Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Karou is just your average seventeen year old art student living in Prague, known by her classmates as the girl with the blue hair who draws the fantastic demon-like creatures. At least this is how she appears to outsiders. What these outsiders don’t know is that Karou is anything but average. Her hair is not dyed, she wished it that color, and now it grows in blue. And those creatures in her sketchbook? They’re called chimaera, and they’re very real. One of them is named Brimstone. He raised Karou, and now she runs errands for him all over the world via his magic portals, and collects teeth. Karou knows she’s special, she just has no idea how special, until she is attacked by the angel Akiva on her way home from one of Brimstone’s errands. Soon, everything changes, and the mystery that surrounds Karou’s life only deepens.

This is hands down one of the best YA fantasy novels that I have read in awhile. It takes the idea of star-crossed lovers to the max. At first, I thought it was going to be your average fantasy: young girl has no idea who/what she really is; enter dark and mysterious male convinced he will never experience emotions ever again who reveals who girl really is; the two fall madly in love, and save the world while they are at it. This novel may have started out this way, but it broke the usual stereotypes and was unique and original. The world-building was excellent. Laini Taylor revealed information in just the right order, and at just the right time. There were some cliff-hanger chapter-endings where the point of view would change, but not often enough to be annoying, and the suspense never went on for too painfully long. Both of the main characters were believable and easy to empathize with.  My heart broke for both of them multiple times. I am rooting for both them to get their happy endings, and am dying to find out what happens next.

Favorite line: “Hope? Hope can be a powerful force. Maybe there’s no actual magic in it, but when you know what you hope for most and hold it like a light within you, you can make things happen, almost like magic.”

Happy reading!

-Branwen

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