Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Errand requiring immediate attention. Come. The note was on vellum, pierced by the talon of the almost-crow that delivered it. Karou read the message. 'He never says please,' she sighed, but she gathered up her things. When Brimstone called, she always came.
In general, Karou has managed to keep her two lives in balance. On the one hand, she's a seventeen-year-old art student in Prague; on the other, errand-girl to a monstrous creature who is the closest thing she has to a family. Raised half in our world, half in 'Elsewhere', she has never understood Brimstone's dark work - buying teeth from hunters and murderers - nor how she came into his keeping. She is a secret even to herself, plagued by the sensation that she isn't whole.
Now the doors to Elsewhere are closing, and Karou must choose between the safety of her human life and the dangers of a war-ravaged world that may hold the answers she has always sought.
My Review *Spoilers*
"Once upon a time, an angel and a demon fell in love. It did not end well."
I absolutely loved The Daughter of Smoke and Bone! It’s such an amazing story and Laini Taylor does her best to keep everything from the reader until the very last minute. The story is set in beautiful, beautiful, Prague, where Karou lives. Karou is not your average 17 year old; she has her quirks such as unusual eye tattoos on her palms, blue hair, a narcissistic ex (Stupid ex), an awesome best friend and an odd job where she collects teeth for Brimstone, her otherworldly guardian.
Oh, did I mention that Brimstone is some sort of demon thing called a Chimaera, and his workshop is in a place called Elsewhere which has a door that can open anywhere in the world? Very Howl’s Moving Castle - loved it. There is also another door in Brimstone’s workshop and Karou, with her healthy curiosity, is determined to find out about the secret of the door. For her unusual occupation, Karou gets paid in wishes, each holding a different level of power.
The problem with Karou is that she’s lonely and has this emptiness inside her that can’t be filled. I thought it was pretty deep for a 17 year old, but it all makes sense in the end. There is also this super-hot seraph angel guy, Akiva, who is Karou’s love interest, but there is so much more to it than that. Much, much more. When I found out why the book was called Daughter of Smoke and Bone, it gave me shivers.
What Worked: The fantasy world that Laini Taylor created is amazing, and the bits of jargon that go with it are so interesting, especially with the wishes - I loved that. I loved Karou, just loved her. She’s mysterious, but not in a brooding way. More like, you can’t stop turning the pages to find out more about her way. I loved the way the plot unravels. I loved the flashback from Madrigal’s POV and my last thought, as I shut the book, was how amazing Brimstone was.
What Didn’t Work: Towards the end of the book you start finding out a lot about Akiva and Madrigal. Maybe too much. You’re suddenly thrown into not one, but two completely different worlds, trying to figure out what on Eretz an Evorrain was. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the fantastical worlds, but maybe the sudden rush of information could have been toned down a bit.
Recommended: If you enjoy fantasy novels like Philip Pullman's, His Dark Materials trilogy. It also has a Howl's Moving Castle vibe to it.