Review: Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor

Synopsis: 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 otherworldly 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 beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery 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?

I’m just gonna say it – I am OBSESSED with these books. I kid you not, I read them both in like 2 days. I had previously read Strange the Dreamer, and my roommate was like you have to read her other trilogy. And then she brought the books to me. And then my life was put on pause for like 48 hours while I completely submerged myself into these books. This is only the review for Daughter of Smoke & Bone, but Days of Blood & Starlight will be up soon I promise! And as always, beware of spoilers.

I will say that when I started the book I was a little skeptical. I’m not someone who loves overly romantic books that focus a lot on relationships. And that’s kind of what the beginning half of the book felt like to me. Karou and Akiva meeting and slowing setting up their relationship. Sure there was some fantasy aspects to it – the doors get shut, we don’t know what’s happening with Brimstone and everyone, but still. It’s pretty teeny-bopper romance for a bit. Not exactly my jam. But THEN! Omigosh. THEN!! We get swept up into this whole other magical realm of Eretz, the seraphim and the chimeras, the conflicts and the chaos. I could not stop reading.

I admit that reincarnation is a trope that I love, so having it pop up in this book was so unexpected and welcomed. That scene where they snap the wishbone was so good in so many ways. First of all, it’s important to note that the second half of the book is mostly flashback. We get to see Akiva and Karou’s (or should I say Madrigal’s) past where they first met, and we get to see more of the chimera/seraphim conflict. Second of all, it lends an incredible amount of depth to the story, helping to paint both the chimeras and the seraphim in a more distorted light. The seraphim are graphic and bloody, giving themselves lines for each chimera they’ve killed. And the chimera aren’t perfect either, with something like a caste system in place for whether they are human aspect (aka have a human head and torso) or creature aspect. And then there is the uber creepy Thiago. So suffice to say that things… aren’t perfect in either place.

So many parts of this book were gut wrenching. Seeing how Karou’s life slowly spiraled out of control, despite finally learning who she was and where she came from, was so hard to watch. She finally understood what her family did for her, and then wasn’t able to see them. And the final twist of the book was so cruel. I won’t spoil it, but I just want to say to Laini Taylor, ouch, you didn’t need to do that. I am so glad that I read this when the second book was readily available, because otherwise I would have lost my mind.

So overall, yeah, I loved this book, as seen by my excessive punctuation and excitement in this post. Be on the lookout for part 2, coming soon!

Have a great weekend ducks!
~ Mon

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