Saturday, October 29, 2011
Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor is a new favorite book. I am almost at a loss for words to describe how enthralled I am with it. But let me try.
"Once upon a time an angel and a devil fell in love. It did not end well." Those are the opening lines of this exquisitely written book, a book which really defies categorization. It is fantasy, adventure, romance, coming-of-age, mythology, with a bit of humor thrown in for good measure. It contains all those elements of a good story that we crave: good verses evil, though it is never clear who is good and who is evil; forbidden love lost and found, then lost again; and strong characters within a vivid setting. I sighed as I closed the book on the last page wanting to live within it's world(s) longer than the 400 pages given to me here. Lucky for all of us there will be a sequel, though I didn't figure that out until the last page. Oh yea, I forgot- the opening line warned me to beware, "It did not end well." This sets up the sequel perfectly.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone is not just a love story between a demon and an angel which is a oft told tale, but it is mainly the story of Karou, whose name means hope, a girl who needs to find herself, her roots, her people. In a lot of ways this 17-year-old art student in Prague seems like most other teenagers until she is called away to run an errand for foster father, Brimstone, by a crow with bats wings. The errands are all the same: to retrieve teeth from humans and animals collected by unscrupulous hunters. Karou does not know what Brimstone does with the teeth. In fact, she doesn't know much about her past. "Who is she? That is the question that haunts her and she's about to find out." (Book Jacket) At this point she meets Akiva, a gorgeous seraph, who is drawn to Karou as she is to him. Their love and attraction is both steamy and sweet, tender and fraught with problems.
"Karou’s first story ends with an anguished epiphany, the promise of a new adventure and, of course, what Emily Dickinson called 'the thing with feathers' and what Brimstone calls 'the real magic,' hopes," says Chelsea Philpot writing for the NYT Book Reviews. Indeed it is a story full of magic and hope.
Help yourself to the first five chapters by following the link below. Happy reading.