Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1)by Laini Taylor
Other elements: hope, magic, art, sexy angels, creation myths, a star-crossed-lovers romance, blue hair.
Read it: if you appreciate wonderful writing, vivid description, creative storylines, magic, Prague, art, or romance between people who are very different.
Overall rating: 9.75/10
I loved this book. A friend (a fellow book-nerd whose taste I trust implicitly) recommended it to me. Before I got my hands on it, several more people recommended it to me. The day I finally started reading it, I began telling another book-nerd friend what I was reading and she burst in, “no way! I’m reading that too!”
The universe that Taylor creates in this novel is stunning. It’s original, intricate, and fascinating. The characters live in our world, but there’s magic in it and other worlds that are reachable through it. The other worlds have their own culture, their own mythology, their own wars and prejudices. It is the intersection of these worlds and tensions that lead to what happens in Daughter of Smoke and Bone.
Every character in this book – even the ones you only meet for a second – is a detailed, multi-faceted individual. If someone is trying to hurt someone else, you understand why. And the answer is never just “because that guy is evil.” The central plot is a conflict of misunderstandings, secrets discovered too late, and prejudices not seen through in time.
This book also wins my strong-heroine stamp of feminist approval. Karou rocks. She can kick ass physically but it’s also easy to identify with her: she has a creepy ex-boyfriend, gets annoyed when her family asks her to do things, gets in trouble with her friends when she blows them off, and can’t resist using a bit of magic to try dying her hair.
Also: this is less important than the other things I’m raving about (and may deprive me of any gender-equality points I earned in my last paragraph) there are sexy men in this book. They’re not all human, but I enjoyed reading about them and I wouldn’t complain about meeting them.
Speaking of which, this book has some great love scenes. The explicit parts are implied, rather than shown, but it’s very romantic and there are kisses, caresses, sexual tension, and longing.
This is far from a comedic book, but I still found myself chucking a few times a things the characters said. There’s a great quote about essential vs inessential penises that I won’t spoil for you. You’ll know it when you read it.