Sunday, October 23, 2011

Daughter of Smoke and Bone

I consider my self a fairly creative person.  I mean, I can come up with a few good ideas, make a few things, and say a few funny things.  But, let me tell you, after entering the world Laini Taylor created in Daughter of Smoke and Bone (watch the trailer), I realize that I am bland.  Boring.  Vanilla ice cream at best, people.  This lady's mind creates the most amazing images, characters, and situations.  I imagine a movie of this book would be just as visually stunning as Avatar.  I kid you not.

Karou might look like this.
The main character in this tale, Karou is a mystery.  She is a girl with blue hair and lots of tattoos who is young, suspiciously independent, and a fantastic artist.  She lives in Prague with only a best friend to comfort her and an ex-boyfriend to annoy her, but she also has access to portals that transport her to another realm where she is a courier for the "wishmonger", Brimstone. 

Brimstone and the others at his shop are chimera.  Each of them is an amalgam of many different kinds of animal and human aspects.  While in the world of the chimera, Karou never ventures outside of the wishmonger's shop.  She remembers a childhood of sleeping in the shop and befriending the chimera inside these confines.  But as she grew older, Brimstone insisted that she live in the human world.  So, Karou continues her life.  She pretends to live with her grandmother so children's services does not take over her life.  She avoids questions she can't answer, like where did she come from? and who are her parents?  She continues completing Brimstone's errands which, get this, require her to travel far and wide and collect teeth.  Yes, I said teeth.

Brimstone might
look like this
The collection of teeth is not always easy.  Karou is often put in life threatening situations, like the day she encountered Akiva.  Akiva is a seraph.  The problem is that the chimera and the seraph are sworn enemies who have been at war since, well, since forever.  When Karou and Akiva first meet, Karou has no idea what he is, and she is a mystery to him as well.

Akiva might look like this.
But, when the portals to that lead to Brimstone's shop are closed, Karou desperately wants to return to the only family she has known.  Her quest to discover how to reunite with them leads her back to Akiva, and she is able to learn the secret of her past and of a world she could never have imagined.

This is really a book that pulls the reader in to its magic.  I'm not generally one for the sappy romantic parts of anything, but the passage in the book that says:
     "Love is a luxury."
     "No.  Love is an element."
     An element. Like air to breathe, earth to stand on.

Now, that is beautiful.  Just beautiful.

My other favorite line of the book is the one that says: To be continued.  Bring it on, Laini Taylor, bring it on.

*Being vanilla ice cream, you obviously realize I didn't draw any of these awesome pictures.  I used Google to find them.  You can too. 


  1. It is hard to describe how fantastic this book is and what a pleasure it was to read, I look forward to the next instalment. I wouldn’t call yourself vanilla, if even the great Patrick Rothfuss has commended this book. I too wonder what a cinematic representation of the book would be like, but worry whether it would be able to convey the evocative emotion that Kauro and Akvia have for one another.

  2. I was thrilled when I discovered this series via Goodreads. I agree with you completely; the author has created an amazing world and set of characters. It's a different kind of love story and I'm so glad I read it!