Daughter Of Smoke And Bone - Review


First off, we got ARCs...as in advance reading copies. We're not nearly cool enough to warrant an ARC for a major book and in this case a book we've been dying to get our hands on for quite some time, so needless to say there were some seriously nerdy happy dances taking place across the state of California when we got the chance to read this highly anticipated novel by one of our favorite authors.

After the first nerd gasps... we thought:

Esther: This book is beautiful, and I'm not talking about the cover (although the cover is perfectly fine). If you can compare the written word to food, then some food is tasty even if it's not that pretty. Twilight (in my opinion) would be the book equivalent of potato chips (right down to the adage on the back of the bag of "I bet you can't eat just one."). But if some books are a bag of sour cream and onion Lay's, then Daughter of Smoke and Bone is like going to the Bellagio and ordering this. The words almost taste delicious as you're reading them. If novel reading is a way to escape real life and all its drab woes, then Daughter Of Smoke And Bone is like being a jet-setting movie star at Paris Fashion week. Deep, rich and saturated with colors, sensations and emotions.

Bethany: Beautiful is the first word that came into my mind as well, but instead of food I thought of travel. It's Saint Paul's Cathedral or Schonbrunn Palace or Yosemite or the night sky way out in the middle of nowhere or Monterey Bay (ok, I haven't visited all the world's most impressive sights, but you get the idea) where you can just stare for half an hour, look away for a moment, and gasp in awe again when you turn back because it's just that stunning and surrounding every single time. It's so beautiful it hurts, a good ache that keeps the memory lingering long after the experience is over.

The real dish on the story:

Esther: The basic premise revolves around a blue haired girl named Karou, who lives in Prague and goes to art school (which, let's face it...is pretty dang cool to begin with). She has your normal teen problems with boys and friends, but she also has a few very abnormal problems. Namely, her unconventional family owns a mysterious shop that barters with teeth and trades in magic. Karou traipses all over the globe running errands and getting into all kinds of scrapes until one day the door to their shop suddenly sports the burned outline of the hand...the wrath of God? Judgement? Karou finds out she doesn't even really know who she is, and anyone reading the book is kind of dying to find out (me!). Plus, the whole world traveling + super hot boy + magic sort of hits a frenetic pace that had me burning through every last enjoyable page. Aghhh...I want lots of these types of books to exist.

Bethany: On a shallow level, I really shouldn't have loved this book. Despite the fact that I've had a streak of blue in my hair now for over four years now and wear a lot of black, most paranormal romance is a bit too hip and gritty for me. I read the genre anyway, and I often enjoy it, but like traditional chick flicks, it often leaves me peeved by plot points that tend to rub me the wrong way. And without mentioning spoilers, Daughter of Smoke and Bone does include several plot points I usually don't care for. But Laini Taylor's storytelling is so fresh and vibrant that she swept away my preconceived notions. As lovely as the writing is, the technical aspects of the story are perfect as well. Pacing, plot twists, depth of ideas explored, ratio of humor to drama. The blurb on the back of the UK edition is by Patrick Rothfuss, one of my husband's favorite authors, and it says simply, "Wow. I wish I had written this book."

The consensus:

Bethany: Laini Taylor could rewrite the phone book in a way that would make it completely mesmerizing. I know both texting-addicted teenagers and literature snobs who would love this story. I am with Esther in asking (begging?) for more of this, please. I've generally been patient about book releases, but I can already imagine myself lining up outside a bookstore in the wee hours of the morning waiting for the sequel that will tell me what happens next....

Esther: Laini does have a way of writing anything in a brilliant way. I know we're kind of gushing a lot here, but we can't help it. We've been following Laini for years and gobble up her blog entries like they're from Willy Wonka's chocolate factory. In fact, I'm kind of loathe to share her, so let's go with... you'll probably hate this book. Romance, art, and magic doors. Who wants to read about that? Move along, move along.

But if you absolutely must know...the book officially comes out next Tuesday. I'll loan you my copy if anyone wants to come and get it. *grin*
It's signed (another nerd gasp), and hiding out of reach from my children.

2 sprinkles of fairy dust:

okay, i have always wanted to know (because we have at least one regular customer who comes into HPB to sell all her ARCs)-- how do you get to do that??

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