Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Release Date: September 27, 2011
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Parental Warnings: none
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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 otherworldly 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?
Karou can disarm anybody's suspicion with a wry smile and she has perfected the art of fake sarcasm. People don't believe her when she tells them things straight out, and she relies on this fact. Nobody knows that her bright blue hair isn't dyed, that her tattoos are perfectly natural. Nobody knows that the creatures in her sketchbook, the characters going about their daily lives, are real.The truth? She collects teeth for the creature who raised her - a chimaera named Brimstone - and the other chimaera at his shop. She doesn't know why he needs them, or what he does with them, but all she knows is that they're important and she gets wishes in exchange. With the wishes, she wished her hair blue, more tattoos, the removal of tattoos, and more. All were petty wishes, and she wished that she could have bigger wishes given to her.As Karou keeps balancing errands for Brimstone and art school, something strange starts happening: the beginning of the end. All around the world, black handprints are appearing in doorways, and nobody knows where they have come from. Vague images are glimpsed; people are simply curious.Until one day, when the doorways go up in flames. The last link with the world of the chimaeras, severed. Karou promised Brimstone that she would never lead, and she is determined to make sure that she saves them all.Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God. Wow. I am nearly rendered incoherent from the pure amazingness that is this book. It's one of those amazing, unique books that you wish that you had written. It has action, romance, exotic settings. There's magic, angels, devils, war.First of all, let's start out with location. Most books just take place in any old place, but this book took place in Prague. To me, I had never really thought of going to Prague, but this book used rich description to make it seem incredibly appealing. Karou traveled everywhere, and Laini Taylor described everything. This book gave me the travel bug.This book is one of those that a review cannot even begin to do justice. To understand what the rest of us are raving about, you simply need to read the book! My eyes were GLUED to the pages for a marathon-sitting.This was almost high fantasy. There was incredible cultures in there, obviously well-researched and well developed.Karou was feral and lovely at the same time. Her personality was intense and bright and I really loved reading about her. She is possibly one of the best heroines of the year for me. She had an edge and was that type of confident that I wish I could be. She also had a talent for making people believe things with a smile.This book wouldn't have been the same without Karou. One of the main elements of the book was finding out who Karou was. Her history was one of the mysteries of the book, and it was tangled within many of the other plotlines. Everything was so intricately twisted together, and I loved it.A lot of people have been getting really tired of the "angels and demons" trend. They say it's exhausted. There seem to be a large amount of girl-caught-between-angel-and-demon and fighting for your soul. I was starting to agree but this book flipped me again. Laini Taylor took a wrung-out topic and created a fresh outlook on a classic storyline and made it amazing.There were lots of incredibly diverse characters that made the book so much fun to read. There were fallen angels, chimaeras, angels, art students, ex-boyfriends, old men, and many other people that only added to the storyline. I find that in most books with a lot of characters, I have trouble distinguishing between several of them, but each character in Daughter of Smoke and Bone was so distinct and added so much personality that I could instantly remember them.The action in this book was remarkable. There was violence, blood, heart-stopping twists, grief, and everything that you expect in a book about war. Laini Taylor somehow made it so that everything seemed primal and raw, but there was an elegant edge to everything in the war.The romance in this book was well written. Karou and Akiva's romance was starcrossed, and they constantly had to overcome obstacles. Their relationship was about history and war and angels and devils. They protected each other, and discovered things about each other that made them doubt everything. Never have I read a romance so suspenseful. Normally the romance in books like this are a background subject, but the romance in this was actually important and not in an only-true-love-can-save-us kind of way. Impeccable.The thing about a book like this is that it's one of those ideas that you curse yourself for not thinking of. Once you read it, you realize that the answer was right in front of you. You're like, "Why couldn't I have written this book? It's amazing!" One of those completely new ideas that makes you think about the world in a different way. You know, like Harry Potter or The Hunger Games. The ending KILLED me. I can't tell you; you're just going to have to read it for yourself to even find out a degree of my agony. It was TOO GOOD. I hardly ever complain about a book being too good, but the ending was too darn amazing that I nearly cried when it was over. I never wanted this book to end.No matter who you are or what types of books you like to read, you must read this book. I mean it; go to the store, borrow it from a friend, steal it, beg on the streets for enough money to buy a copy. No matter what, you have to read this. Somehow. This is one of the cleverest, most evocative, most engrossing books that I have ever read.Recommended for anybody who loves: Eyes Like Stars; The Hunger Games; Divergent; amazing books; Angels and Demons; Personal Demons; Hunger; Graceling; etc,.Book club questions to come later. It's too epic to analyze it for now :)