Wednesday, 30 November 2011
Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Released: September 29th, 2011
Grade rating: A-
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.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone is one of those books that was published with a huge amount of hype surrounding it. Sometimes that can be a bad thing when the book unfortunately doesn't live up to high expectations, but in this case it was all deserved. Daughter of Smoke and Bone hooked me right from the start and I was soon invested in Karou's life. She's a brilliant, layered character with a lot to say, and I loved her.
Karou's life has been spent living with demon Brimstone - a wishmonger - and the chimaera that accompany him. Issa, Twiga, Yasri and Kishmish are all loyal to Karou and everything she does, as well as Brimstone and his darker endeavours. Laini Taylor makes even the chimaera endearing and attractive - I have no idea how she managed it but she did. Their traits and personalities make them so realistic they almost walk off the page. And don't get me started on Akiva, who Karou meets later in the book. He is one hot man!
As you can see, I don't want to talk much about Daughter of Smoke and Bone's plot. Everything unfolds bit by bit, and going into it would ruin the suspense and shocks that await you. I actually did guess one twist this time, which is really unusual for me. I was quite proud of myself!
Daughter of Smoke and Bone is Laini Taylor's biggest publication to date and it marks her first book to be released in the UK. I hope her back catalogue will see the light of day over here one day because I have a feeling she's going to be a bit of a superstar by the time the sequel arrives next year. Her lovely, descriptive writing makes this book stand out in a crowded market and her characterisation is pretty much faultless. In fact, my own criticism of the book would be that there were one or two slow sections. That's it. Not really worth mentioning, is it?
As you can tell, I absolutely loved Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I knew I would as soon as I heard about it over a year ago, and the following wait was rather agonising. However, it was well worth it and I can't wait for the sequel in 2012. It's a special book for fantasy readers - if you're a fan of the genre you really should give it a read. It's got a permanent place on my shelf and I hope it will have one on yours!