Author: Laini Taylor
Publication Date: September 27, 2011
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance
Source: Bought It
Book Description from Goodreads:
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?
Mysterious Karou lives a double life that borders on the impossible. On one hand she's a normal teenager that takes in the simple pleasures of life in Prague - attending art school, eating in café's with her best friend Zuzana and trying to get over her recent heartbreak. But by night she turns away from all that to slip into the dark world of supernatural creatures to do their bidding, which takes her around the world and smack dab into danger.
If that striking blue feathered mask on the cover doesn't catch your attention, the intrigue in the synopsis will. This is one of those books where the cover isn't just purely for aesthetics - it's a part of the story, you'll just have to read to find out how though.
The book starts by introducing us to the very snappy Karou and taking us through the basics of her normal life: her recent breakup, and her art. In this beginning she seemed like any other teenager, and when she shows her art book filled with all these fantastical creatures I really had a hard time believing that any of them might be real. I was as fooled as her closest friends. But it isn't until her ex shows up, and she starts taking us on a crash course of her younger years that were riddled with magic and creatures known as chimaera that I started believing in this fantastical world.
Karou is definitely a strong character, she's been taught to be self reliant, she can defend herself and she's clever. She's also got a few little tricks up her sleeve that put power behind the phrase "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned". But she's also been irritatingly content with not asking about her past and it isn't until a chance encounter with the striking Akiva that unravels her life, that makes her start digging.
Starcrossed lovers seem to be a big theme recently, there's just something about a love that transcends time itself that captivates an audience. Daughter of Smoke and Bone follows the usual formula of love and loss, but it was still an amazing journey to find out what the story behind it all was.
This is one of those books where it's impossible to speed read through it. Trust me, I tried and my brain would just get tangled up in the descriptively poetic and languidly phrased sentences that Taylor crafts, or I'd completely miss a crucial plot point buried in the descriptions. It's a book that needs to be slowly appreciated for all the meticulous details that go into describing Prague and all the locales Karou visits. Taylor's world building is top notch and makes the book come to life, I could definitely feel the hustle and bustle of a Marrakesh market or the unique décor of Karou's favourite haunt.
Taylor takes us on a whirlwind adventure of self discovery that takes the reader into this incredible fantasy world that focuses on the old theme of the war between Angels and Demons. I loved the huge reveal at the end and that it connected to the hints Taylor dropped throughout the beginning of the book. But the ending left me a bit stunned by suddenly dropping the biggest part of the story and leaving it to drift in the wind in order to build suspense for the next novel.
Overall: 4/5 Cups of Hot Tea!
I enjoyed the book overall, the world building was incredible - but like Michele @ Just A Lil' Lost mentioned, the plot does tend to get lost in between. Nonetheless I think I will be snatching up the sequel Days of Blood and Starlight when it comes out this November.