As readers, we search for those sometimes elusive books that stay with us and resonate long after we’ve read the last page and closed the cover. Those books we return to again and again for that special something that grabbed hold of our psyche and refused to let go. For me, one of those special books is DAUGHTER OF SMOKE & BONE by Laini Taylor.
If the eye-catching cover hadn’t been enough to draw my attention, the title sure was. It hinted at something mysterious, something painful yet hopeful. And it didn’t disappoint.
This is the poignant tale of a young woman on the cusp of adulthood, a brilliant artist in a modern world, yet the only family she’s ever known exist Elsewhere and though she visits them often, entering through common doors around the world that are enchanted, her life is permeated with unanswered questions about who she really is and where she comes from. Because the hamsas in her palms and the chimaera she calls family aren’t part of the typical human teenage experience. And there’s no reason for the bone-deep attraction and comfortable familiarity she feels around a coldly beautiful, mysterious fiery-winged seraph … is there?
Karou, which means “hope” in the chimaera language, is a seventeen-year-old artist living in Prague. She’s also the courier for Brimstone, the enigmatic chimaera who raised her, a collector of teeth. But what he does with the teeth is what Karou burns to know.
When she enters the forbidden, shadowy door at the other end of Brimstone’s office that has been left uncharacteristically unguarded, her life and the lives of her chimaera family change in ways she never could have imagined and the truths she’s spent years wishing and searching for bring to mind the proverb “Be careful what you wish for.”
A fantastical blend of romance, myth, magic, and the search for one’s true self, this YA fantasy novel struck a cord in my imagination that’s still strumming today, a year after I first picked it up and devoured the words within.
Through Taylor’s mastery and obvious devotion to imagery, my love for the English language was renewed. I envisioned Prague, a city suspended within the grasp of history, and hosts of chimaera danced their way through my imagination. I laughed and cried, raged at Akiva for his heartbroken acts of vengeance and Karou’s insatiable, mistrustful curiosity. And I exclaimed with dismay when I read the last word, realizing that it’d be 12 WHOLE MONTHS before I could continue reading Karou and Akiva’s story!
Somehow, I survived, reread DAUGHTER OF SMOKE & BONE after the release of the sequel, DAYS OF BLOOD & STARLIGHT, which cover and title are equally compelling, and fell in love all over again! And now I have to survive ANOTHER 12 months until the final, as yet unnamed, book in this trilogy is released. Oy vey!
If you haven’t read this book, stop what you’re doing and go buy it now. It doesn’t matter if you buy the printed or e-book version. Just get it and read it. And then read the sequel. Repeat. If you don’t love both books, there’s no hope for you as a reader.