Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love.
It did not end well.
A young adult fantasy about angels and devils falling in love? Sounds a lot like your typical trashy, angsty romance novel, huh? Oh, but how wrong you’d be. This is definitely one of the best young adult fantasy novels I’ve ever read. It’s sophisticated – the writing is rich and the storytelling is masterful. This was my first Laini Taylor novel and I was not disappointed.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone is very similar to our story of Romeo and Juliet. Two star crossed lovers who, due to unfortunate circumstances, can never be together (try as they might). BUT this one has a refreshing mythological twist, filled with epic battles and heartbreaking nuances.
Our protagonist, Karou, lives a double life. On the one hand, she’s a seventeen-year-old art student in Prague; on the other, errand-girl to a monstrous creature who is the closest thing she has to family. Raised half in our world, half in ‘Elsewhere’, she has never understood Brimstone’s dark work – buying teeth from hunters and murderers – nor how she came into his keeping. She is a secret even to herself, plagued by the sensation that she isn’t whole. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out. Now the doors to Elsewhere are closing, and Karou must choose between the safety of her human life and the dangers of a war-ravaged world that may hold the answers she has always sought. Dun dun dun dunnnnnn.
The way that Taylor weaves this story is genius. She leaves clues but always keeps us guessing (in the best way possible).
Let’s talk about the world building for a moment.
Laini Taylor is a mastermind. Like how does she come up with this stuff? I don’t want to mention much because I do believe it’s better to go into this book barely knowing anything. But know this: the magic, creatures, and world building in this book are unique, complex, and never info-dumpy.
Unfortunately, there is one simple reason why I can’t give this book five stars: the romance. Or rather because of the romantic interest. I love Karou’s character – she’s quirky, bright, and a total badass. Akiva on the other hand is… boring. There. I said it! I found him so awfully boring. He’s this brooding, humourless, dull character (and perhaps for good reason – considering his past) and I found no reason to ship them aside from this “otherworldly pull” they have towards each other. No flirting. No banter. None!
Regardless, this was still an incredible read for me and I would recommend it to anyone who can appreciate quality writing and story-telling.
My rating: ★★★★✩
I’m currently reading book two, Days of Blood and Starlight, and I’m liking it even more than this one.
I’ll leave you with a final quote:
Have you ever asked yourself, do monsters make war, or does war make monsters?
Happy reading! Until next time,