Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone 1) – Laini Taylor
Published by Hodder
4.5 out of 5 stars
Format: Kindle book (Also available in paperback and audiobook)
There are books that are hyped up, that may be good but not great, but a fantastic marketing scheme brings them to be talked about everywhere *cough*twilight*cough*. There are books that are ignored by the masses that break your heart, there are those that you bring into your world when your not reading them, those that make you switch off to the outside world and devour them in one go, and of course those that don’t really do anything for you at all.
Then there’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone.
A book thats got a steady stream of recommendations, that I wouldn’t be surprised to see being made into a movie soon, and a book that I was reluctant to read because of this.
I should have read it sooner, Daughter of Smoke and Bone is a book that does all of the good things in that list, and more. The storytelling abilities of Taylor are second to none, and the book makes your heart sing. Then it breaks that heart into a thousand pieces. In a good way. Its been a long time since I’ve found a book that I think about when I’m not reading it, that I can’t wait to get back to, one that I don’t want to end.
The plot is difficult to explain, especially without making it sound completely rubbish – as I found out when telling my mum she has to read it. So….here goes.
Karou (it means hope – thats important, don’t forget it!) is a blue haired (AWSOME – i note that Taylor has pink hair, I love her :D), tattooed teen (also awesome, for once the tattooed is not the edgy, snarky girl, but the lead), attending art school in Prague. Karou draws beautifully and her drawings are infamous around the school, they tell the story of a group of four Chimera, led by the terrifying yet some how heart warming Brimstone – who trades in wishes, exchanging them for teeth (of any variety – human, animal etc). But Karou’s drawings are not fantasy, she was raised by the very monsters she draws, and she’s now their errand girl in the human world. Karou doesn’t know what Brimstone does with the teeth, he won’t tell her, nor does she know why she has two palm tattoos – that have been there for as long as she can remember.
Karou balances Brimstone’s world with her own, but when black hand prints start appearing on the portal doors (the entrances to Brimstones store), and Karou is attacked on an errand, she makes a grave mistake and is thrown out of the world she loves. It is only then that Karou can start to understand the real story behind her strange upbringing, the history of the Chimera and the war she’s apart of. We also meet her best friend Zuzana who is in my opinion one of the best ‘best friend’ characters I’ve read in a long time. Zuzana is the one thing that keeps Karou human in the story, with out her, Karou would be too perfect, too wonderful, but Zuzanna’s character is a great addition to the subplots that go on.
Character development is the key word in this story, everyone starts out in once place, and ends in another, some just build upon what they are, others change in the readers expectations completely. The reader wants to love Brimstone but how can you love a monster? How can Karou love him when he’s nothing but dismissive of her?
I cannot express the love for this book, and its not because is a fantasy story, nor is it the magical element, I think its the writing, Taylor takes the reader on a journey (cliche’d I know) and I think that she would be able to bring that magic into any story, contemporary or fantasy. The ending is not what I was expecting, and sets up the magic for the next book, but I felt a little deflated (only a little) hence 4.5 stars, it was almost as if there could of been a chapter extra to finalize a few things in book 1. But as criticisms go its minor. I’d also like to see more of Kaz, another great character who adds depth to Karou’s world. I cannot wait to get stuck into book 2!