Thursday, November 10, 2011

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

This isn't a real review. I'm going to post the synopsis, squee a bunch and then faint. I'm not lying about the fainting.

This is a really difficult story to summarize. If you reveal too much, it ruins the suspense and the blurb doesn't really do it justice. But blurb is what you get because I am lazy.
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?
You're thinking "Angels, bah, BORING", right? WRONG. I mean, yeah sure angels, whatever, but not like JESUS angels, more like alien species angels. So, give it a chance, ok? OK?

I've read Laini Taylor's other books and loved them (I am super pissed that Putnam has elected to not continue with the rest of the Dreamdark series; screw you, Putnam). But this book blew them all out of the water. It's romantic, mysterious, magical, melancholy, surprising, insert-complimentary-adjective-here. Every time I thought I had a handle on the story, it went all twisty. And even when I figured out the who, the why and how of it surprised me. Also, the writing itself is beautiful.

Generally, I finish one book and IMMEDIATELY start a new one, but here I had to give myself a short break so I could let the story settle in my brain. I know I'm gushing so I'll allow that I do have a couple of complaints; the third-person narration is mainly focused on Karou and Akiva but occasionally jumps to minor characters. But not consistently, so when it happens, it takes a second or two to adjust (by which point we have switched back to Karou or Akiva). Also, the pacing in the first two-thirds of the book is really spot on but drags a bit in the last third. The big reveal was wonderful and interesting, but I think the flow of the story suffered because it took so forking long.

Final Reckoning

Should you read this? YES, a million times, YES. Buy the hardcover, this is one of those books that needs to be read on paper. I borrowed my copy from the library, but I'm going to buy one this weekend (it's
Support A Small Business Saturday!). I may actually buy both the digital and physical versions, just so I can have it with me always. The only other book I've done that with is Daughter of the Forest. You should go read that too.

Buy It . Borrow It. Skip It

It's the first book in a trilogy which I'm assuming will be named "Daughter of Smoke and Bone". I have no real idea, the author's website doesn't actually say much.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Book 1 of 3 (projected)
Next Book: Who knows? It's not mentioned anywhere on the author's site
P.O.V.: Third person, past; omniscient

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