- Title: Daughter of Smoke and Bone
- Author: Laini Taylor
- Category: Young Adult / Fantasy
- Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers 2011
- Pages: 418
- Awards: Audie Award for Fantasy (2012), Children’s Choice Book Award Nominee for Teen Choice Book of the Year (2012), The Inky Awards Nominee for Silver Inky (2012), Abraham Lincoln Award Nominee (2014), Andre Norton Award Nominee for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy (2011), Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Books of the Year (2011), Goodreads Choice Nominee for Favorite Book of 2011 and Best Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction (2011), YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults (Top Ten) (2012)
- My Rating: 5 Stars
Summary: 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 grows 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 hair actually 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?
My Review: I’ve just had the absolute pleasure of reading Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. Laini is heading down under for events in New Zealand and Australia, and after I was invited to a bloggers evening at Hachette Australia featuring Laini Taylor herself, I thought I’d better read her book! I’m not sure how I missed hearing about this New York Times best-selling author and her Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy but either way – thank you to Ashleigh Barton at Hachette Australia for the invite and introducing me to this amazing book. The good thing about coming into a book series late is that I don’t have to wait – I can read them all at once – which is what I’m doing right now!
Marketed as Young Adult with a 17 year old protagonist this book could be enjoyed by anyone from 13+ to adult. It really is a book for anyone who enjoys reading books with fantasy and paranormal themes. The book is essentially a love story between an angel & demon – but there is something different about this one. This book is fresh and unique and I absolutely loved it.
Karou is immediately fascinating from page 1, as is the setting of Prague, her quirky friend Zuzana and the mysterious doorway she passes through to enter Brimstone shop – the shop in Elsewhere where Karou was brought up by monsters. It can be entered from hundreds of doorways around the world and is a place where teeth are traded to Brimstone, a wishmonger and horned monster, in exchange for wishes.
Karou is tough, has tattoos and she can fight. She has a gun shot wound and scars, blue hair, and wears a necklace of wish beads she calls scuppies. She is an art student who draws images of monsters, the Chimaera, who are the closest thing she has to family. Karou is tough, but she is an orphan – she has no real family and doesn’t really belong to either world – the world of Brimstones shop, of teeth and monsters, or to the real world we live in. She yearns to ‘be held dear, to belong to a place and a family, irrevocably’.
The concept of the wishes is very cool. Wishes are like currency. ‘Like money, wishes came in denominations’ – scuppy, shing, lucknow, gavriel, and bruxis. Scuppies are the least valuable wishes, while bruxis are the most valuable. Karou is sent on errands by Brimstone to collect teeth from traders all over the world, and is paid in shings – but Karou has never found out what Brimstone uses the teeth for. She also longs to know where the dark doorway in Brimstones shop leads – it is the one doorway she has never been allowed to enter.
When fire-winged angels, the seraphim, brand their handprints on all the doorways to Brimstones shop, Karou finds herself cut off from Elsewhere and alone without her Chimaera family. When she is chased by the angel Akiva more questions arise for Karou especially when the angel sees the hamsas tattooed upon her palms. He recoils from her and asks – ‘Who are you?’ She doesnt know, but the question that really haunts her is ‘What is she?’
Daughter of Smoke and Bone is gripping – it has unworldly battles, love, loss, monsters, angels and demons and when Karou finally learns what Brimstone uses the teeth for and whats behind the dark doorway in his shop, the story that unfolds is fantastic. It was a book I just could not put down. I cant wait to read the rest of the trilogy – Days of Blood and Starlight and Dreams of Gods and Monsters.
Side note: The quirky dark streets of Prague provided a luscious eerie setting. I have to admit the setting was a huge draw card for me. I could imagine a doorway leading to Brimstones shop in the streets of Prague! I visited Prague last year and was completely amazed by this city. I got lost in those winding streets full of shops, cafes and restaurants, was a little scared once when I went for a wander on my own and was mesmerised by the architecture. I was fascinated by its dark history and horrified by its occupation first by Nazis and then Russia. Its definitely somewhere I would love to visit again.
Author Bio: Laini Taylor is the author of three previous books, the most recent of which, Lips Touch: Three Times, was a silver medal finalist for the 2009 National Book Award. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband, illustrator Jim Di Bartolo, and their baby daughter Clementine Pie.
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