Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Beletseri's #CBR V Review 15 Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Lani Taylor



Wow, Holy shitballs. I just finished it, like 30 seconds ago. Baxlala was totally right. It’s amazing!!

Ok. Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system review time! I’m going to try not to spoil it, but since the last half is basically just a huge reveal it might be hard. Karou is a teenage girl living in Prague attending art school, she lives on her own but her family, where she was raised, are chimera which are like human animal hybrids. Brimstone runs a shop that deals in teeth, of all kinds, human, animal whatever. Karou knows she isn’t normal and doesn’t have a normal existence, she’s curious about who she is but takes all the strangeness in stride.

Without giving away too much what makes this book amazing is three things, the characters, the world, and the big reveal. (There’s a love story that is really solid too, but it’s not what drove the book for me). Karou is a great lead character. She’s badass, smart, can fight with knives! And she has blue hair. The book is, mostly, told from her perspective. The big reveal is the truth about who she is. Strange things begin happening all around her, winged beings (angels) start being seen around the world and they’re burning handprints into doorways. This is all linked to Karou and swirls around her. The book does a great job of building this. It’s a tantalizing mystery and is very well paced. I was actually really impressed with the plotting. The second half of the book is almost all flashbacks, which is a bit clunky. But the point of everything leads up to the full reveal of who Karou is and what her story is. It’s done really well, and I think is the biggest contributor to the fact that the reader just can’t put this book down.  

The story is also told, partly, from the perspective of Akiva who is one of the angels. He sees Karou and becomes fascinated with her. He begins following her and trying to piece together the mystery of who she is. Plus there is Issa the snake woman and Brimstone the horned, goat footed fellow who is her father figure. Karou also has a bff named Zuzana who is adorable and really supportive.

I can’t tell you too much about the world without revealing everything, but I went into this book expecting YA Urban Fantasy and I got YA low fantasy. The way magic operates is really interesting; teeth are used for magic because they are a bit of pain. The magic of this universe is predicated on pain. The world and it’s characters become very fascinating.

The only thing I really didn’t like was that there is a bit of the POWER OF LURRRRVE that solves all problems, that kind of annoyed me. Plus the beginning starts off kind of slow and I felt like there was an unevenness between the two worlds. There is this night world Karou inhabits of the chimera, but she is also a normal teenage student. The juxtaposition feels uneven. I’m not sure if that was on purpose, since there is a unevenness in her life that is part of the story, or if it was clumsy. 

Meh, either way I give it 4 out of 5 moray eel teeth.

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