Friday, October 14, 2011

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

 Summary (courtesy of 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?

And here's what I thought:   You've probably seen loads of review of this book around the blogosphere, like this one at Fiction Folio, Starmetal Oak, and even Entertainment Weekly.    So, I'm not going to write a long review of this book.   However, what I will say is this:

Fantastical and disturbing.  Wonderful and awful.  Heart-breaking.   Stunning.  Beautiful. 

I fell in love with this book as soon as I started the first page, right before the real first page, which reads "Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love.  It did not end well."     Laini Taylor weaves us into a world filled with wonderful things and awful things, sometimes all in the same place.   Karou is a beguiling character; we learn bits about her as she learns about herself, so we're taken through the story as she is.   I found myself wandering wide-eyed through this book, savoring all the imaginative detail (and wanting to re-read it as soon as I had finished it).   I also found I wanted to book a trip to Prague (but that might not be the reaction everyone has).   The fact that this book contains one of my favorite words, and things: chimarae; so extra, extra bonus points there.   Teeth and tattoos get more points.

That's all I'm going to say.  Other people have penned reviews, and I don't think I can do better.  What I will tell you is this:  I've already added this to my Christmas list and I'll get it for myself, if necessary, just to have a copy of my own.     If you get a chance, check out the author's blog, where you can learn about her, and her stories.

First sentences: Walking to school over the snow-muffled cobbles, Karou had no sinister premonitions about the day.  It seemed like just another Monday, innocent but for its essential Mondayness, not to mention its Januaryness.  It was cold, and it was dark - in the dead of winter the sun didn't rise until eight - but it was also lovely.  The falling snow and the early hour conspired to paint Prague ghostly, like a tintype photograph, all silver and haze.

Thoughts on the cover:   Definitely makes you want to pick up the book -- I like that it captures the mystery of the story, as well.   


Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Oh, I'm so glad you fell in love with it. So did I. Total enchantment.

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