Friday, September 20, 2013

Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Daughter of Smoke and Bone
by Laini Taylor
432 pages
High School

Nothing about Kazou is typical.  From her long blue hair (which grows that way) to her lack of knowledge about her past, her life is one great mystery not only to herself, but to others.  It doesn't help that she is constantly disappearing to run errands for the only family she does know, a misfit group of monsters.

Raise by the beasts that look like a mix of human and animals, she is used to the extraordinary: monsters, wishes, and portals that open into different places in the world all through the same doorway.  Trying to balance her normal life as an art student and her life with them, friends have been few and far between. 

On her current errand, Kazou is sent again to pick up teeth from one of her regular traders.  While there, she feels a little unsettled, like someone is watching her.  Across a crowded market, she sees him: perfectly beautiful, fierce and vibrant, a man that is unknown but hauntingly familiar.  Deciding to flee from him, she rushes back toward a portal, only to be blocked by him, an angel with fiery wings and swift flight.  After they fight, Kazou barely makes it back to the portal, only to fall in, half dead.

Thus begins the newest, and strangest so far, chapter in Kazou's life.  Just who is the angel?  Why didn't he kill her, even though he could have, and who are these monsters that have raised her? Where did the scorch marks on all the portals come from?  And just who is she?

Wow.  Interesting book.  I have tried to read it before, and got sidetracked or distracted by other things, and now wish I had read this sooner!  Great mix of semi-ordinary girl in strange circumstances discovers things are even stranger than she thinks.  I love that even though she didn't grow up in normal circumstances, she is still normal in other ways: she spends wishes on trivial things, has an annoying ex-boyfriend, and a favorite place to hang out and eat.  Stuff like that makes her feel normal, even if she really isn't.

One thing that I'm not sure if I liked or not was the story telling time line.  While trying not to give too much away, the reader kind of enters into the middle of the story, and much of who Kazou is, and why she is in that situation is told through flash backs.  While not necessarily hard to understand, it chops up the story a little, and jumps back and forth, and here and there, giving you glimpses, and then later filling out those glimpses into full scenes.  Kind of weird.  Knowing what I do at the end of the book, it seems kind of necessary, but still not really smooth.

I did really like the world created in this novel: the angels vs. the chimaeras.  Great setting for this story: the impossible lovers.  But the richness of the chimaera world is great.  I really loved the world, and can't wait to see how it all turns out.

Overall: pretty good book!  I had a hard time not reading this time through.  I did rate as high school mostly for what was implied sexually (nothing overt, just the occasional kiss), and for the implied violence as well.  Angels and chimaera do NOT get along well.  Great book.  I would recommend for people that like The Mortal Instruments series! 

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