Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1
Also in this series: Days of Blood and Starlight, Dreams of Gods and Monsters
on September 27, 2011
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Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.
In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.
And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.
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 actuallygrows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.
When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery 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?
“Hope can be a powerful force. Maybe there’s no actual magic in it, but when you know what you hope for most and hold it like a light within you, you can make things happen, almost like magic.”
This book is an absolute gem. I read a lot of books, especially in the YA paranormal romance/fantasy genre, and this book blew me away. The writing is so fluid and confident, and the storytelling is brilliantly done. I love how the first three chapters are about Karou and her “normal” life in Prague, just hinting at a strange otherworld that could merely be apart of her imagination, then in the next chapter it hits you in the face with a batch of bizarre. You don’t even meet the romantic interest till at least 1/3 of the way through the book. Karou and Akiva don’t meet till, maybe 1/2 way through. The romance is so well timed, building tension through most of the book until the big reveal near the last quarter.
I love the world Taylor creates; it’s probably my favorite thing about the book. The settings in this novel are fascinating and very much off-the beaten path. Everything teeters on the edge of terrifying and creepy, but keeps you just enough in the safe and comfortable zone to keep you absolutely enthralled. You are never sure quite how far or how weird something is going to get, which really keeps everything quite interesting. And everything is so inconspicuous. It just creeps up on you like it’s this completely normal thing, when in reality, it’s the most bizarre thing in the world. Taylor so wraps you up in the world that you don’t even realize that what is happening is so abnormal until it’s over. You put the book down, look at that beautiful cover and think “wait…what did I just read??” Complete and utter brilliance, that’s what.
“With the infinite patience of one who has learned to live broken, he awaited her return.” THANK GOODNESS FOR NO LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT. Yes, there is definitely obsession at first sight, but once you finish the book, you understand why. No insta-love here. In fact, there’s a rather nice star-crossed lovers story underneath all that bizarre-ness. Akiva’s a sly dog. A very romantic sly dog. I just wanted to give him a big hug, poor guy. He’s been through a lot.
“Love is a luxury.”
“No. Love is an element.”
An element. Like air to breathe, earth to stand on.
Since writing this review, I have already read the book again. And I don’t often read books multiple times, especially not within such a short time of reading them the first time. But I stand by this original review. Utterly enchanting. I don’t know how or why I picked this book up the first time, but I am so grateful I did. I want to re-read it now just seeing this review. It’s really that good.