Saturday, March 22, 2014

Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor: Reviews

In anticipation of the release of third book of my favorite series ever, Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor, on April 8, I had to re-read the first two (and a half!) books in the series! Here are my reviews:

Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #1)
by Laini Taylor
Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands", she speaks many languages - not all of them human - and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

Hardcover, 418 pages 
Published September 27th 2011 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

My Review: 5 of 5 stars
Daughter of Smoke and Bone is the kind of book you don't want to end. You know it's going to have to, you know it's getting close, but when it finally gets there, you're still upset because you want the story to continue…you have so much invested in the characters that you just have to know what happens next!

Karou is such a great character. She's fun, caring, and loyal to her family…just don't piss her off because she knows how to fight. She is definitely the kind of girl you want on your side in a battle. I quickly became intrigued by Karou. At first she seems so innocent, but then you find out she has this whole other life. She is obviously lonely, and I found myself feeling empathy for her and her situation. It would be hard not to be able to have 'real' friends, and even with her 'family' she was pretty much left in the dark about everything. I loved her even more for the fact that she didn't just sit around feeling sorry for herself.

I also really liked Brimstone, although he would definitely scare me in a 'don't piss me off or I'll eat you' sort of way, and my fondness for him grew as the story was revealed. I really like that we got to see Brimstone from both Akiva and Karou's points of view. Akiva saw him as nothing but a monster, but Karou had good memories of him, almost father like, and it humanized him a little for Akiva, I think.

As for Akiva, at first I wasn't sure what to think of him. I didn't trust him and thought he could only bring trouble. By the end of the book, however, I was in love with him. I loved him for how he loved Karou (and Madrigal), how he took action for what he believed, even how he fought for her though his hope was gone. He's the kind of guy every girl dreams of.

The author's descriptive writing style quickly captivated me. She knows how to create just enough tension to keep you on edge without drawing it out so long that you are in danger of losing interest. In fact, many times I found myself covering the page across from where I was reading so I wouldn't be tempted to look ahead to see what was going to happen! She also did a really good job with the character's conflicting emotions, really getting them across to the reader. Through her words and descriptions, she brought the characters to life.

I was not sure I was going to like the "switch" in stories from Karou to Madrigal, but I fell into it quickly. While I was reading it, I missed Karou, but eventually grew to love Madrigal and her story just as much.

The story of forbidden love is one that has been told 1000 times over, but Taylor's take was so unique it was like hearing it for the first time. The story was fun to read and captivating. I am eagerly anticipating book two to see where the story is going to be taken.

View all my reviews

Days of Blood & Starlight (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #2) by Laini Taylor

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a world free of bloodshed and war.

This is not that world.

Art student and monster's apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is—and what she is. But with this knowledge comes another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it.

In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must decide how far she'll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices, Days of Blood & Starlight finds Karou and Akiva on opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life.

While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. For hope.

But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream?

Hardcover, 517 pages
Published November 6th 2012 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

My Review: 5 of 5 stars

I am really not sure I can write in words exactly how much I love this book and series. Taylor has a way of telling a story that makes you live it, breathe it, love it. She gives you enough tension and suspense that you absolutely cannot stop reading, without drawing it out so much that you lose interest. That's a hard balance to find, I think, and Taylor has mastered it. Her writing is colorful and alluring, and her imagination is unsurpassed.

Her characters are nothing short of amazing. This second book in the series delves deeper into the world of the Chimera and Seraphim. We find out more about the characters we loved (and loved to hate) from the first book and are also introduced to some new ones. Each individual character carved out into a unique being that fits into place in the story to reveal a piece of the puzzle Taylor has created with her words.

This second book is darker than the first. They are now in the midst of war, and there is fighting and violence all around. Through the darkness, though, there is sunshine, hope, love, and friendship. I am waiting quite impatiently for the next book. In the meantime, I will have to re-read the first two.

Audio Review: Once again Khristine Hvam does an excellent job of bringing the story to life. I love her voice as the narrator for this story.

View all my reviews

Dreams of Gods & Monsters (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #3)
Laini Taylor 
By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her, if there can even be a future for the chimaera in war-ravaged Eretz.

Common enemy, common cause.

When Jael's brutal seraph army trespasses into the human world, the unthinkable becomes essential, and Karou and Akiva must ally their enemy armies against the threat. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people.

And, perhaps, for themselves. Toward a new way of living, and maybe even love.

But there are bigger threats than Jael in the offing. A vicious queen is hunting Akiva, and, in the skies of Eretz ... something is happening. Massive stains are spreading like bruises from horizon to horizon; the great winged stormhunters are gathering as if summoned, ceaselessly circling, and a deep sense of wrong pervades the world.

What power can bruise the sky?

From the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond, humans, chimaera and seraphim will fight, strive, love, and die in an epic theater that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy.

At the very barriers of space and time, what do gods and monsters dream of? And does anything else matter?

Hardcover, 528 pages
Expected publication: April 8th 2014 by Little, Brown & Company

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