Laini Taylor has wrapped me up in her spell, made me fall in love, and then crushed me between her deft fingers in a single novel. Daughter of Smoke and Bone is one of the most amazing books I’ve read not just this year, but of all time. It is the tale of Karou, a young woman attempting to discover who she is as she attends art school in Prague.
Karou’s hair naturally grows blue, she is covered in various tattoos and she can make tiny wishes come true. She was raised by some pretty creepy creatures—some might even call them demons or devils—but she has no idea who she was, where she came from, and who her parents were. When Karou meets an angel one day, her entire world is spun upside-down—and I am telling you, it’s not what you think.
Sure, there’s romance—but Taylor’s story is more of an adventure, a sweeping epic of battle and good versus evil (or is it?) and most of all, the absolutely unexpected. Readers are given clues, but these clues are purposefully vague and I, for one, could not manage to decipher them and was blown away by where the story goes—and ends.
The story became so out of left field for a while—told in past tense rather than the rest of the story, which is present—that I did grow antsy, willing it to hurry up and divulge its secrets; but that delicious red herring, that skillful winding of tales of love, war, and betrayal, takes time. Once you unwrap the package, of course, it’s so worth it—and so unlike anything you’d ever expected.
Karou is also one of those heroines I love—fierce and feminine, an artist who can take care of herself with a knife but still has plenty of vulnerability without being fragile. Her best friend is also fun—and another female, which is nice, given how little media places emphasis on female relationships unrelated to males.
The writing itself is exceptional as well, with rich descriptions and spot-on dialogue. It’s one of those books that’s just sheer joy to read—no annoyances, no eye-rolling; just gripping adventure all the way through, the way I like it. The book’s sequel, Days of Blood and Starlight, is now in circulation and I cannot wait to read it! I only have to wait in line behind four others at the library who had the foresight to book it before I did…