Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Publisher: Little, Brown
Publishing Date: September 2011
Genre: young adult, fantasy, romance
Around the world, black hand prints 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 grows dangerously low.
And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.
Karou, an art student in Prague, sketches beautiful creatures and monsters. Her friends think she’s imaginative, but the truth is these creatures are real. When Karou meets Akiva on one of her missions for the creatures, a sense of wholeness and terror fill her. Akiva, an angel and an enemy of Karou’s family, hopes to help Karou discover her past and her role in the never-ending war.
Usually “teen paranormal romance” is poorly written, with obvious outcomes and cliche plots. Daughter of Smoke and Bone is entirely different. I have visited Prague and thoroughly loved the city — but one does not need to have traveled there to feel like you’re walking in the streets with Karou. Taylor paints a beautiful picture of the city, and the descriptions only heighten from there. As the reader is introduced to Karou’s adoptive family, the beasts, monsters, and creatures called chimaera, the story begins to unfold and build a new world.
Drop everything you know about angels and devils. The angels are not the benevolent, holy beings of Scripture; devils are not sinful and ugly. It is all in the eye of the beholder, in this story: who are the real monsters? Taylor’s Karou, Akiva, Brimstone, Zuzana, and Madrigal may not all be human, not all angels, not all devils, but they have such deep humanity, such raw emotion, such powerful personalities, that it’s easy to see where Karou’s inner conflict builds.
The plot is addicting, the characters engaging, the world — both real and magical — stunning. I cannot wait to begin the next book!