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Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Laini Taylor is a writer and an artist living in Portland. She has written many young adult novels including Dreamdark: Blackbringer, Dreamdark: Silksinger, and Lips Touch, which was a finalist for the 2009 National Book Award. Her most recent novel is Daughter of Smoke and Bone (published by Little, Brown), the first in a planned trilogy.

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?

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love. It did not end well.

This is a wonderful book that I will never forget reading. The story is mesmerising, and Taylor has created a beautiful world to set it in. One of my favourite things is the sense of place, the author brings her world to life so vividly it’s difficult not to get sucked in and feel as though you are experiencing it for yourself. I loved everything about this book, the characters, the setting, Taylor’s prowess at storytelling.

Karou is an extraordinary girl and I loved reading about her. She has a dark life, and doesn’t have many close friends, but she is strong, brave and stubborn. I liked her for her wilfulness – even int he depth of despair she didn’t sit around and bemoan her fate, she was always fighting to make things better. I liked Avika as well (“Oh, Hell. Must. Mate. Immediately.” – Zuzana), especially his devotion to Karou, but I wish the reader got to know him better. Hopefully the sequel will reveal more about him.

The other characters in the book are great, each with their own purpose and none pigeon holed into stereotypical roles. I think I enjoyed scenes with Zuzana the best, she is an admirable best friend with wonderful quirks of her own. I hope she features more in the following books as well. Brimstone is also exceedingly intriguing, but I haven’t been able to figure out whether I like him or not.

I picked up this book on a whim and am very glad that I did. It deserves all the praise it gets and more, and if there is one book you do not want to miss, this is it. So go on, grab yourself a copy of Daughter of Smoke and Bone and revel in its brilliance.

About the book:

  • Date published: 29 September 2011
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton Ltd
  • Format: Paperback, 432 pages
  • ISBN 13: 9781444722635  ISBN 10: 1444722638
  • Categories: Fantasy
  • Goodreads / The Book Depository

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