Thursday, 16 February 2012
Book Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone
I closed 2011 with this book and it was the perfect way to end the year because books don't get much better than this.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone is an utterly gorgeous read that immediately drew me into it's world and left me absolutely desperate for book two.
The writing is beautiful. I wanted to pull the words free of the page and wrap them around me. It felt like every sentence was something I wanted to remember, or read out loud, because they were just that lovely. Laini Taylor's writing is superb, not only is it gorgeous, my goodness does she have you flipping the pages like crazy to find out what happens next.
We start with Karou, a young art student in Prague, who has blue hair, knows an amazing amount of languages, can kick some serious ass in a fight, and whose family consists are three demons who barter teeth for wishes, and who send her on errands around the world, through magical doorways.
Karou is one of my favourite heroines. A girl I'd like to be (she can pull off blue hair!), but also the girl I'd like to be friends with, she was continually making me laugh. Her many gifts and abilities are balanced out by her longing to know who she really is. I loved her from the first page, and I was utterly enchanted by her story.
The world building is fabulous, I can totally believe that they're doorways somewhere in the world that open into other places, if they're opened from the inside rather than the outside. I loved that wishes have different levels. From the tiny wishes Karou is allowed (and which she uses to get revenge on an ex in a rather fabulous and very funny opening scene) to the huge wishes that grant amazing powers. The magic of wishes is always balanced out though, by the whisper, that turns into a scream as the book progresses, that magic must be paid for.
The first half of this book is incredible. One of the most wonderful reading experiences I have had. I loved the setting (I need to go to Prague). I loved the characters, grouchy Brimstone, the wishmonger and Karou's father figure, Issa guardian of the threshold and half snake, and Zuzana, Karou's human friend who is oblivious to her other life. I loved how the threat to the magically world was balanced and contrasted by everyday concerns in the our world.
About half way I did have a moment of panic, because I suddenly saw where the plot was heading and it was not in a direction I cared for. I should have trusted Laini Taylor though because I ended up really enjoying the second half of the book. It wasn't quite the love affair I had with the first half, but the ending, which is the best kind of cliffhanger, more than made up for it.
I highly recommend this one, gorgeous writing, brilliant characters and a wonderful original world. In fact I'd be willing to trade teeth for Book 2 Days of Blood and Starlight.