Daughter Of Smoke And Bone by Laini Taylor
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Published: October, 2011
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?
When Brimstone calls for an errand, Karou always comes. This is how it's always been. Brimstone is her family, and his store, her home. She is of both his world and of earth, but neither, truly, given that she doesn't even know who she is. But the door between the worlds is closing, and finding where she belongs is becoming all the more urgent.
"...they cupped their wings around their happiness and called it a world."
So I understand that not all quotes are created equally, but this one is just unfair. Laini Taylor's writing talent was clearly contrived from a wish on a gavriel.
The prose was lyrical and simply lovely. I was hanging off each word, even going back to bounce the occasional phrase around in my head and admire it. So many arresting, beautiful images were vividly created, and the story was so easily pictured. I was won over by the writing alone, and all the other amazing components -- the characters, the plot, the atmosphere, the emotion -- were added perks. Laini Taylor is the wonderful wordsmith she's esteemed to be and then some.
Taylor pulled off the best omniscient third person narration that I've ever read. She flitted between different perspectives, even in wonderful moments stepping out into an objective point of view. Changes in points of view were smooth and fluid, and each perspective gave something to the story.
Distance between us and the characters inherent in third person was kept minimal, giving us clear images of our characters. Karou and Akiva were brilliantly characterised, and they had strong, distinct voices. Their emotions were so arresting that there was an instant attachment to them. Each twist and devastating development felt like a weight on me as well.
The fantastical world was astoundingly imaginative. The world building was thorough and each element unique. Combined with the poetic prose, the effect was an eerie, alluring mood. Even in a human environment, in the romantic city of Prague, this tone is maintained. The atmosphere was compelling in its almost tangible feel, and in breaks I had to reacclimate to the real world.
The ending left me literally taken aback. Surprised (can you say that you saw that coming?) and devasted (can you believe that?). It concluded on a stunning note that left me wondering, "so what can...what do I do about this?". Apparently the answer to that is to impatiently wait for the next installment to wrap me up again in the incredible and heartbreaking world Laini Taylor built.
I'm not going to recommend this to certain kinds of people. This is an EVERYONE book. Everybody's life would be better for having read this book.
I give Daughter Of Smoke And Bone a 6 out of 5!