Virna's Reviews > Daughter of Smoke & Bone

Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor
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's review
Apr 26, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: ya, fiction, fantasy, prague, angels, series, novel, interdimensional, romance

On my YA stacks are books on vampires (Twilight, anyone?) and any utopian world you can imagine, but not fantasy involving angels and demons. I vaguely remember Dan Brown's somewhere gathering dust, but that's not even close to the world created by Laini Taylor. And the setting - using Prague instead of the old US of A as background setting is ingenious, IMHO. Prague exudes Old World romantics and gargoyle-carpeted castles. Perfect setting for demons and the likes.

I've heard about this book a lot in Goodreads and managed to get the only copy in Times Bookstore Citos, of all places! The cover is also beautiful, props to the artistic team! Toward the end of the book you'd find out why the girl on the cover is wearing a blue mask.

Now the story actually started with a good premise - an orphan girl raised by demons from other worlds. How creatures with terrifying animal heads could love and care for a human girl. The girl grew up to be a talented art student who can speak more than a handful of languages (that's what you get if you sell your soul to the devils or raised by them, I guess..) and wield deadly weapons like an Olympic gymnast, and not to worry folks, she's also blessed - as all Hollywood stars should always do - with beautiful features. Wait, hold on until a couple of pages more and she's bound to meet a beautiful angel that is more beautiful than her, and he thinks she's interesting.

Ms. Taylor can weave a beautiful story with beautiful words (instant SAT vocabulary practice for my students!), and I was flipping the pages hungrily, but when beautiful people started to populate the book my respect for the book went a couple of notches down. When I as a reader, learned about the TRUE relationship between the orphan girl and the angel, I did a double take. This is what truly ruins the story.

The book starts with the orphan girl, being a bright art student whose side job is running errand for her demon family. Then there's her family secret and exotic locale she had to visit, until.. the angels came running down from heaven and left black marks on the portals - the doors that would open to the demon world. Then the author starts to introduce us to the 'tortured' life of Akiva, the angel-hero (if being handsome can be called tortured at all!), and how the two met. When Karou, the heroine, found out the portals are burned down by the angels, and forced to be left alone but for the (uugghh, do I need to say this again?) beautiful stranger, she finally learned about her past life.

The book is still a beautiful work, and I would surely re-read the book again because I want to be able to render a fantasy world like Eretz (which, I learned from the book, is Hebrew for 'Earth.') just as Ms. Taylor had here. However, wouldn't it be interesting if the heroine doesn't have to be devastatingly beautiful and the hero needs not look like Gerard Butler in '300.'

Surely can't wait for the sequel!!!

* THINGS I THOUGHT THE BOOK WOULD TELL ME: that Madrigal and Karou is world apart and unrelated!!! Such a disappointment! What can I say, it's up to the author to make the story :)

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