Published: September 27, 2011
Publisher: Little, Brown, and Company
Genre: YA Fantasy
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 one of the strangers--beautiful, haunted Akiva--fixes his fire-colored 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?Daughter of Smoke and Bone was a truly fascinating book. The plot can easily be summarized by the first page of the book: "Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love. It did not end well." That sets the tone for the entire story and keeps the theme throughout.
Main character, Karou, is quirky, tough, and easy to relate to. Her best friend Zuzama, adds humor and balance to Karou's unconventional life, while her chimaera family bring in another level of complex characters that are both fascinating and mysterious. Most notably, we meet Akiva, the most secretive, yet powerful character in the book, as he essentially holds Karou's future in his hands.
The world building is unlike anything in any novel I have ever read. Laini Taylor's attention to detail is impeccable and the places are described so vividly, I felt like I could imagine myself in the scenes next to Karou and Akiva.
My only true complaint with this novel was that during the world building, the story lulled some with Karou and seemed to slow down in momentum which made it somewhat of a slow read at times. However, once Laini Taylor introduced Karou to Akiva, sparks began to fly, secrets began to unravel, and I couldn't put the book down! The plot exploded on to an ending that left me in shock and wishing for more.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone is a vivid, detailed novel of another world that will delight fans who enjoy forbidden love, magic, and the unraveling of centuries old secrets. Laini Taylor has written a wonderful novel - just make sure you stick through the slow spots during the world building because the ending will not leave you disappointed!