DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE
ISBN - 978-1-444-72266-6
FIRST PUBLISHED - 2011
PUBLISHERS - Hachette
PAGES - 432
GENRE - Young Adult
BINDING - Paperback
SOURCE - Publishers
AUTHOR - Laini Taylor
SYNOPSIS - [From the book cover]
ERRAND REQUIRING IMMEDIATE ATTENTION. COME.
The note was on vellum, pierced by the talons of the almost-crow that delivered it. Karao read the message. "He never says please", she sighed, but she gathered up her things.
When Brimstone called, she always came.
In general, Karao has managed to keep her two lives in balance. 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.
Now the doors of Elsewhereare closing, and Karao 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.
EXCERPT - She held her coffee mug in one hand and clutched her coat closed with the other. An artist's portfolio was slung over her shoulder, and her hair - loose, long and peacock blue - was gathering a lace of snowflakes.
Just another day.
A snarl, rushing footfall, and she was seized from behind, pulled hard against a man's broad chest as hands yanked her scarf askew and she felt teeth - teeth - against her neck.
Her attacker was nibbling her.
FL Speak - Wow! First of all, the cover of the book makes you want to pick it up and read it. And then when you see that Patrick Rothfuss mentioned that he wished he wrote this, you know you're in for a treat.
I generally tend to avoid YA novels. They have less substance, less imagination and far more romance [well in most of the books that I've managed to complete]. But, I was hooked to Karao from page 1. She is brilliant, she's weird, she's mysterious, she's an artist, she has blue hair and lots of tattoos, she's hilarious and she may not be human.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone takes you on a wild ride of emotions, laughter and imagination. She's young and an art student in Prague. She also does some errands for Brimstone, who is like her surrogate father. But Brimstone is a chimera, which is something of a nightmare for normal folks like you and me. Half human, half vivid-imaginative-animal, they're enough to stop your heart just be looking at them. But then, they're Karao's family. Demons they might be, but you can tolerate them until ofcourse you think that they are vile and cruel and have tricked Karao into slavery with mumbo jumbo sorcery. So to know that, you have to read further.
On a personal note, I liked Brimstone and the other Chimeras. Anyway, getting back to the story, Karao was raised by Brimstone and one day while on an errand for him, she's attacked by an angel. Yeah, a real life handsome frigging angel. Apparently Angels and Chimeras are sworn enemies, which makes Karao a collaborator with the enemy. But what the angel Akiva, didn't realize was that the puny mortal Karao had enough power in her mysterious tattoos to stop him.
And thus begins the fascination for Avika and start of troubles for Karao. The gateway to the other world is permanently closed (again thanks to those angels) and the war between the Chimera and Angels is reaching a conclusion. As Avika and Karao get to know each other, layers of Karao's unknown parentage and the world of Chimera are peeled in front of her eyes. And the truth may shun Avika away from her life or lead to his death.
Laini Taylor has written a spellbinding tale. The eternal war between Angels and Chimera rages on but Avika and Karao might be the central point on how the war might end. If it ends. But a final revelation by Avika may have already doomed whatever future there might have been. I'll stop here. There are just so many amazing things to say but unless you read it, you won't feel it. Am not going to give you the end.
I'm telling you now to go and pick up this book. And then thank me later for giving you this review. Laini taylor reminds me of Deborah Harkness. Both have written a stellar first novel of a series/trilogy. It would be exciting to see how Karao and Avika fare in the coming conflict. And hope, if there is, is fleeting.
My Rating - 4.5 stars
PRICE - INR 350/-