Author: Laini Taylor
Read: June 5, 2014
Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1
Summary: Around the world, black handprints 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 grown 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? goodreads
Review: To say this book was backed by a lot of hype would be an understatement. People were literally gasping for breath while reading this book and swooning while reviewing. Of course, when something is built up this big, I usually end up disappointed. Not always, but frequently. And I'm sorry to say I was a little disappointed. I enjoyed various parts of this book (which I'm about to get into) but it was definitely not life changing. I didn't swoon and I'm not dying for the next one. Now I'll explain why!
First, the positives. I actually really liked Taylor's writing. She did an awesome job of world building and I enjoyed her unique view of the angel vs. demon story without focusing on heaven vs. hell. I actually think this is one of the things that makes her stand out from other angel/demon stories. Very well done! I also found myself admiring her way with words. I've included a few quotes to show you what I mean:
"For the way loneliness is worse when you return to it after a reprieve-- like the soul's version of putting on a wet bathing suit, clammy and miserable."
"I don't know many rules to live by," he'd said. "But here's one. It's simple. Don't put anything unnecessary into yourself. No poisons or chemicals, no fumes or smoke or alcohol, no sharp objects, no inessential needles-- drug or tattoo-- and... no inessential penises, either."
"After she cried, she felt at once hollow and... better, as if the salt of all of her unshed tears had been poisoning her, and now she was cleansed."
Like, seriously!?! She made me feel exactly what the characters were feeling.S he made me laugh and mourn with them. I empathized with them because of her words. I think this is a beautiful skill and one that should be praised but I wish I would have liked the whole story better.
As far as characters go, I really liked Karou. She was a strong, independent, girl who learned from her mistakes and found her own way in life. I admire that and thank Taylor for creating such a main character. I also loved all of the "chimaera" and thought they were very well developed. What I found lacking was Akiva. I didn't think he was charming or attractive or anything other than some other guy. Honestly, I liked creepy, over baring, bad ex-boyfriend Kaz better. I do feel like Akiva was a little redeemed in my eyes when we got to his back story but that leads me to the story time line itself.
The way this story is written, there is essentially the present for the first 2/3 of the book and then, BAM you are transplanted back into the history. I hated this part of the book. It helped me grow to like Akiva a little more but I didn't really like Madrigal and I predicted that connection to the present (which I won't spoil here.) Unfortunately, this turn of events change how I viewed Karou and not for the better. I found myself a little disappointed.
I'm still very interested in the world that Taylor created so I will more than likely continue the series but I'm missing what all the hype is about. Did you read this book? If it blew you away, tell me why!!!