DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE
by Laini Taylor
Publisher: Little, Brown Books
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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…
The Daughter of Smoke and Bones had two major flaws for me. One was the slow-pacing and the other was the prose. The book was slightly dragging in the beginning and towards the middle I had put it down several times and attempted to pick it up again later. I get it that Karou's lonely, and I get it that her ex boyfriend was a psycho, but why spend the whole entire beginning on just that? And then there's the prose. Sometimes I'd read a sentence of description and by the end of the sentence I'd forget what it was describing. I usually have no problem with prose at all. In fact, it's one of those things that makes a story far more enjoyable for me. But it just didn’t work for me in this book.
So what did I love? Where do I start? The setting of Prague was just beautiful. And Karou—I loved her! She's strong, beautiful, has blue hair and an amazing talent when it comes to drawing. And on top of all that she's not portrayed as a perfect person. She has flaws, she has weaknesses, and she craves love. There's something about her loneliness that makes me ache for her for most of the book. When she said she was lonely I truly believed that she was. Karou and Zuzana—a delightful duo that I enjoyed. Akiva—a delicious swoon-worthy angel with a tortured past. I was fascinated by Karou's family of chimaeras, who gave us small insight into the other world called Elsewhere. And of course the world-building. Wow! The world building. I loved it to bits even though it’s one of the things that kind of slowed down the pace of the story.
I felt like all the elements of a story that I love are in this book and yet something is lacking. Maybe it's due to the high expectations I had prior to reading this book. Maybe it's because I wasn't quite connected with some of the characters. Maybe it's because of the prose that had me re-reading whole paragraphs to find out what it was about. Or maybe it's due to the slow pacing of the text. I mean, I literally sat with bated breath waiting for the huge turning points to take place and.....nothing happened for a really long time. The wait was far longer than I had anticipated: thus the reason why I had put if down a couple times.
Overall I really liked The Daughter of Smoke and Bones but didn't love it like I expected I would. Would I recommend it? Definitely! Despite its flaws it was, to say the least, a magical and fascinating read. Not your everyday read from the YA genre.