Title: Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1)
Author: Laini Taylor
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 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 picked this book up for one reason – Laini Taylor wrote it. Her Dreamdark: Blackbringer was my absolute favorite book when I was younger – as in, I checked out three books from the library, and instead of reading them all, I read Blackbringer three times. So I was absolutely thrilled to find out she wrote another book.
Unfortunately, I didn’t like this book nearly as much as I liked Blackbringer.
Karou wasn’t really a bad character. A little lax on the morals side, sure, but not bad. She was a loner, and stubborn, not inclined to take anyone’s advice once she has her heart set on something. She was also not good at giving up. She doesn’t make the list of top favorite characters, but she was fun to follow around.
Zuzanna, Karou’s best friend, was awesome. She wasn’t in a whole lot of the book, but she was such a fun character, I wish she was in more of it. She was fiesty but caring, and was supportive of Karou even when she didn’t know what exactly was going on. Sure, she had her little flaws, but overall, she was a perfect best friend.
Strangely enough, I didn’t really like Akiva. I figure it must have something to do with the way he was written, because theoretically, he sounds like the kind of character I would like. Born and raised to fight, but with dreams of peace, which he gave up on because his partner in dreaming was executed. I can’t put my finger on exactly why I didn’t like him, I just didn’t.
The plot was only so-so for me. The “who or what is Karou?” question was interesting, as was Karou trying to manage her double life as Chimaera’s errand girl and gifted art student. But once Akiva showed up and the story moved into the romance angle, I didn’t like it quite so much. Yes, there was a very good reason for the insta-love, but I didn’t like it, nor did I like how large a part of the plot it was.
One thing I definitely have to give this book kudos for is the writing. It’s poetic – but not cheesy, overly wordy, trying-to-sound-literary poetic. More like elegant, graceful, beautiful poetic.
Overall, I liked the characters for the most part (actually, except for Akiva, I didn’t have a problem with any of them), and I loved the writing, but the plot was just “meh” for me. I’m not sure if I’m going to read the sequel, Days if Blood and Starlight. Honestly, I wish Laini Taylor had just written another sequel to Blackbringer.