Thursday, October 18, 2012

Susan's Book Review: The Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor


Daughter of Smoke and Bone is the gorgeously told story of 17 year-old Karou, a blue-haired art student living in Prague. Karou is human and lives among humans, but she was raised by chimaera, creatures made with a combination of human and animal aspects. She has no idea how she came to be raised by them and knows nothing about her own history—they won’t tell her anything--but she considers them her family. She lives halfway in our world and halfway in their world, visiting the shop they call home to be assigned errands to run in the human world. The errands are usually dangerous and far away--sometimes they take days to complete--and involve teeth. Human teeth.


Karou’s family includes Brimstone, her father/mentor who can grant wishes. Not all wishes are created equal, so they have different prices. For instance, wishing for flight is expensive, but wishing for blue hair is cheap. It’s Brimstone who pays handsomely for the teeth, but he won’t tell her what he does with them. One day black handprints start appearing on the doorways that serve as portals out of this world, and then the portals disappear altogether. Karou struggles to find out what’s become of her family, but is she ready to know what they’ve worked so hard to hide from her? Meanwhile, an angel named Akiva, who is tired of the never-ending war in his world, flirts with the idea of living among humans after an accidental meeting with a strange blue-haired girl.


This book is paced so well and written so beautifully that I was pleased to find out it’s the first in a trilogy. The sequel is called Days of Blood and Starlight and will be out next month. I especially love fantasies grounded in the real world because it’s important I’m able to relate to the characters, and the author has created such a fascinating world and mythology. Even though I’m sincerely tired of books that feature magic, fallen angels and pretty much anything supernatural, Daughter of Smoke and Bone proves that there is always room on the shelf for a great book, even if the plot devices sound tired.


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