Book I Heart: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Title: Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Author: Laini Taylor
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Back Cover Copy:
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?

Why I Love It:
When I first read the cover copy for Daughter of Smoke and Bone I was intrigued, and when multiple writer friends recommended it, I knew I had to read it.  It did not disappoint.  Actually, that’s a pretty massive understatement.  I adore this book.  I am in massive book crush love.

I won’t tell you much about the story, because one of the best parts of reading this book was not knowing what was going to happen next.  I don’t usually talk while I read, but I seemed to have a never-ending stream of oh-my-gods and no-ways coming out of my mouth with this book.  What I will tell you is that you can set your preconceived notions about angels and demons on the shelf.  Ditto for star-crossed lovers.  Shakespeare has nothing on Laini Taylor!  She turns all the usual conventions on their heads and tells a story that is beautiful, masterful and heartbreaking in all the right ways.

Part of the beauty of this book is Laini Taylor’s lyrical style of writing, particularly her word choice.  Each word, meaningful.  Each word thoughtfully chosen.  The book is very quotable, from the simple, “Love is an element” and “Hope makes its own magic” to longer passages, including  a great conversation about inessential penises that had me chuckling.  The world-building is also fantastic.  Taylor masterfully captures the beauty and mystique of Prague in a way that made me long to return for another visit, but it’s the other world of the story that really blew me away.  I never once felt confused about what the characters or the world looked like, and never felt overwhelmed by too much information.  The details came as they were needed and in just the right amount.

The characters and the relationships between them are also well-developed.  The story unfolds in layers, and with each layer I learned a bit more about the characters.  Each of the main characters, and some of the side characters, knows what he/she wants and goes after it, but they’re all very real, and flawed.  And as with real people, sometimes the best intentions can go terribly wrong, particularly when those intentions involve keeping secrets.  The impact of their choices is all the more poignant because it’s easy to see the love the characters feel for each other, in all its complexity.

This is the kind of book that inspires me.  It makes me want to be a better writer, and I love it all the more for it.

For an in-depth review, I recommend this one by The Book Smugglers.

Universal Pictures recently purchased the film rights.  I think Daughter of Smoke and Bone could be a fantastic movie and I really hope they make it.  And soon.