Friday, May 11, 2012

Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor


Title: Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone Series
Book #: One
Author: Laini Taylor
Release Date: September 27, 2011
Source: Bought 
Format: Hardcover 
My Rating:  
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? (taken from goodreads.com)
This book has been worshiped around the blogosphere. Seriously, it's been a while since I saw a book with so much hype. After reading countless five star reviews across the boards, I knew I'd have to give this debut a chance. 

Upon reading the first few chapters, my intelligent first thought was "whaaaaat...?" The story starts out confusing, but the intriguing mystery hooked my interest immediately. Things only get stranger as the story progresses, but to be honest, I loved it. The vivid, whimsical, and slightly creepy creatures of Taylor's fascinating world captured my imagination. The author truly has a talent for weaving an original tale. Once I finally had a chance to sit down and dive into the story, I couldn't put the book down. Thankfully, Taylor explains everything, and the story unravels beautifully.

Karou's quirky yet fiery personality both drew me to her and kept me at a distance. She's relatable in her insecurities and teenage girl qualities, but she possesses an other-worldliness that is slightly intimidating. Just who is this girl with blue hair and striking tattoos? Akiva is equally captivating and all around swoon-worthy. His tragic back story and deep secrets had me reading late into the night, as did Karou's incredible family of chimaeras. 

Taylor definitely deserves kudos for dreaming up such a ridiculously original plot. Sure, she borrowed from the whole Romeo and Juliet plotline, but Karou's world is unlike anything I've stumbled upon before. I'm dying to know more about seraphs and the chimaera. Hopefully the sequel will dive even deeper into Eretz.

So, you ask, why did I only award Daughter of Smoke and Bone four hearts? I had two main problems: First of all, I'm very critical of the romances I read. Akiva and Karou's passion seemed a tiny bit too insta-love for me. Judge me all you want, but I like a little more relationship development, not just a sudden, all-encompasing true love. Also, this book is out there. I don't want to spoil anything for those of you who haven't read it, but trust me, it gets weird. Part of me loved the strange creatures and traditions, but I also couldn't wrap my head around certain aspects of the story. That's just me, though. 

Overall, Daughter of Smoke and Bone is a wonderfully successful debut. Filled with unique creatures and characters, as well an addicting plot, it has easily captured the hearts and minds of many young adult readers. While I'm not head over heels like some, I'm definitely anxious to get my hands on the sequel. If you haven't hopped on the bandwagon yet, then I suggest you do so. Now.