Daughter of Smoke and Bone is the kind of book you don't want to end. You know it's going to have to, you know it's getting close, but when it finally gets there, you're still upset because you want the story to continue…you have so much invested in the characters that you just have to know what happens next!
Karou is such a great character. She's fun, caring, and loyal to her family…just don't piss her off because she knows how to fight. She is definitely the kind of girl you want on your side in a battle. I quickly became intrigued by Karou. At first she seems so innocent, but then you find out she has this whole other life. She is obviously lonely, and I found myself feeling empathy for her and her situation. It would be hard not to be able to have 'real' friends, and even with her 'family' she was pretty much left in the dark about everything. I loved her even more for the fact that she didn't just sit around feeling sorry for herself.
I also really liked Brimstone, although he would definitely scare me in a 'don't piss me off or I'll eat you' sort of way, and my fondness for him grew as the story was revealed. I really like that we got to see Brimstone from both Akiva and Karou's points of view. Akiva saw him as nothing but a monster, but Karou had good memories of him, almost father like, and it humanized him a little for Akiva, I think.
As for Akiva, at first I wasn't sure what to think of him. I didn't trust him and thought he could only bring trouble. By the end of the book, however, I was in love with him. I loved him for how he loved Karou (and Madrigal), how he took action for what he believed, even how he fought for her though his hope was gone. He's the kind of guy every girl dreams of.
The author's descriptive writing style quickly captivated me. She knows how to create just enough tension to keep you on edge without drawing it out so long that you are in danger of losing interest. In fact, many times I found myself covering the page across from where I was reading so I wouldn't be tempted to look ahead to see what was going to happen! She also did a really good job with the character's conflicting emotions, really getting them across to the reader. Through her words and descriptions, she brought the characters to life.
I was not sure I was going to like the "switch" in stories from Karou to Madrigal, but I fell into it quickly. While I was reading it, I missed Karou, but eventually grew to love Madrigal and her story just as much.
The story of forbidden love is one that has been told 1000 times over, but Taylor's take was so unique it was like hearing it for the first time. The story was fun to read and captivating. I am eagerly anticipating book two to see where the story is going to be taken.