Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I was reticent to read this book. It’s been up for many awards and hyped to the moon. All too often I find the book just puzzling as to how it got such glowing reviews. Not so with this. It’s an excellent book and I can say that even though it has two tropes I do not like (One I’ll discuss, the other no because it would ruin the big reveal) and the fact it doesn’t really end per se. You’re definitely going to have to get the next one.
That said, Ms. Taylor describes things so well, it just sweeps you away. Kaoru is a young woman in Prague who is an orphan with no real idea where she’s from. She’s a wonderful artist and is studying at an art school while dealing with her vain ex, Kaz, and her fierce friend, Zuzana. Karou also runs errands for Brimstone, collecting teeth. Brimstone, somewhat monstrous in appearance, a chimera, has raised her. She thinks he’s a wishmonger and he grants her endless little wishes but not the big ones she wants because they can be dangerous. Brimstone isn’t much on questions, especially what are the teeth for.
The first third of the novel, almost the first half, is Kaoru’s life and more and more is reveal, slowly like peeling an onion. Then she meets Akiva, an angel who wants to kill her. Surprising even her, the tattoos on her hands have powers she didn’t know about, one that the angel cannot stand against. This meeting throws Kaoru into a tailspin. She’s cut off from Brimstone and the only family she’s ever known and then Akiva truly comes into her life, not as avenging angel but as something else.
And after that, well I don’t want to say too much because it’ll ruin it. The trope I don’t like that is used here is ‘insta-love.’ It makes me roll my eyes. That said, I still enjoyed it (though I enjoyed the first half more. Sorry, I’m just not a romance reader which is why I didn’t mark this down a star. I knew what I was getting into). I wish the ending had been more definitive for at least the first arc but I guess if you consider the first arc as Kaoru finding out who she really is, then it did have an ending but it’s very much not a stand alone. I enjoyed that the angels and demons in this are more aliens (and misinterpreted by humans) than anything religious. I’ll be looking forward to next one.
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