I don’t even know where to begin when it comes to my latest read, Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone. This book was on my to-read pile for quite a while, and I finally began reading it exactly two weeks ago. Well, as it so often does, life got in the way (work, sickness, family stuff, bought a new phone, librarian conference, etc.), and I wasn’t able to finish the book until this morning. Anyway, I’m so glad I finally picked up Daughter of Smoke and Bone (at the suggestion of several fellow bloggers and librarians). It was well worth every spare minute I spent devouring the world of Karou and Akiva. Yes, it took me longer to finish this book than is normal, but, in a way, that’s good. I was able to fully digest the story, appreciate the depth of the characters, analyze the intricacies of the plot, and think about what might be happening in the future. (I was nearly always wrong, so kudos to Laini Taylor for keeping me guessing.)
Karou is not exactly a normal girl. Her hair is naturally blue, she is an artist in Prague, she speaks many languages–both human and not-so-human–she runs mysterious errands for her “family,” and she was raised by someone–or something–named Brimstone. No one takes her seriously when she talks about Brimstone and the other “monsters” in her world, and that’s okay with Karou. In certain circumstances, the less people know or believe, the better. But even Karou doesn’t know everything about herself. Brimstone won’t tell her about her parents, why she collects teeth from nefarious types all over the world, how the portals to his shop work, or what the other door in the shop leads to. Karou’s life is full of secrets, but when black handprints begin appearing on the portal doors to Brimstone’s lair, those secrets begin to reveal themselves…
Karou isn’t sure what’s going on, but she knows that danger is all around her…and when she’s attacked by someone who can only be described as an angel, she’s convinced that her family is threatened. Oh, how right she is. But why? What does this angel have against the beings that have loved and cared for her forever? And why is she so drawn to someone seemingly determined to destroy her entire world?
Akiva was bred to be a warrior, to battle the vile chimaera that have plagued his kind for centuries. But his war against the hideous creatures goes even deeper. He’s determined to bring an end to this war by any means necessary…until he encounters Karou. Who is this blue-haired girl with the power of the chimaera and the face of an angel? At first, Akiva is unsure about Karou’s connection to the chimaera, but he soon discovers that her connection to them–and him–goes far deeper than either of them thought possible.
Karou and Akiva seem to be inextricably linked, and, as they grow ever closer, the past, the present, and the future conspire to drive them further apart. How can their fragile relationship hope to survive in a brutal war that has been tearing worlds apart for centuries? And when long-held secrets are finally revealed, will their connection be severed forever…or will it unite them against the forces that seek to kill any hope for peace? Explore the possibilities when you read Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor.
I shouldn’t even have to say this, but I will anyway (because it’s my blog, and I can do what I want to). I adored this book. It is unlike anything I’ve read in recent memory. All at once, Daughter of Smoke and Bone is a fantasy, a tale of forbidden love, and a story of an epic, otherworldly war that rivals the myths of ancient civilizations the world over. Every setting in the book was richly described, so much so that I now feel that I’ve actually been to Prague or Marrakesh. The characters were flawed yet perfect in their own way. It was difficult differentiate between “angel” and “devil” because each character had good and evil within them…just like all of us out here in the real world.
If you haven’t picked up Daughter of Smoke and Bone yet, do yourself a favor, and check it out soon. It’s an amazing story that will definitely keep you on your toes. It took me on a journey that was both unexpected and amazing, and I hope you’ll feel the same.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone is the first book in a trilogy. Book two, Days of Blood and Starlight, is set to be released on November 6th of this year. In the meantime, you can get more information on author Laini Taylor and Daughter of Smoke and Bone at http://www.lainitaylor.com/ and http://daughterofsmokeandbone.com/. Enjoy!