Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Author: Laini Taylor. Website, Twitter
Published: 5 July 2012 (Hodder)
Book Depository: paperback
Source: Received free review copy from Waterstone's.
Plot Summary: (from Book Depository)
Errand requiring immediate attention. Come. The note was on vellum, pierced by the talons 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 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.
I entered a draw to win a copy of this from the Waterstone's Facebook page (it's a review copy so I've also posted a review on their website). I was so excited because it was a book I'd already come across and was wanting to read! I wasn't sure initially if it was YA fiction but I've seen it reviewed on a lot of other YA blogs, and the main character is a teenager so I think it appeals to that market. I'd probably class it as crossover.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone focuses on Karou, an art student living in Prague with a nuisance of an ex-boyfriend. She's grown up having to balance her studies and social life with her other life; running errands for the mysterious Brimstone who inhabits a shop the other side of a portal. Suddenly things start happening around Karou. Hand prints start appearing on portal doors and she has the fear she's being followed.
Firstly, I loved Karou. She's an absolutely fascinating character and so witty. I loved her friendship with Zuzana and the two of them had some hilarious moments that endeared me to them both. She's strong and capable, with a slightly cheeky side and her doubts about herself and who she truly is make her even more intriguing.
The plot itself is gripping, with plenty of mystery. I was kept in suspense throughout, waiting to discover what was going on. Whilst the majority of the book is written from Karou's perspective, you get glimpses from other characters which gives you more insight into the world the book takes place in.
The book is beautifully written. I adored the descriptions of Prague which is such a beautiful setting for the story. The magical and mythical elements of the story were so captivating, as well. I love books that leave me feeling wrapped up in the words and the writing.
The only thing that lead me to mark the book down a star was just the way the information was finally revealed towards the end. I would have preferred it to be done a bit differently because I felt the pace dragging a bit towards the end. Other than that, though, it's a book I would highly recommend.
If you love all things magical and mysterious, or you're a fan of angels and myths and legends then this is definitely for you. But this book has the potential to open up new worlds to readers looking to discover something a little different.
What to read next: Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor, the sequel to Daughter of Smoke and Bone.
Books like this: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare, Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick, Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare.