Monday, April 27, 2015

Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1)

Posted by A Drop of Romeo at 2:00 PM

Age: Young Adult
Category: Fantasy; romance
Rating: 4 stars

Rosie Thinks: Where do I even begin with this book? I had an idea of what it would be like, but then Laini Taylor completely blew all those ideas out of the water. She’s taken two story ideas that have been used and abused a million times in books and movies everywhere, and somehow managed to create something completely unique. One was the 'new' take on Romeo and Juliet - I love the original, but I am getting pretty fed up with all the adaptations. The other is that of angels and demons, good vs evil, battling it out against each other in a different dimension. 'Daughter of Smoke & Bone' has both of these in it, but manages to stand out amidst the other overdone versions.

I'm not really sure how to give a description that isn't exactly like the summary. The storyline is complicated yet easy to follow with Taylor’s writing style, and get’s convoluted pretty quickly - I don’t want to spoil anything for you! It is based around Karou, a blue-haired art student who feels as if a part of her is missing. She lives in Prague and juggles her normal life with her not so normal one - running errands for Brimstone, the 'monster' who brought her up. And then beautiful, seraph Akiva enters the picture, bringing with him war, misery, vengeance, and secrets that change Karou's life.

When I say this story is about demons/angels, it has nothing to do with mythology or religion. Taylor has taken the bare necessities from this trope and built her own world from it. The detail and mystery surrounding the other world is amazing and in-depth, and Taylor kept building upon it with every new chapter. The suspense kept me turning the page - this book is filled with twists, right to the heart-wrenching one at the end.

At the beginning, Karou is the reason that I kept on reading. I very much liked her character, and the portrayal of Brimstone was highly amusing (when you get to the 'unessential penises' bit, you'll understand). Taylor mastered the art of showing and not telling, which really shone through in her character development. I loved Karou's blue hair, tattoos and independence - there were times, though (around the middle of the book), when it felt like Karou was more of a comic book character than a real person. I think in these parts the 'showing' became more about shoving in your face Karou's badass-ness, causing her to become a bit too abstract for me. This passed quickly though, so it didn't upset my reading much at all. The only other problem I had was how the narrative would, at random times, become omniscient and jump out of the main character's head for a paragraph before going back in, if that makes sense. But then again, I am incredibly bias against omniscient narration.

I have to admit, Taylor's writing is strange. I started off not being sure if I liked it. Parts were abrupt, lines were repeated, and there was a fair amount of archaic language. It definitely grew on me and I love how Taylor has crafted the way in which the reader actually reads the book. Not only did it flow beautifully in its strange way, but the structure was just insane (in a good way, that is). Towards the end, the narrative becomes non-linear and jumps around all over the place. But not once did I find myself confused. I am so full of admiration for Taylor, that she was able to pull off this structure without a hitch.

I've already bought the second book. I didn't even need to look at the summary to know that I need it now. I feel like this first book did a lot of setting up for the next one, so I have a feeling that Days of Blood and Starlight is just going to explode with action and intensity. Bring it on!


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