Author: Laini Taylor
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 2011
Number of Pages: 424
Series Notes: #1 of Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Reason for Discovery: Vaginal Fantasy Book Club
According to GoodReads:
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 beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery 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?This is a challenging book to review. On one hand, I felt that the characters and the world building in this book were excellent. I felt the characters (except for one) were fairly well-rounded and three-dimensional. I could really imagine them in my head. Also the fantasy world and these creatures’ history was amazing. It was really well thought out. On the other hand, this book was simply a setup for the next book. Nothing happens in this book. Well, okay, yes, something happens; however, a lot of this book could have been condensed, so an actual plot could have happened.
I should have known something was up when Karou still didn’t know who she was two-thirds into the book. By that point, she should have at least some clue as to who she was. Then, to make matters worse, it is at this point, we go into an elaborate flashback that fills up the rest of the book. Granted, I found the back story interesting; however, it was longer than it needed to be. In fact, the rest of the book was longer than it needed to be. I enjoyed the book, but I am really disappointed that nothing happened in it except for Karou discovering who she was. Robin Hobb said in an interview that each book in her trilogies can stand by themselves. In other words, you can pick up book two in a trilogy and have a complete adventure. Book one in a trilogy should not be Act One.
End of spoilers!
I know that this review is fairly harsh. Everyone I know who has read this book has loved it. As I said before, the world building is fantastic. The writing is great. I just need more forward motion in this book. I am planning on reading the second book in the series at some point.
I give this book 3 out of 5 masks.