Little Brown, 432 pages
"Once upon a time, an angel and devil fell in love. It did not end well. Around the world black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who crept through a slit in the sky. In a 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 otherworldly war. Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbook with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on "errands;" she speaks many languages not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That's one question that haunts her that she is about to find out. When one of the strangers--beautiful, haunted Akiva--fixes his fire-colored 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?"
I couldn't wait to get my hands on Daughter of Smoke and Bone. There has been an outpouring of positive reviews about this book, and after reading it, I understand why. Daughter of Smoke and Bone takes books about angels and demons to whole different level. Of course, I have read Lauren Kate's, Becca Fitzpatrick's, and Cassandra Clare's take on these characters (of which I love Cassandra Clare's work), but what makes Daughter of Smoke and Bone so amazing is that it clearly stands out from all of those books. It is a completely new take where the angels aren't always the good guys, and the demons aren't always the bad guys, which are my favorite kinds of books! What is even more fascinating is that Laini Taylor toys with the idea that everyone is a bad character. Intriguing? I thought so!
The world building within this book is breathtaking. The worlds are lush, so much so that you can almost feel the blue feathers Karou plays with in Brimstone's store. What is also fascinating is that the real world and fictional worlds mesh so well in the book. Laini Taylor does not try to take our world and add fictional elements to it. Instead, she creates an entirely different world that coexists with our own, which I think adds a bit of believability into the book.
By far, what will draw you into this book the most is the mystery of Karou's past. Right away in the first chapter you become intrigued with Karou, a girl with natural blue hair that draws strange pictures and has a bunch of demons for family members. Who is she? Almost the entire books deals with the question of Karou's identity, which, you guessed it, is extremely important to the storyline. All I have to say is that once you go through and discover Karou's past, you will be officially hooked into the plot from then on. Her past is absolutely achingly beautiful, as is that of Akiva's. How their pasts entwine is even more beautiful.
The only reason I am not giving this book a full five stars is because it is clearly one of those first in a series books. There is so much setting up and explaining in this book that I simply wished for more action. Nevertheless, I have no doubt that the next books in the series are going to be absolutely gorgeous and breathtaking.
Rating: 4.5 stars - I really, really, really liked it, and am anxiously waiting for a sequel, but can't quite give it four or five stars, so I decided to compromise! :)