Thursday, June 6, 2013

Review: Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor

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?

Title: Daughter of Smoke & Bone 

Series: Daughter of Smoke & Bone #1
Published: September 27th 2011 by Little Brown Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 0316134023 (ISBN13: 9780316134026)

This is probably one of the most original stories I've ever read, and I mean this in every good way. Laini Taylor fashioned a whole other world that nobody has ever read about while also creating memorable characters and detailed storylines. The author created all this while maintaining flowing and beautiful writing. 

Karou is definitely different from your typical heroine. She has hair that is blue, she draws monsters in her sketchbooks, and she runs errands for a chimera. More specifically, she collects teeth. While she herself has the appearance of a human, she was raised by chimeras. In this novel, there is no exact definition of the appearance of a chimera. They may have the legs of a deer with the head of a wolf and varied from monster to monster. At first, it was hard for me to imagine these characters with different animal body parts, but as the story progressed it became easier. While the image of a horrifying monster may come to mind, they were actually kind and nurturing. Even the secretive Brimstone made sure she was looked after. It took so long to figure out Brimstone, but no matter what his motives were, we knew there was a reason. Also, I loved his wisdom, and there was one quote that particularly stood out for me.

"Wishes are false. Hope is true. Hope has it's own magic."
Daughter of Smoke & Bone took the concept of angels versus demons and and spun the stereotypes completely. What if really the chimera, or demons, weren't actually evil? What if really, nobody was evil, but a war for power had changed them? Both sides had their own stories and myths to explain how they came to be, and both put the other in a bad light. 

Normally, I grow tired of the theme of star-crossed love, but Laini Taylor even changed this in a way that kept me reading. With so many twists and turns, it was impossible to guess what would happen next. Akiva and Karou start out as enemies, but feel there is something more between them. As their relationship grows, they realize the truth of their past. 

I only wish I could express my love for this book without sounding utterly stupid. 

“A book is a gift you can open again and again.” -Garrison Keillor
Book Nerd and Proud,

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