Author Website: Laini Taylor
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 432 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (September 27, 2011)
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥♥ yes I love it that much
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 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?
After reading the first paragraph, it was instantaneously obvious that Daughter of Smoke and Bone is a beautifully penned novel. Laini Taylor’s writing style is decadent and flawless and this story is told in a manner that isn’t casual but isn’t incredibly rigid, either. There is a perfect balance in Taylor’s writing style because it is evocative at moments, and easily conversational at others, and her exceptional talent is well demonstrated in Daughter of Smoke and Bone. As this story maneuvers from the past to the present it always occurs at the right juncture in the story, and never disorients the reader. Gigantic plot points unfold and reveal themselves through these cleverly placed flashbacks, and when the timeline finally returns to the present, you are left breathless with wonder. The world that has been created in this story is so wondrously detailed with it's history and rituals that are beautiful and primitive in equal measure and unlike anything you have witnessed before.
The mythology and backdrop of Prague, among other places of Daughter of Smoke and Bone will instantly ensnare you, but it is it's characters that are truly remarkable and unforgettable. Karou, this story's protagonist, is the most mysterious and memorable girl you will ever encounter on a page. She has blue hair, tattoos, and a passion for wishes. Her story as it unfolds, is equally heartbreaking and beautiful, and by the end of the book you get to know Karou as an almost entirely different person and you adore her all the more for it. Akiva, Karou’s mysterious love interest, is very dark and tortured, but he isn’t stereotypical in any way, by any means. His chemistry with Karou is scorching hot and so romantic that it jumps forth from the page and sears your heart. Although those two characters will consume you, other minor players are quite memorable in Daughter of Smoke and Bone. From Brimstone, the astute keeper of wishes to Karou’s best friend (whom I adore) Zuzana, and the characters that don’t take center stage manage to be paramount to the story.
If you’re looking a book that is deliciously evocative and dark while being unique, and completely amazingly breathtaking, Daughter of Smoke and Bone is the clear choice. NO QUESTION. I have told everyone that I know that this novel is my favorite read of this year. I absolutely adore it, love it, can't get it out of my head and need the next book in this series, like NOW. I am totally serious.