Published: 29th September 2011
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Featuring necklaces made of wishes; an underground shop dealing in teeth; magical tattoos; a wishbone on a cord, DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE is a thrilling story about Karou and her secret life as an apprentice to a wishmonger. Karou manages to keep her two lives in balance. On the one hand, she is a seventeen-year-old art student in Prague; on the other, errand-girl to an inhuman creature who deals in wishes and is the closest thing she has to family. Her life is surrounded by mysteries she is desperate to unveil.
I really don’t know where to start with this book; it truly is perfection. The setting of Prague was a great choice; it definitely added something to the atmosphere of the book, as well as being really original.
I loved how it started off fairly normally; girl on her way to school, problems with her ex-boyfriend, and then it developed some supernatural aspects, moved into urban fantasy and then BAM! Fully-fledged fantasy epic. It was amazing; you were eased into this novel exceedingly well meaning nothing felt too outrageous or extreme, it all just felt right. This also makes it a perfect read for someone looking to get into fantasy who hasn’t really read any previously. I loved how this book really makes you question good and evil, who exactly was in the right here? Who were truly the ‘angels’ and the ‘devils’ of the piece?
Karou was a fantastic heroine, she was brave and courageous but not stupidly so, or riddled with bravado. She was kept in the dark about so much, but really stepped up to the mark when she needed too. Her exchanges with all the characters felt really genuine, especially with her best friend. Their friendship was just so realistic and funny-they were quirky but in a way that didn’t feel like it was the author imposing her own personality on the characters, it felt like that’s how they were. I felt all the characters were really well developed and they all felt so real and individual.
I really loved all the little things Laini Taylor added in, a lot of work clearly went into the worldbuilding in this novel. I loved the concept of wishes, how they varied in size, what they were powered by and how they were used. I loved the teeth mystery as well. Sometimes when things are kept secret in a book, but constantly hinted at, for so long the reveal can be anti-climatic but not in this case. I thought it was really clever, and I didn’t figure it out which I loved!
The writing style was beautiful, gripping and very individual. I loved the narrative voice, the descriptions and the choices of metaphors; they were all powerful and very creative.
As I mentioned above the plot was exceptional. This has to be one of my favourite fantasy reads ever. You need to read this book right now. I mean, right now. Drop everything except a copy of this novel. My only regret is that I read it so early I have even longer to wait for the sequel.
A well deserved 5/5