Sunday, May 27, 2012

"Daughter of Smoke and Bone" by Laini Taylor

417 pages

In some ways, Karou is a normal teenager. She loves drawing and hanging out with her best friend at their favorite coffee shop. But Karou has secrets, secrets that make her quite different from her friends. Like how she speaks many languages--not all of the human. How her blue hair is not dyed--it actually grows out of her head that way. And, most crazy of all, how her guardian is actually a demon who sends her on errands all over the globe. Like other teens, Karou is trying to figure out who she is. In her case, though, it's in more of the literal sense. Where did she come from? What is the purpose of her unusual powers? She's not an angel and she's not a demon, so what is she? These questions become even more urgent as a war stirs in the supernatural world. The arrival of a beautiful, haunted Akiva makes things even more complicated--especially when it becomes clear that he's on the other side of the conflict. 

I really got into this book. There's something engrossing about the mysterious, nothing-what-it-seems world that Karou lives in. I had trouble following parts of this story--there's a lot of jumping around and not enough explanation about some things as I would like. Since it's part of a series, though, I don't hold that against it too much. I was somewhat annoyed by the romance aspect of the story. I'm not a fan of the star-crossed lovers thing, so I didn't really care whether Karou and Akiva got together. I do, however, love Karou; she's complicated, curious, and strong, which makes for a fascinating character I can root for. I also like how the book mixes up traditional ideas about good guys and bad guys--in this case, both the angels and the demons have positive and negative qualities. That, combined with the intriguing setting, sets up a series that I look forward to finishing.

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