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?
Karou lives two lives. In one she pretends to be a normal teenager going to art school. In the other she works for monsters, running odd errands full of danger. Her blue hair sets her apart from others, as well as her fluency in many different languages, some not known to humans. But aside from all this, she really has no idea who she truly is as she was raised by the monsters she works for. Everything changes the day she meets Akiva who is so much more than he seems. He should be the enemy, but there is a terrible draw between them. His presence opens up so many questions, but not all should be answered for they will mean devastation and irrevocable change in her life.
Karou is a very unique character, unlike any other that I have read about. She is a mix of so many things. One minute she will seem wise beyond her years, and in the next, she was just your normal teenager, rebellious and a little frivolous in her choices. I think this endeared me to her even more because while she had incredible maturity due to the way she was raised and her "job," there were parts of her that were still quite young and well, human. It wouldn't have been hard for that innocence to have been driven out her considering she was raised by monsters themselves, and yet her naivety and unflinching loyalty held true. Even when she felt a powerful draw to Akiva, who should be her enemy, and lost her heart to him, she still didn't betray her monster family. It would haven been so easy to let herself become all consumed by Akiva, and turn her back on the others, especially since they had been so secretive, but then she wouldn't be the amazing character that she is.
There were more than enough secrets in Daughter of Smoke and Bone, that reading it should have been frustrating due to a lack of answers. Surprisingly, that just wasn't the case. As the story slowly unfurled, bits of information and knowledge were pieces together, to reveal the secrets of the past. This was weaved into what was happening in the present to get a clearer picture of why things were they way that they were, and what that meant for the future. I for one cannot wait to see how things pan out between Akiva and Karou, especially with the shocking information she found out near the end, as it is something that will not just be easily swallowed.
My first thought after finishing this book was: "Wow. Just Wow." This came as a slight surprise considering my initial impression of the book. I'll admit that at first the lyrical prose turned me off just a little bit. Typically when I read a book I want to be able to easily immerse into it, forgetting the world around me for a short time. So, when a book is written in an almost poetic sense, sometimes it can be hard to get that immersion, as it just doesn't flow like regular speech. However, after just a short while, I no longer saw the poeticness of the prose, as the story had completely taken over. I cannot imagine anything that would have made Daughter of Smoke and Bone possibly any better than it was as it was written exactly as it should have been. That should teach me for doubting it in the first place. As soon as I finished reading it, I instantly went on a web search to see when the next installment would be released, as I cannot stand to wait the industry's standard of a year plus wait between books. So, if you are a fan of the paranormal, or even a book that just effortlessly flows due to an impeccable writing style, then you really do not want to miss Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Definitely the top YA read of the year so far!