|Title: Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Author: Laini Taylor
Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1
Cover Art: N/A
Genre: Paranormal YA
Reviewed by: Julia
References to sex, kissing.
Near Perfect – Buy two copies: one for you and one for a friend.
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 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 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?
Exotic foreign locations, an unflappable teenage protagonist, creativity and art, wishes granted and mysteries unsolved; Laini Taylor’s DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE is seductive when it reads like a teenage romance and utterly irresistible once it flowers into the full reality of it’s magic and conflict. In the simplest terms, I would not recommend starting this book until you can read straight through to the end, but above anything, I would recommend that all fans of Paranormal YA, Urban Fantasy, or straight up Fantasy make sure they find time to give this book a try.
Though Taylor’s world has angels and devils, chimera and demons, any similarity to existing religions or myths is superficial, the plausible result of humans trying to make sense of events beyond their comprehension. With flavors of Nina Kiriki Hoffman and Charles de Lint at the outset (solid contemporary settings with haunting magic woven in) Karou’s story moves further and further from the familiar world as the book progresses, immersing the reader in a magical conflict and a doomed love affair that takes on a scale beyond everyday life. While I was initially drawn in by the mundane drama of Karou’s life in Prague (the fascination of her alternative high school and her beautiful, fickle ex-boyfriend) the true magic of Karou’s experience soon seeps into the narrative and changes the whole tone of the story. But whether in the magical world or the mundane, Taylor has written an utterly winning group of characters. From Karou’s high school best friend to the mysterious creatures that raised her, the camaraderie and romance of this group is compelling. Add to that how the world of DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE mixes hints of mythology and realism to create something wholly new, and you have a book that will bowl you over on every possible level.
DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE is the story of Karou’s past, of the war between the seraphim and the chimera, and of all of the heartbreak and loves that have come before. This book is a wonderful, entrancing read in it’s own right, but I can’t wait to get my hands on book two. While DAUTHER OF SMOKE AND BONE opens on the streets of Prague, it ends on the threshold of an unknown world, and I for one am dying to take that next step and see where the story takes us.