Title: Daughter of Smoke & Bone
Author: Laini Taylor
Genre: Young Adult; Fantasy
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: September, 2011
Acquired: Purchased from Amazon
Read Dates: Oct. 9-11, 2013
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 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?
Ok, I have made a discovery about myself. I am either way ahead of the curve (loving a book before anyone else has even heard of it) or way behind it (like 2 years behind). I rarely get caught up in the midst of a fan-girl outbreak mostly because the prickly side of me refuses to give in to the accolades and pomp some books receive. With that being said, I apparently was way behind on this one. I remember seeing this book featured on a “must-reads” section on a morning show last summer (2012) AND I remember thinking it sounded good, but for whatever reason, I never read it. It also has shown up on my suggestion list on Amazon and Goodreads. Still, I wouldn’t read it. I didn’t even have a good reason, there was just something about it that turned me off. Boy was my book-dar WAY off! This was an excellent book.
Karou is a great heroine. She is spunky and independent with just the right amount of bad-ass. She has recently kicked a jerk out of her life because she realizes he is self-centered and has no one but himself in mind. She hates being alone, but refuses to be anyone’s doormat. She is not afraid to stand up for herself and what she believes in. She constantly tests boundaries and sets her own rules. She comes from a strange and colorful past filled with strange beasties, but also has large gaps in her memory that she longs to fill. She is often conflicted about her motives and does not come across as overly confident or cocky. Overall, I really liked Karou. I also loved her sassy BFF, Zuzana.
The story really sucked me in right from the beginning. I didn’t have any trouble connecting to the setting or the characters. Having been to Europe, this story felt at home in Prague. The dreary, old world aspect seemed to mirror Karou’s demeanor at the beginning of the tale. She later meets Akiva in Marrakesh which also fits perfectly. The bright colors, liveliness and fragrant spices of Morocco mirror her life after meeting Akiva. Karou comes alive after meeting him. Granted she did have a near death experience while meeting him, but I won’t give away any details.
The only hiccup in this really good book, was the “instant connection” in the love story. This is one of my biggest complaints about YA fiction because the “love at first sight” plot device runs rampant in YA. I personally do not put a lot of stock in the “love at first sight” thing, but I do believe in lust at first sight. I think authors should give young adults a little something more realistic to strive for so they will know the difference between lust and love when they get smacked in the face with it. Ok, I digress. Anyway, I was a bit disenchanted for a while with the love story, but there was a perfectly good reason for the instant connection and I was placated by the author’s explanation.
I gave this one 4.5 out of 5 stars. The story line really didn’t falter at any point. The tale was admirably spun and it held my attention from start to finish. There were no major lulls in the action and no plot problems that I noticed. It was a really fun read and I will definitely be reading the next book in the series.
If you like YA and fantasy, this is the book for you. If you like fantasy, but not YA, don’t read this. The YA definitely shines through on this one.
COMING NEXT: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (Book Club Read of the Month)