The Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Lanini Taylor

There are certain books that call to me. It all starts with a tickle when the buzz begins to build around the blogosphere, then a few of my trusted bookish friends simply rave about the book in their reviews and I'm definitely hooked. And hey, a stunning cover doesn't hurt matters much either. Such is the case with Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. It was basically only a matter of time before I picked up this gorgeous book. Really, I am powerless in the face of such an premise:
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?
This book -- oh, this book is so good. It's utterly intricate and builds to a level of sophistication that made me fall in love from page one. I honestly want to sit down and reread it all over again just so I can go back and smile at all the subtle clues to Karou's unique story that Laini Taylor delicately inserts along the way. It's just that deftly woven. Karou's gorgeous depictions of her artistic life in Prague and her time spent travelling the world over as a messenger from Brimstone - the head of her own personal demon 'family' - could not have entranced me more.

Each character is something special: chimera, seraph, and human alike. Such artistic descriptions of Karou's beloved 'monsters' contrast with the fierce solider-aspect of the 'angels' she encounters. They each have their moments of kindness and brutality but Taylor is quite capable at liberally dosing them all with plenty of wit and sarcasm to keep the story from becoming too heavy.

And if you think the angel and demons trope has been done to death, well, think again. Taylor's mythology is haunting and beautiful and unlike anything else I've ever read. Due in part to her striking language usage (I was all but eating up sections of dialogue and descriptions) this is one truly expertly crafted book. I honestly don't know anyone else who writes like Laini Taylor. She is the definition of Clever. I've been meaning to track down her earlier books for ages but Daughter of Smoke and Bone makes me want to grab them like NOW. Lucky us it's planned as a trilogy. I simply cannot wait to enter Karou's world again.

Because Everyone Likes a Second Opinion:
Book Harbinger review
Chachic's Book Nook review
The Crooked Shelf review
Good Books & Good Wine review
Janicu's Book Blog review

book source: Paperback Swap


Holly said...

YAY! You are back! (Just had to say that first.)

I'm so happy you loved this. I completely agree and have already reread it. :)

Janicu said...

I seem to be the one who didn't love this as much as the people I usually agree with. Weird! I am glad that you loved it.

Chachic said...

You're baaack! :) I'm so glad you decided to review this one and that you loved it. Isn't Laini Taylor amazing? Can't wait to see what you think of the rest of her books.

Anonymous said...

I had more mixed feelings about Taylor's newest, but overall I think I liked it enough to read a sequel :)