Thursday, August 30, 2012

Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1)
By Laini Taylor
Published: September 27, 2011
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Paperback, 448 pages

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 otherwordly 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? --

4 stars


What drew me in to read this book was probably its cover. The shocking blue mask against the black and white picture of the person is just so memorable. Yes, I am one who judges his/her interest of picking up a book based off of the front cover. What can I say? It just looked cool, darn it.

I think this may have been the first YA books that I've read that takes place in Prague with characters that speak Czech. You'd think there'd be more YA books that have characters that speak Czech....actually, there probably are a lot more, and I just haven't looked hard enough. The descriptions of the scenery were nice -- you know, descriptive enough so you know where the characters are, but not to the extent where adjectives fill up a whole entire page. Check plus for the scenery.

So, onward to the characters! I quite liked Karou's character and her best friend, Zuzana. I think it was Zuzana's snarky, yet hilarious commentary and her boisterous personality was enough to keep me going. Now that I think about it, Zuzana is probably my favorite character. I liked Karou because, to be put simply, she's a girl trying to find out about her past, and herself in general. She's an artist, a dreamer, and is just like any other ordinary girl with bright blue hair. Most characters were very likeable. Check for characters.

Although I thought Karou and Akiva (the heart-stealing-sexy-angel-love-interest-of-Karou-slash-Madrigal) would make a nice couple (*siren* WEEOOOWEEOOO , SPOILER that you could already predict from reading the summary off of GoodReads), I thought that there was something cliché  about their relationship. Too stereotypical for a relationship of a YA novel for me to deal with. Like, if Bella's and Edward's (cite from Twilight) relationship is a sparkly sticker, then Karou's and Akiva's relationship would be the Sun -- so sparkly it blinds the hell out of your face, let alone your eyes. I dunno, maybe it's just me, but I felt their interactions were too superficial. (Except for the part where they can't really be together since their relationship is technically forbidden...) Personally, I've had enough of that crap about "soul mates" and falling in love in a past life and whatnot.

Another disappointment for me about their relationship would have to be that their relationship progresed waaaaay too fast to be normal. Probably about after 3 times Karou meets him (mind you, all being times where Adrian tries to kill her), Karou unexplicably feels herself being "drawn" to him, so she decides to help him out. What moron would do something so idiotic? If there was some psycho chasing after me going for the kill, I would hit the road running as soon as I could a whiff of that dude, let alone HELP him. Soooo, check minus for Karou's romantic relationships.

The writing style was very fluid, smooth, and consistent. It wasn't awkward at all, and things moved at a pretty even, appropriate pace. The tone and feel of the book was very fantasy-ish, which is good, since this happens to be about an angel and a demon. :)

Overall, I felt that this book was very likeable, but was lacking in something--which, specifically, I know naught. I think it might be that it was too far from reality for me. But this story is definitely worth picking up. I really liked this book, so I sort of critiqued it quite strictly. I'm sure many other reviewers would easily give this badboy a 5. Pick this one up, I'm sure you'll like it as much as I did.

Purchase Daughter of Smoke and Bone at: Amazon/ Barnes&Noble/ The Book Depository

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