Monday, June 24, 2013

Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #1)Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Karou is a blue-haired artist in Prague whose free time is spent running errands for monsters - until one day she is attacked by a seraphim and beings to learn the truth about herself and her own world. Karou and the seraphim Akiva feel an instant attraction to each other, but they are on opposite sides of a centuries-long conflict and the rift may be too deep to cross.

Karou struck me as a bit of a Jack Reacher-esque super-character: she speaks a dozen languages flawlessly, is a talented artist, knows martial arts, and is impossibly beautiful and skinny. This makes her a little tough to like (I'm someone who got sick of Paul Atreides in Dune because he basically turns into Jesus at the end, and overly perfect characters are a tad boring*.) She also has mysterious origins

Akiva has fiery wings, which immediately puts me into his corner. Perfect people are boring, but kick-ass angels are another matter.**
Castiel from Supernatural
Akiva's been bred as a soldier and years before lost the love of his life, a woman named Madrigal. He's gorgeous, deadly, and trying to kill Karou because of her association with her family of monsters. (So the scene where he watches her sleep has a much different vibe than Twilight's love-stalking. Akiva is just stalking-stalking.Which makes it...okay?)

It's difficult to remain objective about this series because I've heard so many raves about it from friends. The romance is suitably tortured and swoony, the action intriguing, and the side characters appealing (particularly Brimstone and his fellow chimeras). Karou's world is dark and fascinating: I particularly loved the Prague setting, and hope that the other worlds get more complex and fleshed-out in the next two books.

The backstory slowly unfolds and sheds light onto current events as well as the way Brimstone's creepy magic (which uses teeth to make wishes) works, and I'm intrigued to know what happens next. I'll certainly pick up Days of Blood & Starlight, and eagerly await Dreams of Gods & Monsters for 2014.

*Except Jesus. He's great.
**"My true form is approximately the size of your Chrysler Building."

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