Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke & Bone

Author:Laini Taylor
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
Date: September 27th, 2011
Series: Daughter of Smoke & Bone #1
Pages: 420
Genre: YA- Fantasy, Romance
Source: Provided by publisher (ALA)

From Goodreads:
Around the world, black hand prints 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 otherworldly 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?

Karou had a most unusual upbringing. Unbeknownst to the human world in which she lives, she is the foster daughter of a fantastical family of creatures known as the Chimera. Since she was a little girl, she has spent a large portion of her life in the Chimera's workshop, a place that exists just between their world and our own. It is in this worship, with its jars and shelves filled with teeth from just about any animal imaginable (yes, even that one) that all of Karou's wishes come true. Literally. Frequently the Chimera call on their foster daughter to perform duties within the human world that are beyond their reach and they pay her in wishes. Mostly small, harmless little wishes, as big wishes cost more than most can humanly afford, but wishes none the less. And while a wish can take a girl far in the mundane world, they can't give Karou everything. They can't tell her who she is, or give her back her past.

This story and I have had a rather rocky romance. It was love at first sight and perfection for most of the first half of the book. Then it was as if the three month grace period was over and the book started to scratch its butt in public and do other things that had me believing that it wasn't as wonderful as I first thought it was. The transition from Karou's present to her past was the hardest thing for me to get through. There were some cliche YA elements at work that made me groan as I thought the approach was beneath Taylor's ability as a storyteller (it's a bit of a spoiler so I won't go into detail...email me and we can chat.) But it was love that brought me that far and it was love that got me through it and I'm so happy that I did because the story as a whole turned out to be absolutely remarkable. So much imagination! So much wonder! Oh to spend a day inside Miz Taylor's brain and see in a world what she see can. I was so firmly entangled in Karou and Madrigal's worlds that the story was over before I was ready to give it up.

The story goes in so many directions, and while I wasn't a fan of some of them, the overall effect was unreal. What she created with Madrigal and Akiva, the chimera's world, the workshop that deals in teeth, it's all so unbelievably fantastic and for the reader, very much alive. I'm truly and utterly amazed.

The detail! I mean, Taylor paints her world on each page with bold, vibrant colors, heavy and thick with textures you just want to run your fingers over so that you can feel the story. I can forgive the plot faux pas and I'll just blame it on the genre. I feel confident that Taylor could write anything she wanted to and I'm looking forward to seeing her break out of the box.

This is another one of those books that has more bent corners than straight ones. I've marked whole passages, page after page of awesome so that I can go back and visit my favorite parts. Rumor is we'll get an as yet untitled sequel sometime next year. If anyone has any gossip about the sequel you can tell me....I can keep a secret. Promise.

Oh plus five hundred million points for using the word "susurrous."

     Unearthly, the wail rose, wavering and violent, to break like a wave and become language--susurrous, without hard consonants. The modulations suggested words, but the language was alien even to Karou, who had more than twenty in her collection. She turned, seeing as she did that the people around her were turning, too, craning their necks, and that their expressions of alarm were turning to horror when they perceived the source of the sound.
     The she saw it, too.
     The thing on Izil's back was invisible no more.

*Quote taken from an ARC of Daughter of Smoke & Bone and may differ in the finished copy.

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