Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone, #1
Author: Laini Taylor
Pages: 418 (Hardcover, US)
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
Release Date: September 27, 2011
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?
Daughter of Smoke and Bone is 100% amazing from beginning to end! It was unlike anything I had ever read and was not what I was expecting.
"Karou didn't add that she didn't need a Taser; she was more than capable of defending herself without electricity. She'd had an unusual education."
"In fact, her hair did grow out of her head that color, pure as ultramarine straight from the paint tube, but that was a truth she told with a certain wry smile, as if she were being absurd."
How could I not be immediately drawn in and intrigued by Karou after those small descriptions. Right off the bat we get bits and pieces that show that Karou is not like other girls, or other humans. The supernatural world where she was raised is dark, twisted, and utterly fascinating. Even Karou isn't sure of who (or what) she is exactly, and before she can find out she is ripped from the only family she's ever known.
Then comes Akiva, an angel of sorts. Good guy or bad guy? Karou's friend or foe? Does he have the answers that she's looking for? Am I suppose to like him? There's an air of mystery around him, and I couldn't quite figure him out at first. On the one hand, he's partially responsibly for blocking Karou from her home. But on the other hand, he didn't kill her when he had the chance.
I loved how I never knew where exactly the story was going. It was full of surprises which kept me hooked until the very end. At first it seemed to be following the typical YA Urban Fantasy format: slightly odd teenager comes into their otherworldly powers, fights bad guys, falls in love with the character you can't quite figure out. But then about two-thirds in, it changes. Suddenly we're thrust into Eretz, the fantastical realm. It's so beautifully done that I never wanted to leave! This book seriously wowed me and left me in awe.