I have decided that I’d quite like to live inside Laini Taylor’s head. Her imagination is OFF THE CHARTS and I’m suitably impressed with the amount of originality oozing off the pages of this book. I’d heard about Daughter of Smoke and Bone back in March when I had the opportunity to meet Laini (see here) and then I saw Laini’s post about her visit to her UK publishers (see here) and it was a feast for the eyes! I remember thinking “beautiful but weird” and now I’ve actually read the book, the decorations make sense! Curious? You should be. Here’s the synopsis:
“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 one of the strangers--beautiful, haunted Akiva--fixes his fire-colored 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?”
Daughter of Smoke and Bone is a high fantasy novel that takes you on an enticing trip around Europe and will have you adding places like Geneva, Prague and Marrakesh to your “places to visit before you die” list. Laini’s writing is effortless and more than worthy of a little envy I think. Her concept is original and highly entertaining and I feel more intelligent after reading this book, like Laini assumes her readers are intelligent and treats us as such.
I’m not sure I have a favourite character as they were all equally well written although I had a soft spot for Kishmish. I thought Karou was a fantastic protagonist - creative, intelligent, sneaky and a certainly not a girl to be messed with! And Akiva? You know what’s coming, don’t you? Yep *adds to list of literary boyfriends*.
I’m not usually such a huge fan of high fantasy but Daughter of Smoke and Bone took me by surprise and has me reconsidering my outlook on this. I’m very pleased to report that this is part of a planned trilogy and I will be watching with interest to see where the story goes next. A superb book that should act as a guide on how to write fantasy, and write it well.
The Daughter of Smoke and Bone was published on 29th September , 2011 both in the US and the UK. To find out more about Laini Taylor and her books, please click here to visit her website. She is also active on Twitter.
If you would like to win a gorgeous UK hardback, then please leave a comment with your name and e mail address. This contest is open to UK readers only however if you are an international reader and are willing to pay for shipping, you can enter. The winner will be chosen at random and once notified, they have 48 hours to claim their prize otherwise another winner will be chosen. The deadline is 30th November and any entries made after that date will be disqualified. Good luck!