sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

June 18, 2012

into the stacks: daughter of smoke and bone
posted by soe 2:44 am

Once upon a Time Reading Challenge VIDaughter of Smoke and Bone, by Laini Taylor

From the jacket:
“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 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 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.”

My take: Karou lives a double life. By day, she is an art student in Prague, hanging out with her best friend, Zuzana, at the Poison Kitchen, filling her sketchbook with pictures of fantastical creatures. But at night, she serves as the international courier for the real-life versions of the characters she draws — Brimstone, the Wishmonger, who trades wishes for teeth; chimaera Issa, Yasri, and Twiga; and tiny, bird-like Kishmish — the only family she has ever known.

It’s a stressful life for a young woman, but she’s trying to balance it all until an assignment in Marrakesh goes seriously wrong. An angel named Akiva, sent to destroy Brimstone and all those who help him, catches Karou doing business with a broken-down scholar and chases her back to Brimstone’s door, but not before seriously wounding her. She, in turn, discovers a terrible secret of Brimstone, who throws her out of his lair. But when Kishmish arrives at her apartment carrying the wishbone Brimstone has always worn, she knows something is seriously wrong.

Karou will travel the world and face all manner of evil to find out what has happened to her family. But when she finds out all of what has transpired and when Akiva tracks her to Prague, will she find the inner strength and hope to carry on?

This book got a lot of buzz last year when it came out, which I expect will be revived later this fall when the second novel in the series is released. Karou is a tough chick and an appealingly damaged heroine. She’s the sort of character you don’t actually want to be, but the kind you wouldn’t mind being the best friend of. It made me want to visit Prague, vividly described, as were all the settings in the book. It was original and compelling — and I found it hard to put it down — but I think in the end that the story was so dark that I liked it less than I had hoped I would. Not, of course, that that will keep me from giving the sequel a chance.

Pages: 418

This book fills the fantasy category of the Once upon a Time VI reading challenge.

Category: books. There is/are 2 Comments.

I recently read this too, finally – I quite liked it, and now, yes, want to go to Prague!!

Comment by jenn 06.18.12 @ 6:26 am

@jenn: We should go!

Comment by soe 06.25.12 @ 1:33 am