I recently read Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. It was a pick for March for the Vaginal Fantasy Book Club on Goodreads or Google +. I admit I was reluctant to pick this one up because YA is so all over the place. I don't have much patience for the really angst-ridden, overly sappy romance that is present in a lot of the books. Anyway, after browsing a few reviews on Goodreads, I decided to read it. I have to say I am really glad I did!
Daughter of Smoke and Bone is the story of Karou, a seventeen year old girl living in Prague and attending art school. She is a talented artist, her fellow classmates love to look through her sketchbooks. She draws pictures of fantastical creatures like a woman whose bottom half is that of a snake. What her classmates don't know is that the creatures are real. They are called Chimera, and Karou was raised by them. Brimstone is the main chimera in charge of Karou's care. He runs some kind of business involving buying teeth from various shady characters that visit his shop.
Karou now has her own apartment in Prague and no longer lives in the shop, but occasionally is asked to run errands for Brimstone and collect teeth from people who aren't able to come to the shop. Karou has a friend, Zuzana, the first human friend that Karou has ever had. Karou feels terrible about disappearing and having to lie to her friend, but she would never believe the truth, would she?
While Karou is on assignment for Brimstone, she has a run in with Akiva, a seraphim. In the world where the chimera and seraphim live, they have been at war for centuries. It looks like the war may be encroaching on the human world, or at very least, on Karou's world.
This is a well-crafted world. I like the characters. Karou isn't one of those teenage girls that sees a cute boy and loses herself. She meets Akiva and wonders about him, but she goes on with her life. She is tough and strong, she is able to roll with whatever is thrown at her.
There is a section in the second half of the book that I wasn't as fond of, but I think it's a necessary evil for the series. By the time I reached the end, I immediately downloaded and read the second book in the series. The Days of Blood and Starlight, also by Laini Taylor, continued Karou's story. I won't say much about it here, because I don't want to spoil the first book. But, I thought the second book was even better than the first.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone and Days of Blood and Starlight are appropriate for older teens, there are some sexual situations in both books.
I am going to give Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, 4 stars. and Days of Blood Starlight, 5 stars.