SNEAK PEEK PREVIEW: Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor; published by Little, Brown & Co., New York, 2011; 420 pages.

NOTE: This review is based on an ARC (advance reading copy) provided for free by the publisher.  The publication information is subject to change.  Expected release date: September 27, 2011.

Karou, age 17, is an art student in Prague.  Her peacock blue hair is not the only reason she stands out in the other-worldly European city.  She has more than 90 sketchbooks full of pictures of mythical creatures, all with names and back stories, that exist in another world.  Her imaginary world, right?  No.  Karou lives a double life.  Through unmarked gateways around the world, Karou can slip between our world and the world of her chimaera family.  In that world, chimaera and angels fight a war based on a legacy of hatred for and fear of one another.  When Akiva, an angel, crosses paths with Karou, her double life is over.  What she knows of good and evil, happiness and sorrow, love and loss, will be tested.

My summary of Daughter of Smoke and Bone cannot do justice to this remarkable work.  You can watch the trailer (actually, there are several listed after you watch this one) for different descriptions of the book.

The story line goes far beyond a fantasy of angels and demons, of good and bad.  Taylor’s depth of story, character, setting and emotion is woven in meticulously chosen words that resonate the beauty and mystery of Prague and Eretz.  For me, the exploration of the foundation of legends was most poignant.  Angels are good, pure; right?  At least that what legend tells us.  But like history, we have to consider from whose perspective it is written; is there an agenda to the storytelling?  Telling the story of Karou and Akiva means uncovering the truth behind the legends and who benefits from fueling the hatred.

I still find this review lacking.  I do not have the words to express how much I enjoyed this book.  Perhaps I can better express myself through two examples.  First, this is the first book in a trilogy.  Typically, the first book (or movie, for that matter), expends itself in establishing characters, setting, and a problem for resolution.  I usually find the first installment interesting but not remarkable.  Exceptions to this have included The Hunger Games, Shiver, and Prophecy of the Sisters.  All told a story that could stand alone.  Daughter of Smoke and Bone stands tall among these books.

Second, as I closed the last page, my only thought was that this should be in the running for the Michael L. Printz award.  I don’t make such statements often (only once before, if I’m remembering correctly…).

The biggest problem with reading an ARC of a book in a series is that the time to wait between installments is interminable! 😥  I think many young adults will agree with me.

5P     5Q     Grade Level: 8-12

Cover art: The black-and-white cover is eye-catching because of the peacock blue feathered mask.  The interesting mix of distressed fonts also adds to the allure of the book.

From Reading Lists: ARC (advance reading copy) and The Way It Could Be (Science Fiction or Fantasy)



1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Delia G
    Sep 07, 2011 @ 11:39:47

    Now that is some cool literature.

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