Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Review by Jacqui Slaney
I was in a bookshop, just generally browsing when I found this book, my bad habit of choosing books by their dust covers and reading the blurb inside kicked in, and I found myself at the till, where the cashier proceeded to gush for ages ( well it seemed ages, it was probably only 5mins) about the virtues of this book. I nodded politely, paid my money and left the shop, thinking that bookshops had become a lot pushier lately.
This is the description of the book: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.
After checking out the reviewers, one of which was John Connolly, I started to think, this book may be something after all, though I was slightly concerned that it maybe aimed at the teenage market. Now I have a whole pile of books to read, but this one intrigue me, so decided to read it straight away- big mistake- I was hooked.
I should add here that it was only a mistake, as I have a sort of plan with myself where I write every other lunchtime, this book made me fail miserably at this. I thought I would just read it travelling to work in the morning and home in the evening, but no, I was hooked on the story and had to read it every chance I had, so it meant my writing schedule went out the window.
I read the book easily in three days, it is not a complicated story, as it is the first in the series, you know you going to end on a cliffhanger and I was right. The writing is intensive, flowing so it pulls you along. The other world is described in short snatches and the reader really wants to learn more. All the character descriptions though sometimes brief, are excellent and the character of Karou is well defined. The reader is caught up in divided loyalties over Karou’s feelings about Akiva, especially following his actions to her other world family. The other world is imaginative and is easily pictured.
If I have one complaint, it is that I wanted to know more about the Chimaeras’ mentioned. However, this didn’t happen, but then again as I said earlier this is the first in a series, so I will just have to hope this is rectified later.
There are also some complaints in reviews saying that everyone is just too perfect, just too beautiful, especially Karou. Well obviously, they did not read the book properly or they would have understood why this is. I cannot explain as I do not want to put in a spoiler here, but personally, I thought it was obvious why the writer had done this.
As you can tell, I really liked the book, and can’t wait for the second, which I hope is as good as this.
9 Out of 10