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August 4, 2014

Review: Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor

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 grows 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 beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery 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?
I know what you're thinking--I just raved over Daughter of Smoke & Bone in my most recent If Only... post. Yes, I did indeed, but quite honestly, I kept that short and sweet for a reason. The real fangirling starts now.

This novel is unlike any I have ever come across, and considering how much I read, that's saying something. The world-building and sheer amount of thought that went into constructing such a vivid backdrop are astounding. Many parts of the text are almost lyrical and poetic in technique, which can sometimes be a little overwhelming but suited this story absolutely perfectly. It's been a while since I was so drawn into the pages of a good book.

Protagonist Karou is everything I want in a female main character. There's nothing ordinary or typical about her backstory, yet she's so relatable. I loved her curiosity and her courage even in the face of some truly horrifying circumstances. On the other hand is Akiva, a broodingly mysterious, ethereal individual who turned out to be surprisingly endearing. My biggest initial qualm with Daughter of Smoke & Bone was how quickly Karou and Akiva seemed to fall for each other; however, later revelations do manage to explain why that happened fairly well.

Aside from setting, secondary characters had a huge influence on my adoration for this book. In particular, Karou's best friend Zuzana was thoroughly supportive and entertaining. All too often in YA novels, a main character's "best friend" turns out to be unreliable or even just a complete jerk, so I appreciated that Zuzana was there for Karou no matter how ridiculous the situation became.

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed the story and cannot wait to see what happens next in Days of Blood and Starlight!

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