I am not afraid to admit that I am a huge fan of young adult fiction. That being said, I was really excited when Kelly handed me a copy of Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone. It's a beautiful written blend of fantasy, mystery and romance.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone is the story of Karou, an art student living inPrague.Taylordescribes the city in heartbreaking detail that sets the stage for the tale she spins. It was a city of alchemists and dreamers, its medieval cobbles once trod by golems, mystics, invading armies -- Baroque cupolas were the soft green of antique copper, and Gothic steeples stood ready to impale fallen angels.
Karou, hair the color of lapis-lazuli, beautiful and artistic, lives alone in this wondrous city and attends the Art Lyceum ofBohemiawhere she delights the students with the fantastical sketches of beasts and monsters that fill her numerous sketchbooks. What is unknown to her classmates is that the drawings are made from reality. Karou was raised by a group of monsters, chiefly Brimstone, a collector of teeth and dealer of wishes.
Karou's life with Brimstone is entered through a magical doorway located in the service entrance of an Art Nouveau building in the Jewish Quarter of Prague. Beyond the doorway lies the shop where Brimstone works and Karou was raised. Karou runs errands for Brimstone bringing him teeth from around the globe. Karou does not know the purpose of the teeth, only that they are of utmost importance. The reader, along with Karou, is captivated by the intrigue surrounding these teeth.
As the trailer/blurb tells, mysterious black handprints have been scorched on doorways around the world. The marks have been left by dazzlingly beautiful winged strangers. Why are they here? What do they want? When one of these strangers encounters Karou, sparks fly (literally).
Laini Taylor fluidly weaves her storylines like a fine Persian rug. Daughter of Smoke and Bone is exotic and intoxicating. The richness of her story telling pulls you in with its dreamlike quality grounded in the present. It is a heady mixture that pays off handsomely with plot twists and heartbreaks that you cannot anticipate but truly appreciate.
Without giving too much away, I will say that I wanted to hurl this book across the room when I got to the end of it. After such a satisfying read, the ending was not what I expected and left me more than a little annoyed. Enough said.
I did enjoy this book in myriad ways and look forward to more rich and sumptuous work from Laini Taylor.