Author: Laini Taylor
Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone (#1)
Publisher: Little, Brown
How Received: publisher copy
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 picked up Daughter of Smoke and Bone from my TBR pile when the YAckers chose it as our book of the month. (If you don't know who the YAckers are, you should head over here. I'm particularly attached to my bio.)
And despite all of the hype I had heard about Daughter of Smoke and Bone, I didn't completely love it.
Was the writing beautiful? Oh yes. Laini Taylor's writing style is absolutely lyrical. And I loved the characters -- Zuzana and Karou and Brimstone. (Brimstone!)
But then Akiva showed up, and part of me just... stopped caring.
[SPOILER ALERT]I love Karou. As a character, I genuinely adored her. But once Akiva showed up, she just stopped being Karou.
Perhaps it was because she was secretly Madrigal, who I found mildly interesting but a little too perfect. Perhaps it was the instalove. Perhaps it was the explanation for the instalove, which I mostly liked but wasn't completely invested in.
I loved Karou at the end, where she basically told Akiva to eff off and flew off to go save what was left of her family. (Brimstone!) I loved that she still identified as Karou and not Madrigal as well, because Karou was a much more interesting character.
But I think it was the instalove. It might have been decently explained, but it just put me off the rest of the book.
[END SPOILER ALERT]
However, it's the world that ultimately brought me over to loving this book. I adored Karou's life and Brimstone's shop (Brimstone!) and the difference between the 'angels' and the chimaera. That, I loved.
Combine it with the ending, and it's enough to make me want to read the sequel.
Assuming, of course, Akiva doesn't show up too quickly.
Overall Rating & Final Comments: 8/10. Taylor's b-e-a-utiful writing sometimes distracts from connecting to the characters and the love plot put me off, but the world is totally worth it.
What did you guys think of Daughter of Smoke and Bone? And for more thoughts on it, go check out the YAcker blog post!