Summary (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?
Review: Well, this book had been on the back of my mind since it was published. I had read a preview of about 90 pages some when in 2011 and liked the story and especially the main character, Karou, very much. At that point, I was in the midst of my final exams and so I didn’t have the time to get the book and read it.
By change, I read a post on another book blog about the second book to this series, and I realized I wanted to read both books right NOW! That’s basically what I did, I started Daughter of Smoke and Bone yesterday morning and I already finished.
The first half of the book is certainly the better one. Karou is such a special character, not knowing who or what she is but being unique all the time. Her appearance, her attitude and the love for drawing made me like her immediately. Karou has the ability to be strong and vulnerable without being whiny or otherwise overly annoying. In the second half, when most of the secret is unveiled, I was a bit disappointed. I had already guessed what she was and was silently praying it wasn’t like that. Basically, throughout the last dozen chapters, Karou doesn’t really DO anything, except for seeing visions of the history, explaining everything. While I liked the world-building and insights on seraphs and chimera, I would have preferred Karou to learn about this stuff more like One Step at a time instead of “BAM!”
The other characters are so very different and distinct that I had no problem with keeping up – I envied the friendship between Karou and Zuzana, marveled at the diversity of the chimera and tried to imagine the beauty of seraphs. Akiva is still a mystery and I look forward to unravel his full story. I can imagine him and Karou being together in the end, but so far this couple has not touched me as much as those in the Clockwork Series. (Unfortunately I know why that is – I’m shallow. Akiva does not long hair and thus I fail to fall completely and utterly in love with him…)
Laini Taylor has a lovely way of writing, colourful, humourous but also quite emotional and serious if needed. I laughed at some passages, but the series has failed to make me cry – yet. There is a lot of potential for that in the following books, I’m sure. I will postpone reading the second book in order to read a book I requested to review.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone gets a 4 out of 5 for the lovely characters and world.