Sophie's Reviews > Daughter of Smoke & Bone

Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor
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Initially, I did not want to read this book because I thought the cover was ugly. It freaked me out. But I'm so glad that I did read it (even with all the sex--more on that later) because it took me to a whole different world. The setting of the book is magical in and of itself--it's not in some smoggy urban American city, but in Prague, full of ancient buildings and history. And within all the history is Karou, who is a mystery herself. We don't know her parents, we don't know her origins beyond the fact that she lives with some weird animal-human creatures, and that she loves art and has a freaky borderline stalker ex-boyfriend.

Throughout the entire book, I just couldn't help feeling like I'd been taken out of a mundane world and put into one teeming with excitement and magic. Taylor does a fantastic job of describing the different worlds that exist in her novel. Another thing she does well is bringing in the normalcy, such as when Karou talks with her friend, although they do faintly morbid things, like eating at a restaurant with coffins for tables. There's something about Taylor's writing that is heartrendingly sad and forlorn, especially when Akiva enters the scene.

Akiva. His description completely took my breath away. In the first paragraph, I could already sense that he was angelic and had that same heavenly might when it came to fighting, but that he was painfully broken. Damn, is he broken. His character is shrouded in misery and yearning, yet he seems more beautiful because of it.

As for Karou, I like her because she's not a limp noodle. She knows her way with swords and kung-fu, and though her upbringing is unique, she adapts to it accordingly. However, towards the end, she got a bit mushy. I know love can do that to people, but I still wanted some hint that her badassery was still alive.

I think the primary quibble I have with this book is that things ricochet out of control too fast and suddenly. The answers to my questions were all delivered, but they were sort of upended on me, leaving me to absorb everything in a hundred-some pages. The love itself doesn't seem real enough--Taylor seems to rely a lot on chemistry and pure attraction, though she justifies it a bit in the end. Also, there was her habit of using a lot of italics that had me thinking, okay, I get it.

This is, however, a beautiful forbidden love story. It's so much like ROMEO AND JULIET in epic, supernatural proportions that it slightly pains me. Have you ever imagined a war between demons and angels with lots of fire and destruction, yet never gotten it in the likes of HUSH, HUSH or FALLEN? Well, this is it. This is what would have happened if Romeo had been a vindictive angel and Juliet had been a horned beast, and the potion that Juliet had drunk was actually crushed shrooms. I await the next book, though with an anxious and slightly fearful attitude.
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Reading Progress

02/19/2012 page 133
32.0% "I wonder how Akiva and Karou will overcome the complete impossibility of having a normal conversation."
02/19/2012 page 172
41.0% "Why is he fantasizing about her all of a sudden o.o"
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