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 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 actuallygrows 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? – Goodreads
Full disclosure: I didn’t start liking this book until I was about 2/3 in. Up until then, everything annoyed me. Karou’s name. The instalove. The vague descriptions of what was going on. How obnoxiously perfect she was (FOR NEARLY AN ENTIRE PAGE):
“Karou was, simply, lovely. Creamy and leggy, with long azure hair and the eyes of a silent-movie star, she moved like a poem and smiled like a sphinx. Beyond merely pretty, her face was vibrantly alive, her gaze always sparkling and luminous, and she had a birdlike way of cocking her head, her lips pressed together while her dark eyes danced, that hinted at secrets and mysteries. Karou was mysterious. She had no apparent family, she never talked about herself…” – Page 78, Daughter of Smoke & Bone
When Kiesha raved about this, I thought okay. I love me some fantasy. So when I spotted it on a Kindle deal, I figured $1.99 was a good deal.
I mean, now that I’m finished, I’m hooked and already into book two. But it took a while. In retrospect, though, it was a beautifully written, sophisticated fantasy book. Yes, it’s young adult, but it isn’t patronizing like some books.
At the beginning, the characters annoyed me. By the end, I realized how deep and complex they really were. It was kind of like a friendship—they might be annoying at first, but once you get to know them better you enjoy their company.
If you’re an avid hater of instalove (*raises hand*), don’t discount this book when it seems to happen. By the end, you’ll brush that dirt off your shoulder and realize that it makes sense for this story.
Once it really got going, I was swept up in the seraphim (angels)/chimaera (beast/human hybrids) mythology and history and war. It was heartbreaking, violent, hateful, and intense. You uncover tiny secrets as the books moves along, which pulls you in deeper and makes it difficult to set down.
Overall, I enjoyed how unique this book was. I wish it would have pulled me in faster, though, so I rated it a 3.5/5.