Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Book Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone

I first heard of 'Daughter of Smoke and Bone' when I started reading top ten book lists for 2011. In them, praises were sung, readers were encouraged and generally it was made out to be a very good thing. As I was doing ordering at the time, I added it to the list, along with 'Beauty Queens', 'Anna Dressed in Blood' and 'The Scorpio Races'. I've finally had a chance to read it and I have to say, it was worth the hype.

'Daughter of Smoke and Bone' is the story of Karou. She draws monsters that are dismissed by her art teacher as fantasy drawings, yet she knows they are real. She has been gifted - literally - several languages. Her hair is naturally a bright blue and remains that way. She is everything she wishes she could be -yet she does not know who she is. Suddenly, black handprints appear on doorways, burned there by winged strangers who have appeared. Karou finds her job - collecting teeth for her foster father- threatened by an otherworldly war, a war where some will learn who they are and others will learn who they can trust.

'Daughter of Smoke and Bone' is a gripping read. Karou is so very cool the reader, like her fellow art students, wants to continue to see her life. Her errands, which she accomplishes by traveling through portals, seem fantastical, even with the realization that she is gathering teeth from around the world. Her life, made better by a series of wishes that is her pay, seems perfect, if it were not for the sometimes abrupt times she is contacted to go on errands. Yet, her world begins to crumble, leaving her with a lack of self understanding and a lack of trust. While she is fantastically rich and able to provide all she wants, she still does not know anything about her self. She is alone and must learn who she is to be able to decide who she can trust.

At times the story is a little muddled. Part of that has to do with the fast pace of sections of the novel, which are imperative in maintaining the plot. To read this novel, one has to buy into the fantastical world completely - there is no relief from it, nor many characters who are not involved in it. The reader must also be able to comprehend the enormity of the world and the history that is presented by the characters. However, if the reader can cope with these points, they will find this novel  a fantastic read. My only major issue was that I did not know it was the start of a series and was looking forward to a resolution. Now, I'm looking forward to the next book!

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