Friday, April 27, 2012

Review: 'The Daughter of Smoke and Bone' by Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Pages: 418
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy
Release Date: September 2011
Publisher: Hodder and Stroughton
Bought in a Store.

"Errand requiring immediate attention. Come.

The note was on vellum, pierced by the talons of the almost-crow that delivered it. Karou read the message. 'He never says please', she sighed, but she gathered up her things.
When Brimstone called, she always came."

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.

Here is a book that I was intimidated by. It had a cool name, It looks quite reasonable in size and it had one of those no-nonsense simple yet pretty covers. Other bloggers all said they were keen to read it, but I never heard all that much about what they really thought afterwards. The few reviews I read said things like "I had mixed feelings about this book" and "This book was like a strange dream". What I read was indeed quite like a strange dream...

'The Daughter of Smoke and Bone' was more tomb-like than I had expected. Yes, I did see how big this book was before I bought it. It didn't look huge though. It still doesn't look huge. It did how ever take me a long time to read. I don't know if it was because of the funny names and the new mythology or whether the dimensions of the book have some sort of magical eye-trickery thing going on. Like there are extra phantom pages or something... Just warning all anyhow, it does take a while to read. Maybe it's because it was one of those weird-interesting novels that I wanted to last longer. I kept losing speed because I was enjoying it too much. Thinking about all the curious things there is to think about...

My favourite thing about this story was the main character Karou. She had blue hair (that actually grows that way), she is a talented artist, she was brought up by chimaeras, she carries a knife around in her boot and she is a real fighter. 'The Daughter of Smoke and Bone' was all about finding out who Karou is. I guess it's kind of important that readers can find the main character likable in any story, but it is all the more important when the story focuses so much on who they are. Karou is definitely up there with my list of favourite characters.

One of the reasons I think this book was so dreamlike was because of the interesting storyline. This novel is actually two stories woven together to create one. The majority of the second half of the book was a story within the story and it reminded me of a dream within a dream. It was a little confusing and disorientating, but I found my way eventually.

I have heard a few reviewers complain about the "insta-love" that takes place in this novel. Apparently they didn't expect  any insta-love and got cranky when they discovered it. I actually don't see what the big deal was. Yes, the characters did fall for each other pretty quickly, but this insta-love was constructed in a more original way than what I have seen so I don't think that it's a huge issue.

Overall I thought this book was pretty good. I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars. It was really interesting and different, but I just wish it had been more exciting at times and a little easier to get through. There weren't really any faults with this book, but it still felt like something wasn't quite right for me to give it too high a rating. It's also quite hard to judge this novel compared to what I've read previously. I recommend this to anyone who likes reading awesome books that are a bit on the weird side.

Oh and TEETH! Yes teeth were a surprisingly big part of this novel...
This novel was the first book in the 'Daughter of Smoke and Bone' series.

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Shanon (Escaping With Fiction) said...

Lovely review, Natalie! It appears that you liked this book just as much as I did. Karou is on my list of favorite characters as well!

P.S.- I totally laughed when you said "the dimensions of the book have some sort of magical eye-trickery thing going on". That is so true! Haha. =)

-Shanon @ Escaping With Fiction

Chey said...

I've been hearing such incredible things about this book but I've been putting it off because of its size, unfortunately. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, though! I know I'll be working up the courage to read it sometime soon. :P

Lori said...

I really loved this book. I'm happy you liked it! Laini Taylor's writing is so gorgeous. I think that I like her book of short stories, Lips Touch, even more than this one.

Natalie_vintage_girl said...

Cool, I'll have to check it out :)

Rie Conley said...

Yeah, this definitively took me longer than average to read. I'm not sure I how I felt about the ending, but I did enjoy the overall book!