Sunday, 21 July 2013

Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, #1) by Laini Taylor (2011)

Description from Goodreads:

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 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?


I wasn't quite sure what to expect from Daughter of Smoke and Bone. There had been so much hype about it, and even though the description is just oozing mystery, I had my guard on when I started reading it. And I'm glad I did. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed the book but it wasn't what I expected it to be. 

There is this fairytale-like quality to Daughter of Smoke and Bone. The feeling gets even stronger when we finally get a peek to Karou's unrevealed past. This is due to the fact that most of the characters are chimaeras. For me it took a little bit of time to get used to the fact that most of the characters were chimaeras (as the books I usually read have mostly humans), but once I got used to it, it didn't bother me that much. I didn't expect the supernatural to be so prominent in these books, but I think that is why the book is so liked - it differs quite a lot from the mainstream vampire books.  

Another thing contributing to the fairytale ambianca is the love story. It was pretty obvious that Karou and Akiva had known each other previously, but somehow neither of them recognises each other. Yet, there is this magical pull between them which makes them unable to forget another. In some way, their relationship reminded me of Romeo & Juliett, and even though I love epic love stories, I wish their relationship would have gotten more time to develop. 

Karou was a great heroine. She is pretty different from the usual woman protagonist with her dark blue hair, lethal combat skills, and her unusual foster family. Even though Karou leaned slightly to the emo side from time to time, I grew to like her. She is very capable when she wants to be, and I respect her for her guts. She doesn't take anyone's crap, but she also has the soft side to her which she is afraid to show to anyone. 

The book was basically split in two: "now" and "then". Personally I liked more "then" section as it was so epic in every way. I don't want to say anything else about it as the quite a lot of surprises come along with the part. With the "then" part, everything clicked together and it made me even sob. 

Those who love fairy-tales, supernatural and epic love stories, this is the book for you! I can't wait to read the other books as I have no idea in what direction Taylor is going to take the story. I'm very excited!

“Karou wished she could be the kind of girl who was complete unto herself, comfortable in solitude, serene. But she wasn't. She was lonely, and she feared the missingness within her as if it might expand and...cancel her. She craved a presence beside her, solid. Fingertips light at the nape of her neck and a voice meeting hers in the dark. Someone who would wait with an umbrella to walk her home in the rain, and smile like sunshine when he saw her coming. Who would dance with her on her balcony, keep his promises and know her secrets, and make a tiny world wherever he was, with just her and his arms and his whisper and her trust.” 

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