Daughter of Smoke & Bone
Author: Laini Taylor
Series: Daughter of Smoke & Bone #1
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: September 27, 2011
Rating: 4 Stars
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Synopsis from Goodreads:
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 grows 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?
I’ve wanted to read this series for a while, but like every other series/book I want to read, just hadn’t gotten around to it. The whole series went on sale for Kindle for $1.99 each the other day so I bought them all and decided it was time. Let me start this review by saying that I really really enjoyed this book. There were so many aspects that I fell in love with, but I didn’t LOVE it like everybody else seems to.
I think the biggest reason I felt this disconnect was because of the romance and the characters. The romance was lackluster for me. I could feel the chemistry between Karou and Akiva, but I never fully believed in it. It just felt like instalove to me. They barely know each other and all of a sudden they are both thinking about how in love with the other they are. The same goes for Akiva and Madrigal. Their relationship was another case of instalove. I just really wanted more. I feel like Karou and Akiva had all the right chemistry to make this an epic romance, but because of the lack of development, I just never fully bought into it.
I also really wish I could have connected more to the characters. I’m not sure if it was the writing style or what, but I never really connected to Karou or Akiva. I felt like I didn’t really get to know them, only scratched the surface. And I’m hoping that will change in books two and three. I do really like both of them as characters, but I want to love them and I just didn’t here.
Okay, enough of the bad. There were tons of good things about this book. Like the complete originality. I’ve never read anything like this before and I loved how unique a world Laini Taylor has created. It’s rich and full of life. Her writing is truly stunning. Her descriptions left me drooling. I loved learning all about the chimaera and all the different forms they could take. I mean, these are some truly imaginative characters. I loved the angels versus chimaera plotline. I especially loved learning about the different legends/myths that each race believed in. The whole message on racial prejudice and violence was so well-done. I love when a fantasy can relate to our real world and this book did just that.
I know I complained a little about the characters early, but I really did like them. Karou is a pretty fierce protagonist and I think she will grow on me even more in books 2 and 3. I love how inquisitive she is and how she doesn’t really back down. She goes into dangerous situations with her head held high. She knows how to fight and take care of herself and I loved her independent nature.
Akiva, of course, was stunning. I think I will most definitely be calling him a new book boyfriend by the end of this series. I love his tortured soul and his internal struggle between following the ideas that he has been taught since he was a child and the new revelations he has discovered through his experiences.
Overall I really enjoyed this book. I didn’t quite love it like everybody else seems to, but I have a feeling that by the end of this series, I will be singing its praises like the rest of you. The unique world completely captured me and I can’t wait to learn more about the chimaera and the angels. The ending nearly broke me and I’m dying to learn more about what happened.
Have you read this book? What did you think? Did you feel the same as me about the romance?