book review

One might say you have a death wish.

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I can’t tell you how long this trilogy has been sitting on my shelf, just waiting to be cracked opened and devoured. I have to say, it was worth the wait. Although I’m a bit late to join all the hype when all these books originally came out, I’m ecstatic that I do not have to wait for each one to be published.

While I did enjoy this book, thoroughly, this particular review is a split review; and I will explain in a bit what exactly I mean.

First of all, look at those GORGEOUS covers! While I did not purchase all three at once, I was drawn to the cover artwork for “Daughter of Smoke and Bone” immediately. Choosing a book solely on cover artwork can go 50/50- it’s a chance I’m usually willing to take, and in this case, I’m completely okay with choosing this book for my bookshelf’s vanity.

Laini Taylor is a new author for me. Again, I honestly could not tell you how long this trilogy has been sitting on my shelf, and also her first in her Dreamdark series, Blackbringer. I cannot tell you my method for the madness when I pick books. If it’s an author I know and love, it’s a given that any new book is coming home with me. Usually though covers grab my attention first, and the synopsis USUALLY doesn’t make a difference to me (in fact I try HARD to avoid reading those). Taylor hit the mark on all three books being gorgeous.

The book is broken up into 4 parts. Each part starts with what I’m going to call an invitation to the chapters; something to get your mind thinking where the chapters are going to take you in the story. Below is how each starts:

  1. Once upon a time, a devil and an angel fell in love. It did not end well.
  2. Once upon a time, a little girl was raised by monsters. But angels burned the doorways to their world, and she was all alone.
  3. Once upon a time, an angel lay dying in the mist. And a devil knelt over him and smiled.
  4. Once upon a time, there were two moons, who were sisters. Nitid was the goddess of tears and life, and the sky was hers. No one worshiped Ellai but secret lovers.

. . . I mean come on!!! How can you not get hooked just from number 1! Which is how it happened for me. I was hooked from page 1, and ripped through the book like there was no tomorrow.

Meet Karou- the 17 year old girl, trying to find herself. . . .in art school . . . in Prague. Did I mention she’s self sufficient? There’s no living with parents here for this girl! Karou happens to stand out, mainly for her electric blue coif and her random tattoos. For the most part, Karou is your typical teenager; dealing with love and heartbreak, going to school, being a best friend, and trying to figure out where she fits in to the world. Unfortunately for Karou, she doesn’t even know who she is, or if she has a family.

At the art school, Karou is infamous for her eclectic sketch books. Karou enjoys drawing chimera figures, a combination of animals and man that she claims have been her only family. With a quirky smile, people just pass her off as having an active imagination. By throwing up that quirky smile, Karou is able to pull off the absolute truth, something that is mimicked in her tattoos.

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As far as Karou is concerned, her family consists of Brimstone, Issa, Yasri, Twiga, and Kishmish. (You need to read the book to know the description of each character). Brimstone is a connoisseur in teeth; both animal and human, and Karou his ever devout errand runner. Brimstone sends Kishmish to alert Karou of an errand. Karou then travels to the one door in Prague that allows her into Brimstone’s shop. Issa (the “gatekeeper”) answers the knock, and allows Karou in to “Elsewhere”, where she learns where in the world she’s to go to collect teeth.

It is while Karou is collecting teeth that she starts noticing burned hand prints on the door’s to “Elsewhere”. It is on her last errand that she discovers the Seraph have returned and are trying to shut down the doors for good.

Now- my explanation on a split review:

Why this book deserves a 4 star rating

While I overall enjoyed this book, and will continue to enjoy the series, the common underlying story line is more of a “been there, done that”. It’s the classic tale of girl meets boy. Girl has a strong feeling about the boy, and vice versa. Boy thinks he’s no good for the girl, girl fights his feelings and wants to be close to the boy. I realize I am reading a young adult book, but sooner or later, I’d like to read something without that underlying scenario. Why I didn’t get less than four? The hopeless romantic in me loves a good love story.

Why this book deserves a 5 star rating

Even though it takes place in Prague for a good bit of the book, it’s the description of “Elsewhere” and “behind the door” and the backstory that threw me into the book. This aspect is never overdone for me. There is nothing I love more than being transported into a new world, and being able to “see” it in my mind. I couldn’t get enough of the backstory, I couldn’t get enough of the world, of the legends, of the creatures. That alone makes me want to continue reading the series.

If you need a weekend read, that’s quite the page turner, I highly recommend this book. I didn’t want to put it down- unfortunately I was forced to put it down due to adult responsibilities. Nevertheless, “Daughter of Smoke and Bone” will ultimately knock your teeth out, and leave you wanting more.

4-Star-Rating

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