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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Daughter of Smoke & Bone

Title:  Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Book 1 in trilogy)

Author: Laini Taylor
Publisher:  Little, Brown Books for Young Readers  Sept 2011
ISBN:  9780316134026
Pages:  424 pages
How I Read It: ebook
Genre: fantasy, paranormal, young adult
Rating: 5 crowns

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 beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery 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?

My thoughts:

Here we go, another young adult fantasy book – but wait! This is not your average angel (good) versus devil (bad) story. In fact, this novel is so complex and cleverly composed that it brings to light how something can be perceived as evil just because it’s different. And what of those born and raised into the hatred of a race just because, well, that’s how it’s always been? Laini Taylor has written an incredible and touching story that explores prejudice and war as well as romance in one of the most amazing fantasy worlds I have yet to encounter.

For you see Taylor, unlike numerous other young adult authors out there, is so far removed from the stereotypical, with writing that holds a magical flair and a sophistication that is not only rare but an absolute pleasure to read. Her stories are richer, her characters more highly developed and so very interesting. In fact, her style is bordering on art.

This story tells the age-old tale of forbidden love, but with an amazingly mythological twist. Karou and Akiva are portrayed as Romeo and Juliet – but unlike any other you’ve come across. Taylor creates an incredible fantasy world of humans, seraphim, and chimaera with the mythology being so sophisticated and storylines that are truly thought provoking. I was captivated by her literary prose – it was just exceptional. I loved the geographical descriptions of Prague, Marrakesh, and Elsewhere – I walked the streets, ate the goulash and spoke to the vendors right along with the characters. I was shocked by the severe punishments for fallen angels like Razgut; intrigued by the magic system; and listened to the individuality as each character had their own unique voice and message. On top of all that, one cannot forget the forbidden love; the young adults we once were read enraptured:
“Love is a luxury.”

“No. Love is an element.”

“An element. Like air to breathe, earth to stand on.”
 And, in spite of the divided and war-torn world Taylor has created, she also presents an undeniably optimistic underlying tone:
“Wishes are false. Hope is true. Hope makes its own magic.”
 Utterly and absolutely spellbinding, this isn’t a book; it’s an experience, deserving to be read by anyone of any age who truly appreciates quality writing and storytelling.
“Madrigal’s hands started to shake. She didn’t understand, quite, but something was starting to take shape, out of magic and will. Smoke and bone.”

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