This post contains a review and a bookish manicure.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1) by Laini Taylor
Published 2011 by Hachette
Rating: 5 stars
From the blurb: 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.
I’ve had Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor sitting on my bookshelf for two years. I don’t know what made me wait, I suppose other books kept getting in the way, but now I know that Akiva had to wait two years to see Madrigal again, it seems meant to be.
Seventeen year old Karou is now one of my favourite characters. She has two lives: by day she is an art student, attending the Art lyceum of Bohemia in Prague with her best friend, Zuzana. The rest of the time she runs errands for Brimstone, a chimaera who raised her from childhood. She enjoys her art, and loves to spend time with Brimstone, Issa, Yasri, and Twiga, though she feels guilty about the teeth she delivers and the lost lives they represent. She’s strong, intelligent, and yearning to be loved – an excellent female protagonist.
Akiva’s story is also a big part of this novel and I adored him, too. Akiva provides Karou with the love she desires and helps her discover her true identity. The tension between them was so intense, sexy, and palpable. I could feel the pull of their history, knowing that despite feeling an almost instant attraction to each other, there was a good reason for it.
The setting was gorgeous; I’ve never been to Prague but I now feel as though I have. The descriptions were perfect and I could imagine the beautiful, gothic city easily. The world created is perfectly vivid - there was sufficient information about the history of the war, the chimaera and the seraphs, but it was never overdone. I found the story clever, mature and well planned.
If you enjoyed Shadows by Paula Weston, you'll definitely like this book, and vice versa. I'm usually put off by the idea of angels in YA, but both these series know just how to get the theme right.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone held me captivated from the very beginning; it was intriguing, sexy, thrilling, and I am so glad I have book two on my shelf – I definitely won’t be waiting two years before I read it.
To mimic the sheen of the feathers I used some holographic polishes: China Glaze Get Outta My Space, Cosmic Dust, and Unpredictable. I used a fine brush and layered these over each other.