I wanted to get my hands on Daughter of Smoke and Bone from the first time I laid eyes on its beautiful cover. Early reviews were raves and although sometimes you can't believe the hype, in the case of Daughter of Smoke and Bone, the accolades are completely justified.
The Scoop: (Goodreads)
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?
Where. Do. I. Start? WOW. I might need to dust off my Webster's Thesaurus to keep from repeating words like: amazing, beautiful, heartbreaking and fabulous! In the past year, I have read my fair share of paranormal YA. While I truly enjoyed the majority of these books and many were very good, I realized they weren't knock-your-socks-off-page-turning-great after reading Daughter of Smoke and Bone and had a reference for comparison. This book is the one I have been looking for all year.
|I knew I'd find you in this pile someday, you perfect little book, you...|
Reading Taylor's novel is like finding a rare jewel in a box of costume jewelry or eating an expensive truffle when you had been doing just fine with peanut M&M's. I had forgotten what it was like to read a book without the background noise in my head of an always-running commentary or criticism. I was completely immersed and although I might say this many times (really in hyperbole), I really didn't want to put it down.
|Sometimes you forget what amazing food tastes like after a steady diet of this. It will keep you alive and tastes ok, but a Godiva truffle, you are not...|
So, as you read in the blurb, the setup is that Karou is living between two worlds, has blue hair and teeth play a major role in the story. I really hesitate to talk about much of the nuts and bolts of the plot in fear of giving too much away. Daughter of Smoke and Bone, at it's heart, is a mystery. We discover, right along with Karou, the intricacies of the "other" world and details of Karou herself, her past and her role in the future. Each tidbit is lovingly and brilliantly doled out by Taylor. After any secret was revealed, I found myself flipping back to previous chapters to reread the hints and foreshadowing that led up to it
|Katy, you're cool, but you can't kick butt like Karou. Or can you....|
The love story between Karou and Akiva was flawlessly executed. You know I'm not a big fan of the inexplicably DT's (Drawn Togethers). I feel, in many books, they are a lazy way to force two love interests together. However in DSB, it works. And with Taylor's precise plotting and detailed world-building, "lazy" is certainly an adjective I would never apply to her.
|These guys are another great excution of the Drawn Together phenomenon. Pay attention, YA writers!|
Karou and Akiva discover their paths together with minimal amounts of sappiness and maximums amounts of heartbreak. The secondary characters (human and not-so-much human) are alternatively funny and touching and they add depth to the book rather than just being plunked there for comic relief or exposition.
|When I thought Angel+Sexy it only equalled one thing. Until Akiva...|
I, also, usually hate cliffhangers, but DSB at least neatly wrapped up its Act I and did not end in the middle of a scene or without the main mystery of the book being resolved. There are more questions to be answered, absolutely, but enough was revealed that I didn't feel cheated.
I could go on and on about this book, but overall, I would recommend Daughter of Smoke and Bone not just to fans of traditional paranormal YA, but fans of reading, period.