Sunday, March 30, 2014

Book Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke and Bone
by Laini Taylor

Genre: Young Adult / Fantasy / Paranormal / Romance

Ages: 14 and up


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?

My Thoughts:

This book is one of the darkest, most peculiar, most beautiful stories I have ever read. It is also one of those books that just gets better and better the more times you read it. The first time I opened it up, I enjoyed it and admired the creativity it took to write it. The second time, I was enthralled from beginning to end. The third time, I reveled in every word, delighting in tiny details I didn't notice before.

Karou is a fascinating, mysterious character. She is artistic, Bohemian, with her blue hair and many tattoos. She is a loyal friend, yet she keeps many secrets. Her secrets are almost the whole point of the story; the gradual revelations both to the reader and to Karou herself. The lure of the secrets is seductive, beginning with little hints of magic, drawing the reader in until you can't stop without learning them all. By then, Karou's world has closed around you, and there is no escaping even if you wished to.

Oh, the weird and wonderful world of chimeras and angels, where teeth can be traded for wishes in a dark corner of Prague. With so many YA fantasy novels floating around, it can be difficult to find on that is truly original, but Daughter of Smoke and Bone is one such book. I can't compare Karou's world to other fantasy realms, because there aren't any that are similar. It's a dark and dangerous world, filled with sharp claws and bright feathers, beautiful and terrifying to behold.

Speaking of beautiful and terrifying; Akiva. He's an avenging angel, fierce and golden, but empty. Until he tries to kill a girl with blue hair. Oh, Akiva. It was easy to fall for him, to want to weep for him, or rage at him. He has become on of my favorite heroes, in part because he is not particularly heroic. He makes mistakes, terrible, awful mistakes, and yet I still want to see him happy in the end.

This book is a fantastical escape to a world of forbidden love, tragedy, second chances and twisted, mesmerizing magic. You should really read it. Right now.

Rating System: Profanity, Sexuality and Violence 
1 (mild) through 10 (extreme). Ratings may contain spoilers.

I rate it a 3.10 for mild to mid-level swearing.

I give it a 5.10 for references, a couple of fade-aways, and a very vaguely descriptive scene.

I rate it a 6.10 for murder, war, and torture, which is not described in overly graphic detail.

                                        Lieder Madchen

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