GEPL Teens: What I’m Reading Now – Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Teens Blog BannerDaughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor Book CoverI’m taking a break from award winners for a bit to read a good old-fashioned fantasy series, and it’s nice getting back into my usual wheelhouse for a bit!

What I’m Reading Now: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

What’s It About (Jacket Description): 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?

Do I Like It: It took a while to suck me in, but at this point I can honestly say I love it!

Thoughts: This book has a lot going on that’s worth talking about, and a lot that makes me love it.  For starters, I find Karou a wonderfully complex and likable character.  She’s got a frivolous side to her, which leads her to use magic to get her hair to grow out blue and to take revenge on an ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend.  But this less serious part of her exists right alongside her deeper side, the side that collects new languages because she loves them and is deeply devoted to her friends and family, and somehow this isn’t contradictory at all.  Karou is independent, proud, and confident, but she also has a deep longing to be loved and feel accepted.  She’s so realistic and so interesting, I feel like she’s someone I could know – even if her world is clearly fantastical, she is so real.

The action in this book took a while to pick up, but it was so interesting getting to know Karou and her friends and her double life that I didn’t mind.  The part that took a while to suck me in was the Akiva of it all.  When Akiva first arrives he is, to put it in vastly understated terms, unpleasant.  And the way he and Karou interact was hard for me to believe or invest in at first.  But as the book unfolds, we find out more about Akiva’s past and get some hints about Karou’s origin that make Akiva more likable, and make the relationship between him and Karou much more interesting and much more believable.

This is also a book that is wreaking havoc with my emotions.  I’m in a flashback section right now that is simultaneously melting my heart and making me want to cry.  When Karou invests herself in her friends, I feel like her friendships are mine, which means I experience all the joys and worries right along with her.  And since starting Daughter of Smoke and Bone, I’m finding I have a strong desire to go to Prague.  But despite – or maybe because of – all these emotional ups and downs, I’m so invested in this story, and I can’t wait to find out how this book ends and get started on the next two!

Posted in The Teen Scene: GEPL High School

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