Friday, 25 November 2011

Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Title: Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1)
Author: Laini Taylor
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
Publication Date: September 27th, 2011
Genre: YA, Paranormal Fantasy

Karou is an art student in Prague and constantly impresses her friends with her sketches of monsters. Little do they know that the characters in her sketchbooks are real. Karou lives two lives: one attending school and spending time with her best friend, and the other carrying out errands for her foster father Brimstone, who belongs to a entirely different world. When Karou meets an angel named Akiva, he is fascinated with her despite the fact that he is the enemy. As Karou becomes caught up in the oldest war in existence, she might be able to find out whom she truly is. But once she finds out the truth, there’s no going back.

In Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Laini Taylor takes a lot of ideas that are quite common in YA fiction right now (such as forbidden love and magical worlds) and makes it feel new again. If anything about the plot description above seems unoriginal, trust me, it’s not. Karou lives in a world where wishes can be bought and a portal can take her to any city in the world. I suppose you could say that there are two types of paranormal novels: ones where the protagonist is unaware of the fantasy world as the book begins, and ones where they are already a part of it. Daughter of Smoke and Bone falls into the latter, and for a while the reader is the clueless one. But there is a lot that Karou doesn’t know about herself and her guardians, so there was still suspense and many unanswered questions until the end. I think what makes this book so good is that it has fantastic writing, wonderful characters and a creative fantasy world. Taylor’s prose was so beautiful and it was very difficult to pick one quote for this review. The world she created was very detailed and original, and I think I would check out the sequel just to see more of it. She also captured Prague perfectly, and now I almost feel as if I’ve been there. Like the world Taylor created, many of the characters were original and captivating. My favourite was Zuzana; I couldn’t help loving this tiny girl who loves marionettes. I loved a lot of things about Karou, such as her independence and bravery, but I felt a bit detached from her, and I didn’t completely buy into her relationship with Akiva. Perhaps that is why this book didn’t have quite the effect on me that it had on some many other reviewers. I did enjoy it and I loved being thrown into the world that Laini Taylor created. I’d definitely recommend Daughter of Smoke and Bone to anyone who loves fantasy and even to those who don’t.


“It is a condition of monsters that they do not perceive themselves as such. The dragon, you know, hunkered in the village devouring maidens, heard the townsfolk cry 'Monster!' and looked behind him.”

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