“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 it’s 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.”
Karou is a student at the Art Lyceum of Bohemia in Prague. By day she spends her time drawing, having fun with her friend Zuzana, aside from her strange drawings and her blue hair which she insisted, with a wry smile, is real, there is nothing extraordinary about her. But in reality she was brought up in a world different to the one in which she studies. With no family on earth her guardian lives in a subterranean chamber, in a place he calls Elsewhere. Drawn upon to run errands for her Guardian, Karou finds herself visiting the lowest of the low, but one visit ends nastily and she doesn’t realise that this one visit may be the start of something new for Elsewhere.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone may possibly be one of the best fantasy stories I have ever come across. The story sucks you in from the very beginning and keeps you begging for more, right up until the last page.
I didn’t know what to expect when I picked up this book. I know that other people had said it was brilliant and I had seen the trailer but I didn’t expect the story to be what it was. I don’t generally read a lot of fantasy so at the beginning I was kind of sceptical about how much I would enjoy the book but once I got into it I knew that it would be amazing. Brilliant characters are mixed with beautiful writing and an excellent plot which shows just how big an imagination Taylor has. I visited different worlds with this book and I could feel them, not just see them, through the writing.
The plot is incredible, at first I had a lot of questions, like how come Karou is on her own and who was Brimstone and everything is revealed really well. This book didn’t have that whole set up thing going on that you find a bit in the first of a series. I was quite happy with where it ended and although I have to find out what happens next I was quite content with the story within this book.
The book is split up in part which was really cool. The perspective switches a lot from Karou to Akira and even sometimes Zuzana. I really liked the way it was told, you were an outsider looking in on everything and it made it possible to see more. Sometimes when the perspective switched you got the same events from the different perspective and it was done really well. I enjoyed that a lot
I really liked the characters within this book and for once my favourite character was the main character! I knew I would love her as soon as I found out her hair was blue but other than that she was amazingly strong, very selfish (except in her want for answers from Brimstone but that’s kind of understandable!) and very pretty but didn’t suffer from any real typical teenage angst stuff.. I love that she went one after everything and she was so strong the whole way through the book, even at points when most people would want to curl up and forget live exists!
Akira was a magnificent character. Of course at first I had a lot of questions about him, his character just seeped with intrigue and I needed to get to know him. As you do get to know him a lot of things are revealed about the story and I love how entwined everything was.
The secondary characters of this book were also amazing, I had never come across a character as realistic and forgiving as Zuzana and Brimstone, Issa and the others? Wow, what a crowd to grow up around! The fantasy and everything surrounding those characters made me want to meet them!
I found myself inside the story in Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I was wondering around the streets of Prague, I was in the Poison Kitchens and I was visiting grave diggers in Marrakesh. It was amazing. Taylor has a way with words rarely seen, they came alive and I felt the emotions, the air, and the love that was inside this book.
There is a serious love story that runs through this book and does come to be a mix of fantasy and fairy tale which is just magical. I loved every turn in this book and so much of it came as a surprise so I hope that I don’t give too much away but I do have to say this is a must read book. I couldn’t put it down and at 420 pages it’s a long one but it is worth it!!
Daughter of Smoke and Bone is due for release on 29th September from Hodder. My copy was obtained through the UK Book Tours site.