Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1
Karou is an art student with a secret smile and aquamarine hair. She's also been raised by a family of chimera, magical creatures who trade wishes for teeth. But there's something even more incredible about her than she can imagine. However, it will take a drastic change to her already impossible life to bring it to light. And perhaps it's one of those secrets best kept buried.
I have never hated myself more for not reading a book sooner. Daughter of Smoke and Bone is absolutely phenomenal- one of the best fantasy books I have ever read. The storytelling is simply incredible, with perfect pacing, effortless suspense, and a mystery that reveals itself to be more imaginative than I ever would have expected. There are so many twists and turns, and they're done so brilliantly that they're not obvious at all. Just the writing itself is flawless. It's one of those books that leaves you in awe when you remember that a story this amazing came from someone's mind.
Then there's the world-building. Guys, it is absolutely incredible. The political tensions and the descriptions of the city are brilliant, but it's more the specific place that Karou has grown up that is so fascinating. The system of wishes and teeth is both whimsical and occasionally horrific, and I loved that the reader learns about her family and Elsewhere through her artwork. When characters are artists it's always a plus, and DSB is no exception. The only qualm I had with the whole book, though, was that I had some trouble keeping her family straight. I had no issues with Brimstone and Yissa, but I had to flip back to remember the details on the other characters that Karou described when discussing her sketchbook.
However, Taylor is fantastic at characterizations. Karou especially is so well-developed. She's strong and can defend herself (seriously, this girl can kick some ass), but she's also in touch with her emotions. There's a certain vulnerability that makes Karou seem especially real. Thanks to Taylor's little touches (mentions of how she smiles and such), she seems to jump off of the page. Brimstone, too, is a truly interesting character, with so many layers. There is plenty of mystery surrounding him, but Taylor gives the reader a good idea of who he is. Another character I must mention is Zuzana. She's Karou's best friend and the comic relief of the book. Basically, she's hysterical and feisty and awesome. She and Karou's friendship makes Karou relatable, while further giving the reader an insight into Karou's loneliness.
As for the romance in this book, it's beautiful, heartbreaking and perfect. For some reason, I didn't think I'd like it, but I now have another favorite literary couple. A general warning, though: Bring tissues. The love story is so, so poignant and brilliantly developed that your heart it pretty much guaranteed to shatter.
In short, I loved this book. It's yet another novel I should have read much, much, much sooner!
A Quote from the Book: "Have you ever asked yourself, do monsters make war, or does war make monsters?"
Have you read Daughter of Smoke and Bone? Do you plan to? (Hint: You should.)