Yay me! Daughter of Smoke and Bone was at the top of their recommended reading list for me. I mean they were practically yelling at me to read this one. See for yourself.
So, yes, I caved. And I am so glad that I did! Daughter of Smoke and Bone was……well it was……..WORDS FAIL ME! It was Awesome, Epic, the absolute Freakin’ Best Book Ever! Ok, give me a minute while I catch my breath.
The book is set in Prague, which is fun because I am quite sure I have never experienced this setting before. I imagined small cobblestone alleyways and brick buildings that have weathered time and remained standing. And for some reason, in my mind the city has a rather drab, grayish hue everywhere.
And living both in this world, and outside of it, is Karou. I fell in love with her from the very beginning. She is confident but reserved, finding it hard to make friends because of the secrets she must keep. But she strikes me as the type of girl that once a friend is made, they are a friend for life. I want to be friends with Karou. She is artsy in personality, persona, and activity. She is covered in tattoos, has a slender build, and long azure hair. Yep, blue hair – I love it! (And I gotta tell you, the first time I saw a picture of Laini, I was like, Yep. Totally fits.)
Karou works and plays in the world of humans, but her real home is through a magic door that can only be opened from the other side. A door that leads to a small shop of teeth run by an other-worldly chimeara named Brimstone. The chimeara are a race of hybrids, made of various animal and human parts. Although the book is very high fantasy because of this race of beings, they are described in such wonderful detail and given such realistic human/animal characteristics….it was just so easy to see them in my mind and believe they could be real.
Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love. It did not end well.
I have read tons of books about angels falling in love with humans, or vampires with humans, or other-worldly creatures with humans. But it’s about time someone wrote a good book about a devil and an angel falling in love. The romantic encounter was so sweet. I was rooting for them all along, even before I knew what was really going on. Their love grows slowly, most obviously because they are supposed to be sworn enemies, but it is just so heart wrenching when you learn the whole truth of their relationship.
Oh I forgot to tell you about Akiva! How could I possibly forget him?! Akiva is the angel that is sent to earth to close all of the portals to Eretz, the world in which the chimaera and angels live. He is broody, strong, and gorgeous. He can cloak his wings while on earth, which is a good thing, because his wings look like feathers alight with fire. As if embers were carved into wings, never fully extinguishing. God, I want to see those wings!
This book was large, and yet I still felt as if the story ended too quickly. I wanted more. More of the characters, more of the world, more of Karou, more of Brimstone, more of everything! If you have been putting off reading this story because of the high-fantasy, I am here to tell you it is extremely well-done and does not read like a high fantasy book. Everything is completely believable – STOP WAITING! Go pick it up now. You will not regret it.
We give this one…