Daughter of Smoke and Bone b Laini Taylor
Release: September 27, 2011
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 grows 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?
Left and right, people have been singing the praises of Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone.
And it saddens me to say that I cannot join this massive choir.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone is the story of a blue-haried girl named Karou. My first impression? This girl is pretty cool! She's an art student who is more than what she seems. Most people find her eccentric. Most people just smile at the wild stories she illustrates--stories that depict magical creatures and a shop run by Brimstone. His trade? Wishes. And the currency? Teeth?
What people don't know, though, is that these illustrated stories are real.
Karou lives a double life. A part of her life is spent roaming the streets of Prague, drawing and trying to escape her crazy ex-boyfrend. The other part of her life is spent traveling through doors that transport her from one end of the world to the other. She collects teeth for Brimestone. Karou has no clue what the teeth are used for, only that they are used for pay for wishes.
I will say this about Daughter of Smoke and Bone: it is impressively imaginative. The world of Prauge and Brimstone's shop is so vivid and magical! The book was off to a very good start with a unique protagonist, lyrical prose, and a world that managed to quickly suck me in.
Then Akiva makes his appearance and drains the book of all its initial charm.
Yes, this book is about star crossed lovers. Akiva is an angel and Karou is a human. I can handle this cliche, but I cannot handle the insta-love. Ladies and gentlemen, be aware before reading, that this book contains a guy and a girl who are "inexplicably drawn to each other" and call it love. Sometimes, insta-love can be forgiven if the chemistry between two characters is tangible, steamy, and even entertaining. Karou and Avkia's relationship is stale. To be fair, there is a reason behind the two being drawn to each other. It just does't present itself until the last third of the book.
Which leads me to another grip I had...
All the flashbacks.
I understand the need for occasional flashbacks, but almost half of this book is filled with flashbacks that serve little purpose. I take that back. They do have a purpose, but the execution was poorly done because I felt as if it was merely used as a plot device. A very long and drawn out plot device...
I really wanted to love this book. I really did. Unfortunately, it fell short of my expectations. Laini does have quite a way with words and there's no doubt that she is gifted with imagination. For those reasons alone, I am willing to give the sequel a try. I'm just not jumping up and down for it, even after the CRAZY ending.
RATING: 2.5 SLICES