TITLE: Daughter of Smoke and Bone # 1
AUTHOR: Laini Taylor
GENRES: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
PUBLISHER: Little, Brown and Company
DATE READ: January 28, 2016
Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.
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?
From master storyteller and National Book Award finalist Laini Taylor comes a sweeping a modern fantasy about a forbidden love, an ancient and epic battle, and hope for a world remade.
This book is hauntingly beautiful. When I first picked it up, I have no idea that it would take me to another world, a world that is not mundane. A world that is too far from what I expected. A world where Angels and Beasts co-exist but never with equality and never in peace. They’re always in a constant war with each other. And hope seems to have no place in their world. But our main star-crossed lovers were joined together by fate in hopes for a world remade. So I was curious what this “smoke and bone” mean in this book. And who exactly is this daughter of smoke and bone?
Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love. It did not end well.
So this review contains SPOILERS.
This book is beyond compelling. Though I have to admit I was a little bit bored when it started because I feel like it’s slow-paced (and I have no idea what’s going on, I have lots of questions) but as I go on, it slowly builds up and smashed me with some revelations I wasn’t expecting. After finishing this book, I can safely say that this is a wonderful blend of reality and fantasy with a touch of romance and a strong theme; THERE IS ALWAYS HOPE.
So first let me tell you about the story.
This book opened differently. At first, we were in the metropolis Prague, the capital of Czech Republic and not in that magical world I was talking about earlier. And that’s really interesting and kept me curious as to where this would take me. And it’s really wonderful to read a book that was set in the place where beautiful architectural cathedrals and some architectures made from cobblestones can be found. Land of art like what they say.
So our main character Karou, is an art student in Art Lyceum of Bohemia in Prague. But Karou has something special about her. She has blue hair and has spoken lots of language. She also drew strange mythical creatures or characters in her sketchbook; ISSA, a woman with the lower body of a snake, TWIGA, a giraffe-necked creature, YSARI, a creature with a parrot beak, and some ram-horned beast with lion legs named BRIMSTONE.
Karou has been raised as a child by these creatures with human and animal features and they were called chimaera. As far as she knows, she didn’t know who her parents were and these chimaera has been her family ever since. She has hamsas (eye drawing) tattooed into her palms. She’s also able to fulfill small wishes with a necklace given to her by Brimstone and she dashes through magic portals on her errands in different places to gather teeth. She didn’t know what are those for because they never told her. In return, Karou gets to have lots of wishes (like her blue colored hair and fluency in language) using that necklace. There was also a mysterious door that Brimstone goes in and out and Karou was forbidden to go anywhere near it. Little did she know, it was the chimaera’s portal to their world and back to the human world. This was the life that Karou must hide in the mundane life.
Then one day, she was on a mission in Marrakesh and a mysterious and beautiful winged-man with orange fiery eyes tried to kill her. But a sense of familiarity hits the guy as they had the encounter as if he had known Karou for a long time. The man was Akiva, an angel/seraphim who was on a mission to destroy the portals and also kill the chimaera. Karou has managed to escape the near-death experience but leaving her with a tragic truth.
Once upon a time, a little girl was raised by monsters. But angels burned the doorways to their world, and she was all alone.
Then on the second half of the book, we were introduced to another story involving a girl named Madrigal, she’s a chimaera who has lived in Loramendi. Like Karou, she was an orphan and she looks different than the rest of the chimaera. She’s in a human form, beautiful, despite the presence of her horns. Though a warrior, she didn’t like to kill even a seraphim. The chimaera were prisoners of a war-time culture. Most of them are slaves of the seraphim that’s why they were in constant war, a battle of freedom and who will rule their world.
As you go on reading the book, you will find out how each characters relate to each other. How each souls- align, how precious life is and how every decision has a price to pay. This is not the stereotypical angel vs. devil story. It explores much more depth that will surely leave you in awe. And I was in awe because this is a beautiful book over all.
I’m amazed by Laini Taylor’s style of writing because it’s so rich and poetic. The way she narrates the story in the third person perspective is really riveting. Her characters are well developed and the plot is well constructed.
But to be honest, I am not really a fan of the romance here but I did enjoy it. Especially how the romance that exist with the characters are like the story of the moon, Ellai, secret and hidden.
What I like about this book is that in those last few pages in which you thought nothing would happen, it has managed to give us the answers we were looking for. Madrigal’s story was enthralling. And that’s the part of the book that really engrossed me.
And the meaning behind “smoke and bone” was really something to contemplate with.
Wishes are like smoke, they’re vague and unpredictable. They are like the things you wanted to have without putting your mind into it. Like Karou’s blue hair, the way she made her ex suffer. They are easy. Often times, they are forgotten and when you get easily get them, you easily neglect them until they are gone.
While to hope is different. It is something you put your mind into, something you have to work hard for and embrace the impossibility but still believe in it. It is also unpredictable but with a hint of reassurance and it encourage you to have a strong will to achieve it. It comes from inside of us. Like a bone, it is something that support us. Something that make us stand tall and help us to go on.
Love is an element. An element. Like air to breathe, earth to stand on.
In Madrigal, we have seen how she give importance to her wishbone though she knew that it held no power unlike the magic Brimstone can offer. But she cling into it and believed in it as if the only way to make your wishes come true, is to put your will into your hope. Breaking that wishbone with Akiva meant that she had found her hope. Hope for a world remade. And hope is the power/magic itself that all of them have been seeking for.
Brimstone helped us realized what smoke and bone means. I really. really. really. wanted to see more of him. He’s one of my favorite characters in this book.
PS: I HATED CHIRO. THAT MOLLUSK GIRL. AND THIAGO TOO. SO FULL OF HIMSELF. HMP.
This is a beautiful epic tale. I’m excited to read the sequel. That cliffhanger towards the end nearly killed me. *sobs*
MY STAR RATING: