EvilEva reviews ...... Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor.
Dissecting The Cover:
I ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY HATE this cover. Just looking at it makes me wanna vom all over myself. I don't even know specifically what it is that I don't like about it. I just really, really hate it.
And after reading the book, I don't really understand how the cover correlates with the story. I don't know if the blue mask is supposed to represent Karou's blue hair or if it's supposed to be Madrigal in her mask at the Warlord's birthday. Either way, I HATE the picture.
I think the typeface of the title is pretty cool. Maybe if the cover had been more minimalist, like just the blue feathers on the back cover, I would have liked it more.
I think it'll be interesting to see what kind of design they use for the sequel. Hopefully not another big ol' masked head that's all up in yo grill.
Karou isn't your average art student, living in Prague, drawing beautifully grotesque monsters in her many sketchbooks. The monsters Karou sketches are very real. In fact, in many ways, these monsters are her family.
Like Brimstone, her curmudgeon boss/father figure who sends Karou on mysterious errands, collecting teeth from various hunters around the world and returning them to him.
Karou doesn't know what Brimstone does with the teeth or what their significance is but she's somewhat content with being paid in small wishes for her troubles.
Then one day Karou is unable to gain access to the portal that leads to Elsewhere. Because it's now an inferno, emblazoned with a black handprint.
For unbeknownst to Karou, a war has been raging for years against her chimaera family and angels called the seraphim who are responsible for the charred portals.
When Karou has a run in with one of the seraphim, she's ready for a fight. But she's unprepared for what the angel has to say. The truth about her family, about their war, and the truth about Karou herself.
Here's What I Think:
How can I even begin to review this book? Daughter of Smoke and Bone is a BIG story, coupled with a BIG sub story at the end. And it's all connected.
Karou's story is what starts us off. Karou lives in Prague where she takes art classes with her BFF Zuzana, tries to minimize all contact with her ex Kaz, and, oh yeah, works as a tooth-thieving liaison for her chimaeran boss Brimstone.
Then one day her world is turned upside down when the portal between the regular world and the chimaeran world goes up in smoke and is rendered completely useless, cutting Karou off from the only family she's ever known.
Even though it takes 140 pages to get there, this is really where the story begins. Because it's at this point that Karou truly meets Akiva.
And then shit starts getting crazy. Mysteries start to unravel, the truth starts to come out and then suddenly we're transported to a different time, a different place and a different girl by the name of Madrigal.
Madrigal is a chimaera that has, ahem, a history, shall we say, with Akiva.
I actually liked Madrigal and Akiva's story more than his story with Karou. Which is kind of odd, considering.
You'd have to actually read the book to find out why preferring one girl's story over the other's is odd. It's much too spoilery for me to share.
Anyway, I liked Madrigal and Akiva as a couple. Their story was this tragically romantic Romeo and Juliet type story. And I'm kind of a sucker for that.
Again, I know that probably sounds weird to my fellow Daughter of Smoke and Bone readers, but I can't help it. I just liked their story more.
But, swoony times aside, both Karou's and Madrigal's tales are beautifully written with rich descriptions of this fantastically weird world that Laini Taylor has created.
As someone who hasn't traveled much, I appreciated the vivid depictions of Prague, Morocco and even the fictitious Loramendi. It helped me sink into the story and allowed me to feel like I was right there with Karou, haggling over teeth with Izil in Marrakesh; through the dark passages behind Brimstone's restricted door; and promenading through the Serpentine with Madrigal and her friends.
It's kind of funny though, that one of my favorite aspects of the book is also my only gripe about it.
Why, you may ask? Well because I felt like there were times when the author was a little too descriptive. I mean, I like to visualize as much as the next person, but I don't need 3 whole paragraphs describing a door. Just tell me why Karou is going through it.
That was my one and only problem with the book. Other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed my time spent in this strange world of war torn realms and star crossed lovers.
Okay, you guys, I've gotta admit, Akiva is pretty friggin' swoony! He's strong and hardened and intimidating but he's also gentle and sweet and loving. He's kind of the Mr. Darcy of angels.
At the beginning of the book, Akiva is all business because something happened to him (can you say tragic past?) forcing him to shut down his feelings. But then he meets Karou and there's just something about her. Thus Akiva starts to soften and we see the sweet, protective side to him start to shine through.
There are a few great kissy bits between Akiva and Karou but the hot stuff really smolders when Akiva and Madrigal are together.
Daugther of Smoke and Bone is full of angels (aka the seraphim) and demons (aka the chimaera.) And Laini Taylor does a wonderful job of describing them, both the exquisitely beautiful and the tragically grotesque.
I don't know which my imagination got a kick out of more, the angels with their beautiful perfection and their amazing, powerful wings. Or the monsters with their multi-animal mutated bodies.
If You Liked That, Try This:
Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick.
The Scale Of Judgment Says:
A beautiful story of love and war, monsters and angels.