Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Release Date: September 27, 2011
Source: Emily @ Doodle's Book Blog
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Around the world, black hand prints 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 one of the strangers—beautiful, haunted Akiva—fixes his fire-colored 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?
This book received so much hype and praise that I was nervous to read it, afraid it wouldn't meet my expectations. Really, though, I needn't have worried. Daughter of Smoke and Bone was just as gorgeous and haunting as everyone promised me it was. It didn't take me long to fall head over heels for the characters and immerse myself in this new world of angels and demons.
Karou has always known that she is different. But she's never just how different. She can travel freely through the otherworld, though she doesn't know at first what it is. Raised by demons, running errands for them, she tries to live a relatively normal life. She's a strong yet vulnerable heroine, and though I had a hard time relating to her I definitely admire her strength in the face of difficulty. She can be stubborn, however.
Akiva is an angel who is haunted by his past and the decisions he made then. He's also hell-bent on revenge. However, he can't seem to keep himself from making mistakes. In finding his revenge, he loses his shot at redemption, at least for a time. He has a good but troubled heart, and he wants to do the right thing but he doesn't know what that is anymore.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone actually doesn't start off on that much of an exciting note. We get the impression that Karou leads an unspectacular life, going to art classes, just broke up with her boyfriend. But we soon realize that this isn't the case at all.
Karou has a family of devils she'll do anything to protect, and she'll do anything for them as well, no matter how strange. If they need her help, she is there for them. There's a fierce loyalty between them that is lovely to see, and was clear to me from the beginning that this was going to cause problems.
One thing that confused me were Karou's memories. I accept that they're real and everything, but for whatever reason I couldn't buy the way they were stored away. It just didn't feel right to me for some reason. I did appreciate the lack of connection she feels when she finally remembers them, but still.
This was one heck of an intense story. It's difficult to know what's going to happen next, although as far as actual action goes I didn't feel there was much. This felt a lot like a precursor to an actual story to me, especially with the large amount of infodumps it contained.
I did love this, though. I'm not sure I totally agree with all the hype, but it is definitely a book that should be read. It's original, it's stunning, it's a masterpiece.
I liked the flashbacks of the past romance a lot. Akiva and Madrigal were an spectacular couple, and they really were great together. However, Akiva gets kind of weird and creepy when he meets Karou, becoming a tad obsessive. I think they definitely had chemistry, but that their past lay in between them was clear from the beginning. I think they still might have a chance, but it's a long shot.
Laini has unique but spectacular writing. It actually reminds me of Erin Morgenstern's writing in some ways. It's very detail-heavy, and there's a lot, a lot, a lot of description as a result. Still, though this occasionally got tiring this did make the imagery very vivid. I loved the individual voices of the characters even though they were difficult to grasp at times, and there's a certain type of escapism with this writing as well.
Well, I can honestly say I never saw it coming. It couldn't have shocked me more. I knew parts of what was going to happen since I made the mistake of reading the synopsis for the second book, but even so. I definitely didn't expect some of what happened to happen. The ending was also a major infodump, which was kind of annoying, but I did still love it.
I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved this book. It was utterly unputdownable, and it absolutely shattered my heart. It was a lovely, aching take of love, but it was also much more than that. This story is so much deeper than it first appears, and a much more intense story than I expected. I recommend it highly and will definitely finish this series.
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