Monday, March 5, 2012

Book Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Gosh! Just, gosh! This book was fantastic! I feel all gushy about it and I haven't felt this excited about a series since Hunger Games (which I started in 2008 thankyouverymuch). What can I say? I have a knack for picking amazing books. I don't really, I just have a great group of ladies I reference on the Nest Book Club. Collectively, I think we've read every book ever written.

Anyways, I was recently traveling for work (boo!) and had some time to myself for reading (hooray!). I picked up Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone on a bit of a whim really. I had heard good things and decided it was worth a go (and $10 on my Kindle). I am so, so glad I did. I was instantly captured in Karou's duel life in Prague and the mysterious world of "Elsewhere". With its amazing creatures, wishes that come true, and bizarre obsession with teeth, Daughter of Smoke and Bone was exquisitely crafted and a joy to read.

We find blue-haired Karou, a seventeen year-old art student, in Prague. She lives a normal life of sketching and gossiping over goulash with her best friend Zuzana at their favorite restaurant Poison Kitchen (charming, no?). She also leads a not so normal life as errand girl to her foster family. Not so weird? Well, her errands involve collecting teeth - animal and otherwise - for Brimstone a lion-raptor-ram hybrid (and by far my favorite character!). Karou's carefully cultivated life comes crashing down as she finds herself in the middle of an otherworldly war. We're introduced to the races of Seraphim and Chimaera and their enduring hatred of one another. A fairly obvious twist halfway through the story takes the narrative in a totally new, and enjoyable, direction.

Taylor's writing was beautiful and effortless. She made the entire scenario, as unlikely as it was, so easy to be a part of and believe in. I loved that. So often in fantasy books you have to work to achieve the level of buy-in that is necessary for the story to come off naturally and in an organic way. Taylor had this in spades. Hers was a style that makes aspiring writers like myself want to throw in the towel. You know when something is so good it forces you to take a hard, evaluating look at yourself and you inevitably come up short? Yeah, this was one of those cases.

I kid, I kid. Kind of.

My only complaint? Yet another series that I didn't know was a series until I was done with the book. Alas, at least I have something to look forward to this year!

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