Series: Daughter of Smoke & Bone #1
Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy/Paranormal Romance
Page Length: 418 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
About Daughter of Smoke and Bone (via Goodreads):
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 grown 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 actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's 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?
The world-building, though not as emphasized in the first half of the book, was one of my absolute favorite parts about Daughter of Smoke and Bone. As each tidbit of information was revealed about the magic system and the other worlds beyond our own, I was drawn further into the story's intricate web of tales. The magic system was so intriguing, otherworldly, and gloriously refreshing. I'd never read about anything quite like it. In addition to the other worlds Taylor built, however, I was also captivated by Prague and the many places Karou travelled throughout the novel. I actually really want to go to Prague now, even though I won't be able to find my own Akiva there to greet me.
The characters were so wonderfully eccentric and I loved them all dearly. I was so fascinated by the chimaera, seraphim, and even all the humans Taylor incorporated into the story, as well as their backgrounds and the history behind everything. I especially loved Karou. She might be one of my favorite protagonists out there! She's just so spunky, sassy, and overall fabulous! I LOVE HER. AND AKIVA. I LOVE HIM TOO. I LOVE THEM BOTH INDIVIDUALLY AND TOGETHER. THEY WERE JUST SO BRILLIANT AND ROMANTIC AND *fans self* PERFECTION.
Another thing I loved about the characters is that none of them are truly "bad guys". Throughout the novel, readers learn both sides of the story, and the lines are so blurred and grey. It's not as simple as black and white. There's hundreds of years of strife and it's hard (if not impossible) to pinpoint who's to blame. And it's brilliant. There is no true villain, except perhaps the concept of war itself.
Everything about Daughter of Smoke and Bone was so elegant and beautiful. The writing style was captivating, the descriptions gorgeously vivid, and the characters vibrant, deep, and perhaps a bit peculiar. Yet I soaked it all in and loved the story with every fiber of my being.