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Monday, May 18, 2015

Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #1) by Laini Taylor

This has been one of the best Paranormal Romance I've ever read. I wasn't expecting to be pulled into the story so fast and enjoying every minute of it, never getting lost in the intricate world of "Angels vs. Demons" Laini created. Yeah, I was waiting for things to be unraveled, but I didn't have the general feel we have through most Paranormal novels - when the world is too difficult or there are too many details or characters you are not sure who is who and what everything means. Also my biggest fear of this being too childish evaporated SO quickly. I LOVED Karou. Nothing about her felt childishly annoying. On the contrary she kept surprising me with how mature she can be even if she does enjoy being silly at times (we all do :)). Akiva was a sweet heart as well but I need more page time with him to get to know him a little better.

The novel is mostly told from Karou's POV (Later on we get chapters from Akiva's POV as well). She is a seventeen years old art student who lives in Prague. Most of her life she was isolated from the human world around her. She grew up in a strange shop owned by Brimstone who raised her from childhood. Her childhood was happy, even though Brimstone is quite strict she knows he loves her and cares about her and she also had Issa, Twiga and Yasri who work at the shop as well and always warmly cared for her. Those residents of the shop aren't actually human, they are part animal. Which is why she has to keep the shop and everything about her personal life including her extra curricular activities Brimstone sends her to a secret from the human world around her. Which isn't THAT hard considering she only has one friend - Zuzana - who goes to school with her. 

The story begins with Karou having mundane teenagery troubles - school and what going on there, her ex boyfriend making annoying appearances, Zuzana being interested in a guy she doesn't think even notices her. You know, life, as simply as it gets, yet through this "normalness" there are the seeds of the paranormal world around them and the shifting of everything Karou used to know or rather knew nothing about. There are 3 angels destroying portals from the human world to "Eretz" the world in which the Chimaera (half human half animals races) and angels live in. Karou hasn't realized the significant of all this since she didn't even know what or where "Eretz" is! and when she finally does they gates are already shut and she is left alone without her family - the ones who raised her. Now she is determined to find a way to them in any way possible.

This IS a romance novel, but it takes quite a while to get to the romance since Karou and Akiva are enemies - Akiva being one of the three angels to destroy the portals and Karou being "allied" with the Chimaera who raised her. There is a lot of things to unravel about Karou and her special up bringing as well as some of the history of "Eretz" and the war between Angels and Chimaera which was was entwined beautifully into the plot lines.

I really enjoyed this novel. Karou and Akiva's love story was so beautiful. They both deserved each other so much! Yet life - meaning the war - kept getting in their way and the book does end in a rather sour note with what's they have to deal with in the next novel. It was also kinda fun reading words in my mother tongue in this novel. Akiva is a Hebrew name. "Eretz" means "land" in my language and there are also more references and names that sound Jewish. 
My only complain about this book (and it's quite weak..) is it's a bit too long. I was starting to get impatient to get the full story. All the details needed to be said, and there wasn't a time that I felt I could or want to skip anything, I just wanted to GET there already. I usually prefer ~350 pages in a book so when it's more than that I get a bit "jumpy" and impatient but this is still an EXCELLENT and HIGHLY recommended novel! 

I really wanted to fall in love with this series, yet sadly it didn't happen. While this novel was AMAZINGLY written, the next ones were a bit of a miss for me. I found it hard to relate and keep my interest in the twist and turns in the plot. I wanted MORE to happen SOONER. The second installment "Days of Blood & Starlight" was heavy on the Fantasy side concentrating on Karou's struggle to fight for her people even if they don't trust her. I missed a bit of a romantic side in this one. In this book the meeting between Zuzana and Mik (Karou's best friends) was mentioned and so after the 2nd installment there is a short novella "Night of Cake & Puppets" telling us of their "first date" it was very sweet and romantic. The last installment "Dreams of Gods & Monsters" made me realize this series isn't what I'm looking for in my books at the moment. It used to be my go-to genre years and years ago, so if you are into Fantasy - GRAB IT! But if you are looking for less journey and (more) romance this one isn't for you.. 

Additional Details: Kindle Ebook, 424 pages, 13-17 May 2015 / On GoodReads

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