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#31 Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Lani Taylor

Karou lives a dual existence. Half of the time, she’s a normal art student in Prague. The rest of the time, she spends her days running errands for Brimstone, a chimera whose workshop is filled with jars of teeth. Karou struggles to balance both lives, and deal with some of the ethical repercussions of her errands. Then everything is turned upside down when she meets Akiva, an angel who holds the answer to all of her questions.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone is a recent young adult release that’s gained a lot of positive buzz in the few months since its publication. I picked up the audio version after hearing plenty of praise of it from reviewers I respect. I think that there’s a lot about Daughter of Smoke and Bone that stands out from other young adult paranormal titles. The first thing that struck me was the Prague setting, which I don’t think I’ve ever encountered in a YA work. Daughter of Smoke and Bone, with its world of angels and demons also has some of the best worldbuilding I’ve come across in a while. The story is filled with a satisfying amount of mystery in the beginning, and as you get deeper and deeper into the story, the more fascinating Karou’s world becomes. I found Karou to be a very likable, flawed protagonist, and enjoyed her slightly mischievous nature. I also enjoyed the author's writing style, which could be heartbreakingly beautiful at times.

Although there was plenty to like about Daughter of Smoke and Bone, the story is often pulled down by the romantic elements. Akiva isn’t necessarily a bad character, but he often comes off as a rather stock male romantic lead (jaw droppingly handsome, deeply devoted to the heroine, etc.) that if it wasn't for his backstory, he wouldn’t be all that interesting at all. Like other young adult titles, the speed in which the two leads fall in deep love with each other feels unrealistic. In fact, I found myself less than fond of the romantic elements all together as it added an element of melodrama to the story that just didn’t digest well for me. This makes it a pity that the love story plays such a vbig role in the characters’ story, as the book is otherwise fantastic.

After reading Daughter of Smoke and Bone, I can see why so many people have enjoying. I know I found plenty to like inside its pages. Unfortunately, my dislike of the romantic aspect brought my enjoyment of the book down a couple pegs. As far as the audiobook experience goes, I thought the narrator did fine, even if a few of her male voices came off as a little cartoonish. I do plan on reading the follow up book Days of Blood and Starlight, once it is released later this year.

Rating: four stars
Length: 418 pages
Source: Lewiston Public Library
Other books I've read by this author: this is my first

Next I will be reviewing The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancy and Fables 5: The Mean Seasons by Bill Willingham

xposted to temporaryworlds, bookish, and goodreads
Tags: xxx author last name: r-z
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