Friday, 21 March 2014

Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor

Publication date: 29th September 2011
Published by: Hodder & Stoughton
Genre: Fantasy/Romance (YA)

Publisher's Synopsis
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 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 one of the strangers--beautiful, haunted Akiva--fixes his fire-colored 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
This novel turned out to be a very pleasant surprise indeed!  I don't know why I was expecting another Twilightesque story but it turns out nothing is further from the truth.

This one has an original plot that kept me interested throughout.  It is set in Prague and it captures the beauty of the city perfectly.  [I went there for a weekend break some years ago.  I don't know what I was expecting but the city turned out to be as much of a surprise as this novel was.  For me it can only be rivaled by London and Paris... and perhaps Barcelona.  Anyway, I digress!].  There is so much to love about Daughter of Smoke and Bone.  For one thing the names of the main characters - Karou and Akiva - fabulous.  For another there is so much mystery surrounding it.  Karou does not know who she is, how she came to be raised by a demon or why he keeps sending her on the oddest of missions.  Akiva is bitter and full of anguish about something.  He is strangely drawn to Karou and does not understand why.  Their first encounter is pretty explosive and simply brilliant.

The pace of the novel is excellent.  It starts out as a slow burner and picks up as the reader continues.  YA fantasy/romance lovers trust me, if you haven't read it you should. By the middle I'd be stunned if you aren't truly engrossed, and by the end if you don't hunger for more.

I'm not alone.  It has been rated by over 85K readers on Goodreads and has an average score of 4.08 out of 5.  I hasten to add that with the popular YA fantasy books I don't always agree that their high rating is warranted, but this time I agree wholeheartedly.

Seriously, get a copy.  It's treasure.

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