Friday, June 14, 2013

Daughter of Smoke and Bone

by Laini Taylor
published: Little Brown and Company, 2011
pages: 418

Karou lives in a world where her fake grandmother registers her for school, she goes on strange errands for her guardian, Brimstone, and she can acquire languages from wishes.  She is confident in what she knows, but when Karou ventures to find the answer to the question she's always asked herself: Who am I?, things begin to unravel into a dangerous mess.  What she's about to find out will not only change her life but also push her head first into a world in the crux of crisis.

There are books that people talk about nonstop, that make your desire to read them intensify, that promise a great and stunning book.  These books can, and often do fall short of their praise.  But sometimes the books live up to and exceed all expectations.

Unfortunately for me, this book falls into the category of too highly anticipated.  It is sad to say that I did not enjoy this book as much as I thought I would, given everything wonderful that I've heard about it.  My biggest issue with this book was the pacing.  For whatever reason, I had a hard time keeping interested in the book.  There are definitely periods of time where I could not stop reading, but there were also sections of the book that I thought about skipping because it was taking so long to get through them.

This however, does not mean I didn't notice how the masterful writing was both haunting and humorous.  The banter between characters and the descriptions of every creature were magnificent.  I could plainly see everyone in with their distinct characteristics.  Characterization was insanely good in this novel and the development of each character was purposeful and powerful.

I did like the idea that Karou was an artist and the things she drew in her sketchbooks were her reality, but others thought they were part of her imagination.  I thought that was extremely clever and it also made me think about what I've just assumed was someone's imagination in the past, whether it was story lines or drawings.  The idea that someone could be drawing a truth that I don't acknowledge is really intriguing.

Also, this was kind of like Romeo and Juliet with a paranormal twist to it, and unlike many adaptations, this ended with enough gusto that it couldn't have been predicted.  (Well, I guess it could have, but I didn't predict it.)

Laini Taylor has beautiful writing that alone makes me want to continue reading Karou and Akiva's story.  I am sure I will pick up the sequel in the near future.

Stars: 3.5/5


"A masterful mix of reality and fantasy."
     --Publishers Weekly, starred review

"A breath-catching romantic fantasy about destiny, hope and the search for one's true self."
     --The New York Times Book Reveiw

"...the author crafts a fierce heroine with bright-blue hair, tattoos, martial skills, a growing attachment to a preternaturally hunky but not entirely sane warrior and, in episodes to come, an army of killer angels to confront.  Rarely does a series kick off so deliciously."
     --Kirkus, starred review

This is an Eclectic Reader 2013 Challenge Book!

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