Author: Laini Taylor
Publication Date: September 27th 2011
Publisher: Hachette NZ
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?
I feel like the whole blogosphere is going to be against my review of this! Don't get me wrong, I can see why you all enjoyed it so much but for me, it just wasn't perfect.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone no doubt has amazing and creative world-building. It's set in the lovely city of Prague and that's one thing that sets it apart from all the other young adult books out there. But then we get into the world of Elsewhere and it will blow you away. The amount of detail and depth gone into the creation of this world is astounding! The strange half beast, half human chimaera creatures were expertly crafted and the magic involved had my mouth open in awe at Laini's clever imagination. World-wise, Daughter of Smoke and Bone is on a whole other level!
Karou, our main character, wasn't one of the highlights however. She was certainly an interesting character, with her blue hair and job at Brimstone's shop but the moment she meets Akiva, the fiery winged sexy angel, I found it hard to keep reading. I just couldn't get behind the whole star-crossed lover thing. Sometimes it works for me, but in this case it didn't. It felt overdone and exaggerated and just so… cheesy, for lack of a better word. Akiva especially, was very hard to like. I hated his attitude towards anyone who wasn't Karou. Because of that, I largely preferred the secondary characters in this one and you know when that happens, it's not good. Brimstone and Issa and Zuzana -- they were all so much more likable than our two main protagonists!
The world-building, as I mentioned before is absolutely fantastic but unfortunately we don't get much of it until the last quarter of the book. Until then, I have to admit I found myself a little bored with the whole prospect of Akiva and Karou getting all lovey-dovey. I'm just not the kind of reader who likes mushy romances and by the time we do find out why they're like that, it all feels so predictable and really nothing all that special. I feel like Laini focused too much on the romance between Karou and Akiva instead of the plot that was tossed aside precariously for the two lovebirds.
Overall, Daughter of Smoke and Bone had a strong start but beyond that, I just didn't feel the urge to sit down and read it straight through in one sitting. It wasn't terrible but definitely not something to write home about. I don't know guys, this just wasn't for me but I understand that a lot of you really enjoyed this. Seriously, when this was released my dashboard was full of five star reviews for it. So I guess in the end it all just comes down to the reader.