Friday, February 21, 2014

Review: "Daughter of Smoke & Bone" By Laini Taylor

Title: Daughter of Smoke & Bone
Series: Daughter of Smoke & Bone #1
Author: Laini Taylor
Publisher: Hodder
Year: 2011

"Errand requiring immediate attention. Come.

The note was on vellum, pierced by the talons of the almost-crow that delivered it. Karou read the message. 'He never says please', she sighed, but she gathered up her things. 

When Brimstone called, she always came. 

In general, Karou has managed to keep her two lives in balance. On the one hand, she's a seventeen-year-old art student in Prague; on the other, errand-girl to a monstrous creature who is the closest thing she has to family. Raised half in our world, half in 'Elsewhere', she has never understood Brimstone's dark work - buying teeth from hunters and murderers - nor how she came into his keeping. She is a secret even to herself, plagued by the sensation that she isn't whole.

Now the doors to Elsewhere are closing, and Karou must choose between the safety of her human life and the dangers of a war-ravaged world that may hold the answers she has always sought."

Well serve up my soul on a platter and call it dinner. How come it took me so long to pick up this book? You know what, I take it back. I am glad I did not read it when it first came out. Now I don’t have to wait for the next book but I can go and raid the local bookstore in 3…2…1… Now!

Now unless this has not been absolutely clear, then I loved this book. 2014 just started but I have a tingly feeling that this might be the book of the year for me.
Let me just describe my thought process when I read this. “Oh this seems like fun, she has blue hair, I like her already. Holy hell, that woman is half snake! Cassiopeia, is that you? Oh no, it is going to be a love of almost-first-something story isn’t it? But I.. Wait… wait! seriously? No.. NO! That did not just happen!” I swear my roommate was this close (imagine a really small space) away from calling the nearest loony bin and have me committed when I finished the book and spent the next 10 minutes bouncing around on my bed mumbling about how this did not just happen.

Okay, down to business. Laini Taylor is great. Her writing style is really smooth and it gripped me immediately. The pacing was also perfect. It gave just enough time to get comfortable with how things were working out and then it jolted you into excitement. I loved it. 

The world. Oh my goodness and the frozen hell. When I try to describe it, it sort of sounds like a children’s tale. You have creatures who are half animal and a girl living with them. Also teeth and wishes of magic are involved. Sounds crazy huh? So it is all the more amazing how Taylor tapped into that childhood familiarity and turned it into something the 20-year old me enjoyed so immensely. The chimera are such a fresh idea to the genre and the story of them is so unique that I do not think it could be done again any time soon, not with such impact. I must admit I am hardly ever a fan of angels, but here they worked, especially next to the chimera. Plus I could visualize those fiery eyes quite well. 

Karou is an amazing heroine. She has a very complicated story, even more so as the story progresses because in her case we do not get a protagonist who has a tragic backstory. We get the journey of her discovering what happened to her. And it really is magic. I have not rooted for someone so hard for a while.
With Akiva I was not sure how I should feel about him. I am not really much into the tortured look. But boy did he have reasons and the way he was some time back (people who have read the book know what I am talking about) was just… When I read that part, I could imagine the impact of it all and… he definitely has my respect and I cannot wait to see what happens to him.
I loved Zuzana, with her tiny frame and scary presence. The best best-friend material ever. I do so hope that she will have a part in the next book. Same goes for Kaz. I really liked his character, he gave the story a necessary spice. Yummy.
The chimera, which were many, were my favourite. Their half-animal bodies really had my imagination running wild. And the diversity of them! But besides that and probably more importantly, they had such character, such personalities. Again, I feel like I should wear two hats so I could take both of them off and salute Taylor double. 

Reading “Daughter of Smoke and Bone” for the first time was an experience of a lifetime and I am sure that it will be something that I will read over and over again. For once I went in with no expectations and I could not have been more pleased. I could not recommend a book more.

I won this book in a goodreads giveaway, but the review is 100% (plus some) honest and my true thoughts. 

This review has been brought to you by your Book Mistress for the day.


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