October 29, 2013

Review: Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor

Title: Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #1)
Author: Laini Taylor
Release Date: September 27th 2011
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Page Count: 418
Source: Purchased
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 hairactually 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 beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery 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?

[Summary Source: Goodreads]

Karou is a girl who lives in Prague and goes to an art school. Which sounds somewhat normal, until you find out the monsters she sketches aren't something out of a dream but chimaeras that make up the only family Karou knows. Now, not only are these chimaera her family, but they also send her on all kinds of errands. It's after one of these errands and a fight between her and her guardians that the portal between Earth and this chimaera world is closed off - by angels no less. Angels that are now seeking out Karou because of her connection to the chimaera. But one of these angels isn't just any angel. He's actually part of Karou's past - a past she didn't even know she had but made up the piece of her she always knew was missing. And a past that makes for a fan-freaking-tastic story.

Let's break this down:

This book is Romeo and Juliet but so much better. It's Romeo and Juliet if Romeo and Juliet hadn't been stupid teenagers who'd only known each other for 3 days and hadn't decided to just kill themselves when the going got tough. It's Romeo and Juliet if Romeo and Juliet had an after. If things were more dire. If heaven and hell were pitted again each other.

And guys? I liked Romeo and Juliet (when I didn't want to bash their heads in for being absurd). So it's safe to say I'm in love with this book.

There are honestly so many things here to love. First, there's the fact that Karou has no idea where she came from at the start of the book. I mean, she's a human, so Brimstone's not her real dad or anything. And she feels like something's missing. So there's a giant mystery built into the very foundation of this book.

Then there's the hands burnt into the doorways. What's that about? It sounds scary. Something bad is definitely about to happen but we have no idea what and it's not like anyone's really paying attention to these hands, so it's really up to Karou at the end of it all to deal with the fall out of these hand prints. Or, well, since we're working from her POV, it is. Once you find out the deal with the door and the hand prints, you're not really wanna gonna be on the other side of things.

And then there's this backstory of this book. The first couple hundred pages are all about the present and what's going on with Karou and Akiva. But the last hundred or so is all the past that leads up to Karou and Akiva where they are in present day. It's insane and tragic and you know what's going to happen once you realize the general gist of it and it totally breaks your heart. I mean, run on sentence with too many 'ands' breaks your heart. You want these two crazy kids together but everything between them is so painful and confusing and whoa.

Basically, even though the two of them seem like bizarre insta-love, but they're not. They're really not. They are tragic Romeo and Juliet with enough smolder between the two of them to set the world on fire.

And y'know what, now that I think about it, they probably will.

Oh, also, the prose and characterization are magical.

The plot's pretty sick too. I mean, this war with the angels and the chimaeras? I'm scared. Big time scared. Everything that's put into play is so warped and somehow still logical. I'm really interested to seeing how all of the different elements in this book fall together. I mean, all of the things work really nicely together now, but you know it's just going to get even better and be even more intricate as the series continues.

Basically, this whole freaking book is just magical.

And I know lots of people have already said all these things about this book (I am so one of the last fantasy lovers to hop on this fantastic series train) but I just need to reiterate how fantastic this book is. How magical this book is. How heartbreakingly, insides-killing this book is.

Really, you just need to read. So get to it.

The long and short of it?

Plot: Heartbreakingly familiar yet stunningly new and fantastic.
World Building: I clearly love the romance of this book, but the war between the angels and the chimaera's is also fantastically developed.
Character Development: Karou. Akiva. I love you both. So much. The development of both these characters in the present and also in the past flashback and then combined is so perfect I want to die a little.
Prose: Just as magical as the rest of this book.
Would I Recommend This Book?: This one is perfect for fantasy and paranormal lovers. Also, if you love a good romance or Romeo and Juliet with a fantastic twist, you should pick this one up immediately. Basically, everyone pick this one up. Right now. Experience the magic for yourself.

Have you read this one? If so, please email me immediately so we can cry about that ending. Because I'm still crying about that ending. And if you haven't read, read up so we can get to crying about that ending together, please.