Title: Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Author: Laini Taylor
Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Rating: 4.5 / 5
Around the world, black hand prints 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 grows 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? (goodreads.com)
Oh, book, how I love thee. I’d heard such great things about this book that I had to pick it up right effing now. Of course, it took me months to get it from the library, and another few days to finally pick it up and read it, but I did. Oh, I did. Back in December. I read it again just this week to refresh my memory and it’s just as good as I remember it being the first time.
I went into it a little wary, because any book with such rave reviews in the YA Paranormal Romance category has to be a little on the bad side, right?
WRONG. Oh so very effing wrong!
I was thrilled to see that Ms. Taylor was perfectly capable of telling a well-thought-out story, one that is maybe paranormal romance (definitely paranormal something), but the romance is background to the story. It is definitely an element, and a rather prominent one, but it isn’t something that’s noticible–the romance doesn’t stand out so badly from the rest of the book. It flows well, and weaves itself through the rest of the plot so well that it feels natural.
I loved Karou so much. She is so very, very flawed. I felt a little bad for her at first (she has a weird ex-boyfriend–an actor who likes to jump out from behind people and scare them, Karou in particular), she keeps secrets from her best friend because, frankly, who’d believe she was brought up by four creatures that are definitely not human, and then she’s brutally attacked by Akiva, an angel who doesn’t recognize her at first but then, when he does….
I loved Zuzana so much, too! A tiny little firecracker who’s prone to violence (I’m unsure yet if she’d ever really carry anything out, but she likes to talk big). The character comes off as cute, despite all her talk.
And Akiva, poor Akiva. I just really want to give him a hug, because the poor guy seems to need it. I don’t want to say too much about him, because so far any backstory we have on him is essential to the plot, but… poor guy.
Ms. Taylor weaves Karou and Akiva’s story so well that the ending is so damn heart-breaking, it’s almost unbearable. It’s particularly heart-breaking knowing that Karou comes to realize the extent of everything that has happened in the course of the novel, and what the implications are for her. I’ve just started book two, Days of Blood and Starlight, so I don’t know what happens to them yet, but I really hope things get better for Karou.