Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

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?

I got an ARC of this at BEA 2011. And EVERYONE AND THEIR MOTHER was all “OMG. THIS BOOK.” And cause I’m a tween rebel inside, I put this book off forever cause I didn’t want to read a big buzz book and then have it not be all that.

But I was so wrong. It IS all that. Not to be a sheep, but it is extremely unique and absolutely demanded my attention for every single page for all 418 of them. What completely enamoured me with this book was the setting and the world. It’s set in Prague. And among the ancient, winding streets of Europe we have tattooed and blue-haired Karou. I got a pretty strong The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo visual vibe from it (I’ve never read the books - so I can’t speak for them.) But reading the words painted this beautiful image ancient and dirt-encrusted city with an ultra-modern and social outcast girl surviving it. I might have been on a plane to sunny California, but really I was completely mesmerized and immersed in the strange world. I have this unconscious habit that when I am visually-awed by something, I stare slightly open-mouthed at it. How amazing is it that words painted a picture so clear and so strong that I looked like a complete moron staring at a book like it was a movie.

Apparently today is movie reference day, so now on to the world-building. The beautifully frightening chimera that gave me unsettling flashbacks to the strange fantasy of Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth. If you’ve seen it, you what I mean, if you haven’t, well, Netflix it -- words aren’t good enough to describe their creepy nature. And then of course there’s the morbidity of teeth. Freaking teeth! I won’t give away too much, but simply put, the world-building is as elegantly rich as it is brilliantly unique.

Then of course there are the plot twists. Holy plot twists! I am rarely blind-sighted by a book these days. Not truly, at least. I have to say that there were many moments where I didn’t see it coming at all and all the best ones are in the part of the book I deem “Spoiler Area”. And all of those lead to, yes, dare I say it, a cliffhanger. A really good, really shocking one at that. So, you are warned.

So you know a book is good when you are given the “extended preview” to Days of Blood and Starlight and you don’t read it immediately. Why? Because I don’t want the first 76 pages of the sequel. That’s a freaking cruel TEASE. I want the whole relationship, not a little flirting and a first date! (I apologize, I haven’t had my adequate amount of coffee yet - this is how my brain gets.) So, like the normal masses, I will be impatiently heading out November 6th to find what happens next. And I am very excited.


  1. Ahhh! I loved Daughter of Smoke and Bone! Though I have to disagree with the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo mention. Whenever I think of Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (story or otherwise), I think dark and violent which DoSaB is, but they're on different levels of dark.

  2. I absolutely loved this book. I read it for the first time last year and it was hands down my favorite reread of this year, then I went to reread it again this year because of the sequel and I still found myself just as wowed. Its just...a masterpiece I guess. :]