Book Review Wednesday: Daughter of Smoke and Bone (four stars)

Posted: March 19, 2014 in Book Reviews
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There is one word for this book: Awesome.

I’ve read quite a few paranormal romances the past couple of years, but this one ranks right up there with my favorites. I love the world it’s set in. It’s just such an original idea when so many books are variations on the same story. I won’t tell you all of it, that’d be telling, but it’s a different look at angels and demons. I recognize snippets from a few different religions and cultures., but it put them together in an interesting way.

Here’s the summary:

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 beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery 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?

Prague was a great location for this story. The descriptions were rich, but not overused. The writing was great, and I loved how it seemed to be inspired by old fairy and folk tales. Remember those really dark fairy tales you read about mysterious beasts and witches who will give you wishes in exchange for things like hearts and souls? Reading this reminded me of them a lot, particularly old Japanese tales. Only, this story is very much a YA fantasy romance. It’s an interesting mix.

I will warn you about one thing.  When I started the book I thought I’d hate it. The opening was very jarring and difficult to follow. Then a chapter or two in and it really started to flow. I’m not sure if the writing smoothed out, or I needed to get used to the writing style, but it was worth it. So if you experience the same problem stick with it and see if it gets better.

Also there’s not as much going on as I’m used to. A lot of it is stumbling around confused looking for answers. There’s action, and it gets big in places, but there’s also a lot of standing around not doing much. That said, the answers when they’re given are pretty mind-blowing.

Characters is another problem area. The characters are cool and quirky, but there isn’t much development in secondary characters, or even in some of the bigger ones like Akiva. I liked all the characters, but nothing much changed about them.

The ending: could be better. There’s a big reveal that’s cool, but it’s a lot of talking. Like I said, not much action in this book.

Overall though, I enjoyed it. The world building was my favorite part. It’s worth a read for that alone. The characters are likable, and the plot is pretty good. I think my problem with the plot is it started out so promising, then the action fizzled out.

My recommendation: worth a read. It has its flaws, but it has a lot of good parts too.

Link to more reviews on the book:


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