Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Trigger warnings: The term "gypsies" is used; The word "savages" is used to describe a group of people

SynopsisAround the world, black hand prints 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 grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly 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?

Review: Laini Taylor has a glorious way with words. This was a re-read for me, and it was just as fun as the first time I read it. Karou is great. She owns up to her mistakes, and she makes a lot of them. She is easy to relate to despite living with chimera. Speaking of, the chimera were a large part of why I loved this story. Each character felt unique and necessary to the world. There's a part towards then end of the book where we get a glimpse of the chimera world and, even then, we see the different layers of chimera and how thy influence the world. Another absolute favorite character is Zuze. She is the sassy best friend none of us deserve. She's always willing to put Karou in her place. I'm re-reading this trilogy, so I know she becomes a more important character later on, but she is just wonderful to read in this first book.

The story is unlike anything I've ever read before. I've read other paranormal books and fantasy books since reading these the first time, but Daughter of Smoke and Bone still stands out. The story is set in Prague and the descriptions are vibrant. It's definitely the kind of writing that makes you feel like you're in the story with these characters. Seeing Karou navigate between having a normal, human life and the life with chimera makes for some funny and heart-wrenching scenes. She tries to do things without hurting others, but hurt is inevitable. I will say, having not noticed this the first time, there was some terminology that might negatively affect some readers. The term "gypsies" is used one time. As this is set in Prague, and I don't know how people there speak, it might be a commonly used phrase. It is still good to know that it's there in case anyone who identifies with the Romani community gets hurt. The word "savages" is also used. It's used to describe a certain group of people which has its own negative connotations in our world. Just something to keep in mind in case the use of any of these words is harmful.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone is the start to one of my favorite fantasy adventures.

4 howls