Sunday, 23 December 2012

Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Author: Laini Taylor
Plot Summary:

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?

I wish I was Laini Taylor.

And here’s the part where you go, “Uh, Diana, I think you mean that you want to be LIKE Laini Taylor –”

Oh, no. Not at all. If I were to be just LIKE Laini Taylor, it would mean I would know my whole life that I was a sad shadow of the real thing, and would never be truly as awesome. I would always be reaching, and never really getting there. How horrible.

But seriously, Laini Taylor’s writing is some of the most luscious and poetic I’ve ever read. When I finished reading Lips Touch: Three Times, I attempted to write in this way, and I simply could not do it. It came off as cheesy and purple prose-y. Theoretically, Taylor’s writing SHOULD be cheesy and purple prose-y when she goes on about wooden puppets, ballerina tutus, yellow umbrellas, sugar dust and tinkling music, but it isn’t. It’s pure magic – whenever I read it, I feel exactly the way I’m supposed to feel.

For the most part, her characters are just as enchanting and interesting as her writing. Everything from this book is like a fairytale, from the streets of Prague, to the mythos of the angels (which is so far from the Christian conception of angels I wouldn’t even really advertize it as an angel book) to the dreamlike Karou, who really is like a modern-day princess heroine being pretty and brave and kind.

If you’re wondering, the reason I didn’t give this five stars was because I didn't care for the love story, which unfortunately, dominated the story to the point I couldn’t overlook it. But even still, this aspect did not overshadow my love for the book – I can’t WAIT to read the next one! 

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