Novel: Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1) by Laini Taylor
Published: September 29th, 2011 by Hodder & Stoughton
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Rating: 5/5 stars
Synopsis: In general, Karou has managed to keep her two lives in balance. On the one hand, she’s a seventeen-year-old art student in Prague; on the other, errand-girl to a monstrous creature who is the closest thing she has to family. Raised half in our world, half in ‘Elsewhere’, she has never understood Brimstone’s dark work – buying teeth from hunters and murderers – nor how she came into his keeping. She is a secret even to herself, plagued by the sensation that she isn’t whole. Now the doors to Elsewhere are closing, and Karou must choose between the safety of her human life and the dangers of a war-ravaged world that may hold the answers she has always sought.
“Have you ever asked yourself, do monsters make war, or does war make monsters?”
“It’s not like there’s a law against flying.” “Yes there is. The law of gravity.”
I know that I’m incredibly late on this one. I don’t really have an excuse as to why I’ve only read it recently. Well, I guess I do have one. The hype. Hype makes me afraid guys. If I’ve been hearing nothing but good things about a book for months/years, I create such high expectations. After that, any book could be a disappointment. So I always try to lower my expectations when starting a hyped up book. However, I’m really happy to say that this book is just as amazing as everyone says it is!
This is where my praise for this book will start. I love both the real and the fantastical world of this.
As for the real one: this book is set in Prague. Do you know how happy that makes me? I know it may be ridiculous because I’ve never actually been to Prague, but it makes me happy that this book is set there anyway. Why? Because it shows that a book can be amazing even if it isn’t set in the U.S. I mean, there are more continents that North-America, really. The way Laini Taylor described the city was gorgeous. It made me imagine every single building and cobblestone. One of my friends did her Erasmus exchange in Prague, and according to her it’s absolutely gorgeous. I actually have a trip to Prague planned! I’m going in February with my aunt for 3 or 4 days, and I’m really looking forward to it now.
I really enjoyed the fantastical world as well. The idea that all over the worlds, there are doors to another place – Elsewhere- is mind-blowing. I wish that would be the reality. Imagine how cheap traveling would be?! We’d all be saving so much money. You slowly learned more about the secondary world as you read. I have to be honest and say that I have many questions about it… But I loved the parts I got to see!
Aaah, what to say about the story line of this book? First of all, it was action-packed. I was continuously learning something new about the world, about Karou -or the other characters. I don’t really know what to tell you about the plot because I feel like everything would be a spoiler? So I’ll just say that this story takes you on an adventure. A journey filled with monsters, schemes, secrets and lies. And you have to read it.
I’ll talk about Karou first, for obvious reasons. First of all, that’s an awesome name. For some reason, I like it -even though it is a really weird name and kind of sounds like the call of a bird (Karouuuuuuuuuuuuu. See?). Karou was raised by monsters, as she keeps mentioning, and is combining two lives. I have to say that I really appreciated the mentions of her art throughout this book. It really made me want to go to Prague and see all of her work -even though that would be impossible. She has so many questions about her second life, which Brimstone never answers. So she just works as his errand girl, collecting teeth everywhere. I like that she has an inquisitive mind, but stops pushing when she sees she’s hurting someone’s feelings by said pushing. I think it’s important to have questions about everything in life, but it’s just as important to know when to shut up. What else did I like about Karou? So much. She was strong, brave, does not give up easily, she is smart and artistic, doesn’t forgive/forget easily either -love the eyebrow thing- and she will fight hard for those she loves. All good traits in my opinion!
I have to admit that although I enjoyed her inquisitive mind, I wonder how she didn’t have more questions. I feel like this whole book raises the issue of asking questions before blindly following an order. You have to know WHY you are being asked to act a certain way, in my opinion. And both sides of this world -I mean, both sides of the fantastical part- have come to a point where it’s necessary to ask questions about these years-long happenings. (I’m trying to be vague and clear at the same time).
Now, there are so many other characters I loved and want to talk about. But I don’t want their appearance and my words to spoil you. So I’ll keep it short. Zuzana: I love you, and I wish I could’ve seen your puppeteer act. Akiva: I love you too, but you need to get your shit together. Seriously. Kazimir: you are the stain on perfect Italian leather shoes. Brimstone: I have so many questions. First of all, what? Also, ew gross. Issa: you rock. But keep the snakes away -not a fan…
The only downside I would say is that this book kind of has a bit of insta-love? In a way, it’s not because it’s justified. But at the same time, everything went very fast and I was not totally okay with that.