Book – Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor
Review by Kayla Ferguson
All Karou’s classmates assume that her notebook full of sketches of monsters is merely another part of her vivid, artistic, and imaginative personality, along with her bright blue hair and the tattoos of eyes on her palms. Little do they know that such is not the case. For Karou lives two lives: one as an ordinary art student in Prague, the other as a supernatural hunter of wishes. The monstrous chimerae that fill her sketchbook pages – including the ram-headed wish maker Brimstone – are the only family Karou has ever known.
When a vengeful seraph named Akiva burns down Karou’s alternate life and nearly kills her in the process, Karou finds herself lost with far more questions than she has answers. As she slowly learns the truth about Brimstone, the wishes she has spent years helping to make, a terrible war between chimerae and seraphs, and her own lost history, she comes to realize that there is far more at stake than she ever could have guessed, especially when she finds herself falling in love with the one person she should hate above all else.
This elegant paranormal fantasy, the first book in a trilogy, is an exciting and mysterious new take on the age-old Romeo and Juliet storyline. Taylor instantly hooks the reader with Karou’s curious double life; the seventeen-year-old girl wonders about her past and her current situation just as much as the reader does. What does Brimstone do with the teeth she collects on her missions? Why doesn’t she remember getting the weird tattoos on her hands? What lies behind the door that Brimstone has forbidden her from ever opening? Karou is an engaging, quirky, and likable protagonist whom introverts, artists, and anyone who’s ever wondered about his/her purpose in life will recognize and strongly relate to. Although Taylor could have spent more time developing the romance instead of going the “attraction at first sight” route, overall she weaves an epic tale that takes the reader around our globe as well as into the magical otherworld of the chimerae and seraphs. Through the fantastical elements, Taylor explore some interesting and highly relevant issues including race, prejudice, war, and revenge.
Sophisticated writing, an intriguing and three-dimensional cast of characters, and a wonderful mix of action, character development, snark, romance, and mystery make this a great choice for anyone who enjoys teen supernatural fantasy. Those looking for a new series after The Mortal Instruments, the Otherworld series, the Lunar Chronicles, the Dante Walker books, or the Graceling novels may find a new favorite with Daughter of Smoke & Bone.