So I really have to be one of the last people in existence to pick up Laini Taylor’s work, but I finally did it. I think I avoided it for so long because I was very unsure about some of the paranormal aspects, and I didn’t think I’d like it. However, I kept hearing such great things that I thought it was worth a shot. I ended up really enjoying it, so I’m glad to write a short review for anyone else who may have missed this one.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone follows Karou, a human girl with blue hair that grows out of her head blue and who also draws monsters in her art, that may or may not be real. Karou doesn’t know much about her past or where she came from, but her life gets super complicated when black handprints start appearing around the world and she encounters a mysterious stranger named Akiva. Their meeting will threaten what she’s held dear for so many years, but it will open a door to her story.
Karou is a very intriguing character. She pretty much knows what she’s about, even if she’s not sure how she came about. She’s sassy enough to like, but also unsure and fearful enough to be endearing. Her life is super interesting, and it took me awhile to wrap my head around it. Her life, while already peculiar, gets even moreso throughout the course of the book, and she somewhat takes it in stride, though she also has moments that any sane person would while trying to adjust.
This wasn’t my normal type of book, considering it winds up being somewhat of a paranormal romance. That being said, Taylor’s writing is so beautiful I barely even noticed that the subject matter was not necessarily something I usually liked. Her lyrical writing sucked me in to the story and to the characters’ lives, leading me to understanding about all of them and the worlds they inhabit. No matter what’s happening in the story, the writing is simply gorgeous throughout.
The story also made the book hard to put down. It has high points and low points, action scenes, and quiet scenes. For the most part, it was very well balanced. I desperately wanted to know Karou’s secrets and I desperately wanted to know what would happen to all the characters, most of whom I came to enjoy and love over the course of the book. Near the end, there is a load of exposition that kind of weighs the story down, and seems overly much to just throw together in the end. While it seemed oddly placed in the story structure to me, I did appreciate how the amount of exposition near the end allowed me to fully process the enormity of what the ending of this book meant. It’s hard to process, without the background knowledge the exposition provides…so while I didn’t love so much revelation all at once, I’m thankful it was there. If that makes sense.
Overall, I really liked this book a lot. I’m sorry I put it off for so long, but I’m really excited to read the rest of the series. It was exciting, and beautiful…and had the kind of love story I’m always a sucker for. Laini Taylor’s writing truly makes this book worth it. If you haven’t picked it up yet, and you enjoy fantasy or paranormal books, definitely add it to your list.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars