Title: Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Author: Laini Taylor
Publication Date: September 27, 2011
Rating: 3 stars
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? (Goodreads)
I really wanted to love this book. It’s been on my TBR list for a long time and I had heard so many great things about it. I even have a couple friends who are not into YA literature who really enjoyed this book, so I thought it was a sure thing. However, I just didn’t love it as much as I wanted to – and I really tried.
I was about halfway through the book before I finally started to connect with Karou and really became interested in what was going on. But then I felt like the romance aspect was way too rushed (though you later find out there’s a reason for that). When I finally started to feel like I was getting into the book and was interested in what was going on, it veered completely into left field and changed the story on me.
The structure of the story is unusual. As I said, it kind of takes a complete left turn halfway through and changes everything you thought you knew. I don’t think it would have worked to structure it any other way, but at the same time the way it’s done means that there is no actual plot progression for nearly half of the book, as it’s mostly flashback by then. I’m not sure there was a better way to include this element, but I wish there was as I started losing interest again at this point.
However, by the end of this novel I feel like the world has finally been set up and now I am curious to know what happens next. I’m hoping everything has been established with this first novel, so that the second and third novels will just be plot progression and therefore more interesting than this first novel. I think the concept is really interesting, and I’m looking forward to learning more about the other world and the magic system Taylor has created. I’m just hoping it lives up to the potential and doesn’t ultimately disappoint.