Friday 22 February 2013

The Daughter of Smoke and Bone - Book Review

Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Book Review
Laini Taylor
YA Fantasy
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?
Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone is a brilliant read and one I would recommend to all! The writing is beautiful, the story is captivating and its characters are vibrant and all too lifelike. This is truly a book that will stay with you for many years to come. Taking the reader on a fantastical journey through a realm torn by war, yet filled with magic, it is a captivating read full of treachery and forbidden love.
Within its pages, this book manages to weave together elements and beings from all walks of life. With characters of fallen angels, chimera and a lone wish monger who exchanges wishes for teeth, The Daughter of Smoke and Bone has no shortage of mysteries and intrigues. With the story set against the backdrop of Prague, the mix of fantasy and reality soon draw the reader into a world of art, friendship and long forgotten myths. I found it almost impossible to put this book down.
The story begins with Karou, a feisty, blue haired, teenage art student who is much more than she appears. Never knowing her parents, she was raised behind closed doors by creatures known as Chimera. A mix of beast and human, they are seen as monsters from every eye but hers, yet they are the kindest beings she knows. However when Brimstone, her foster father/employer, sets her on another mission to collect him teeth with which to make wishes, things suddenly turn horribly and irreversibly wrong.
When the doors to her odd, but much loved ‘family’ of chimera are destroyed, leaving Karou stranded, she finds herself drawn into an age long war between the Chimera and the Angels. Beautiful and formidable, they are everything the Chimera aren’t and Karou instantly despises them. Setting out on a journey, she plans to rescue her ‘family’ before they can be destroyed but first, Karou must learn about her own part in this war. Both the one she must play in the future… and most importantly, the part she played in the past…
It’s been a while since I read a book so gripping, but this one had me enthralled till the very end. Not only is the story unique, but each character broadens the books dimension and Laini Taylor has a great eye for detail. Her descriptions are vivid and colourful and her imagination is beyond scope. For example, there are many brilliant words in this book, but my favourite verse is without doubt this one:
‘I don’t know many rules to live by,’ he’d said. ‘But here’s one. It’s simple. Don’t put anything unnecessary into yourself. No poisons or chemicals, no fumes or smoke or alcohol, no sharp objects, no inessential needles – drug or tattoo – and… no inessential penises either.’
I have recommended my friends read this book just for those few lines alone! And you have to admit – it really is fabulous advice! My only criticism is that it was a cliff hanger ending which I always hate, although the book certainly left me thirsting for more. So overall a brilliant read with a great storyline, amazing characters and the most vibrantly written prose I’ve ever seen. 4 ½ stars!
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