“Walking to school over the snow-muffled cobbles, Karou had no sinister premonitions about the day. It seemed like just another Monday, innocent but for its essential Mondayness, not to mention its Januaryness. It was cold and it was dark – in the dead of winter the sun didn’t rise until eight – but it was also lovely. The falling snow and the early hour conspired to paint Prague ghostly, like a tintype photograph, all silver and haze.”
The first paragraph of this surprising book only hints at what Laini Taylor masterfully crafted. I don’t know why I was surprised with the quality of this story, as I had absolutely loved Strange the Dreamer, but here I am, sitting here, struck by astonishment.
I began this book about a week after I had a bad riding accident, which resulted in a severe concussion. I couldn’t do much of anything, let alone read, and by the time I stubbornly returned to books, I was ready for an internal fight with whatever innocent plot I chose.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone erased my grumpiness and craftily hooked me into its world of angels, demons, goulash, and teeth. Oh, and Prague. I’ve always been mildly curious about Prague, but now it’s high up there on my list of potential travel-destinations.
Karou, with her blue hair, waltzed on into my life and smacked me with her sketchbook. There’s a lovely cadence to this story that echoes Shakespeare’s beloved Romeo and Juliet. I enjoy a gritty, forbidden love story, and Taylor delivers it on a fiery platter.
I have two small complaints about this book. The first one I can’t get too detailed about, as I hate spoiling anything, but let’s just say that I prefer the old Karou to the new. Something about her spirit within the realm of…uh, let’s stick with demons… was so much stronger and electrifying for me.
But new Karou still holds her own.
My second complaint is that Taylor is far too good at world-building. So much so, the plot felt lackluster in comparison. I wanted more history, more background information rather than the story itself.
Overall, however, this book is a delicious read.