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 beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery 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?
~ Synopsis from goodreads
I picked up Daughter of Smoke and Bone with a lot of apprehension I’m not very fond of the YA fantasy/paranormal trend that just doesn’t seem to go away and I worried that I would be starting yet another fantasy novel series without getting to its closure.
The book did not start out promising. The introduction goes:
Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love. It did not end well.
I immediately started getting flashbacks of that Twilight series, did I really want to read almost 400 pages dealing with forbidden paranormal love? I almost put the book down then, but since I didn’t have any other book on hand at the time, I thought I’d give this one a try.
And I’m so glad I did!
This book was totally awesome, and I got hooked onto it from the very first chapter.
What’s so great about the book?
This is a unique and well-written fantasy novel. I love the way Taylor unfurls the fantasy aspect of the story a little at a time, and before you know it, you are steeped in Karou’s little world. At first, the story focuses only on her, then slowly introduces a larger set of characters into the book. Oh, and did I mention the fantasy is brilliant? I love this unique world that Taylor has created.
One world is the regular world that we live in. Karou lives in Prague and attends college for art lessons. It is to Taylor’s credit as a writer, how mystical and magical she makes even the regular world sound. Prague and Marrakesh – the two regular world settings of this story are just fabulous. These sections had me desperately wishing to visit them. Although, I think the reality may not be as fabulous as her writing 😉 .
The other world is simply named Elsewhere, and since Karou doesn’t know this place, we get to see and experience it bit by bit through her eyes, which is great.
And now we come to Karou. What do I say about her? She is a great character – a tough little cookie fending off her ex-boyfriend’s advances (one of the most amusing sections in the book), and at the same time a lonely, vulnerable teenager who is torn between two worlds and two lives.
When she meets Akira, sparks fly, but nothing can happen between them until Karou finds out who she really is, and what happened to her family. This is the point at which the story stumbles slightly. The attraction between them, and their dialogues start to get corny, but thankfully, before I eye-rolled too much, the plot is deftly steered towards Akira and Karou’s pasts, and the story picks up again.
Another little nitpick I have is the rather longish flashback in the second half of the book. The flashback was enjoyable, but it got in the way of Karou’s story. I don’t have issues with the flashback itself, but I do wish the book hadn’t ended so suddenly after the flashback.
But these are pretty much my only nitpicks, and I look forward to reading the rest of the books in this trilogy.
Have you read this series? Are the other two books as good as this one?
You can also purchase a copy of this book from Amazon