by Laini Taylor
Publication Date: 27 September 2011 (US)
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (UK)
Format: UK Paperback; thanks to SA distributor.
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?|Goodreads|
It is rare to come across a book that has all the elements of a fantastic Young Adult novel and that can also entertain and enthrall readers of all ages. This is one of those books. I loved Daughter of Smoke and Bone from the minute I picked it up. It is a very unique story and with its mix of paranormal with a twist of fantasy and a dash of passionate romance it will leave you not only wanting, but begging for more.
The story centers around the main character, Karou who has grown up in both the human world and the mythical world of 'Elsewhere', as her "adoptive" father calls it. When the comfort of Elsewhere is suddenly snatched away from her, Karou comes into contact with the foreboding angel Akiva, and together they piece together the mystery that surrounds her and her true identity.
Karou has to be one of my favorite main characters of the year. I loved that she was very independent and quite feisty. Although she is about 17/18 years old she never once acted like it and that makes a very welcome change in the YA genre, in my opinion. She always came across as much older and I liked reading from a point of view that was mature and sensible.
Brimstone, her father for all intense and purposes, was also a character I enjoyed reading about. He was comical but in a serious way (if that actually makes any sense) and I loved his cryptic way of speaking. I found Akiva, the angel in the story, to be very conflicted which becomes understandable as the story progresses. He is everything a reader wants in a YA book and definitely encompasses the whole brooding, attractive, self loathing character that makes a YA book so addictive. I really enjoyed having him around in the book. Zuzana, Karou's best friend, added some rather hysterical sarcasm and I really hope to see her in the next installment.
I loved the fact that the story was set in Prague because it made a wonderful change to read about such a beautiful city. I think it also added to the story as Prague is such a mystical and timeless place, it added that extra 'wow' factor to the story.
This story has romance verging on epic proportions and I loved every bit of it! The constant tension between Akiva and Karou is so thrilling to read about, and the the way the pieces all fit together at the end (sorry but no spoilers here) just had me sitting on the edge of my seat! I cant wait to see what happens next.
The book was fast paced but it wasn't too rushed. Important scenes were given time to expand sufficiently and I never felt like the story was grinding to a halt. It was a relativity easy read.
I also have to mention how beautifully this book is written! It was such a pleasure to read. I wish I could get my copy signed because this book is definitely one of my prized books on my shelf.
If you haven't yet read Daughter of Smoke and Bone I highly recommend that you beg, borrow or buy a copy because it is truly one of kind. The characters are well developed, the story is amazing and the cover (both US and UK) is just so pretty! But in all seriousness, this book is a work of stunning imagination and I enjoyed every bit of it.