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Slime and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

A review of Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor, an angel book with a killer twist.

Slime and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

BOOK REPORT for Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone Book 1) by Laini Taylor

Cover Story: Okay
BFF Charm: Heck Yes
Swoonworthy Scale: 7
Talky Talky: Just Lovely
Bonus Factors: Prague, Mysterious Loner Angel, World Building
Relationship Status: Soulmate Potential

Cover Story: Okay

I'm fairly neutral on this cover. While a mask does make an appearance in the story, it certainly wasn't the 3 dollar Mardi Gras kind. But that said, I do prefer this version to the original concept cover art. But if I could take my pick, I'd choose the UK version, which I think is lovely.

The Deal:

Karou seems like your average blue haired, tattooed art student living in Prague. Except that her appearance is the least unusual thing about her. Karou often disappears, running mysterious errands all over the world and draws beautiful pictures of monsters she claims are real. These monsters are chimaera, otherworldly creatures whose appearance is half human-half animal and are the only family Karou has ever known. The chimaera Brimstone runs a store that trades in teeth and wishes and Karou works for him, never knowing what the teeth are used for and how she came to grow up in this unusual shop. But Karou's life gets turned upside-down soon after the appearance of Akiva, a seraph soldier with a dark past who may know more about Karou's past than she does.

BFF Charm: Heck Yes

Who wouldn't want to be friends with Karou? She's fun and vibrant and interesting. Sure, at times she can be a little too mysterious and she isn't exactly dependable due to her running off on secrets errands at a moments notice. But there have bound to be some small sacrifices when it comes to being friends with someone who can grant wishes. Karou really only has the one human friend she can trust (her bff Zuzana), but their relationship proves that Karou is loyal, encouraging and thoughtful.

Swoonworthy Scale: 7

It's difficult to talk much about Karou and Akiva without giving away too much of the plot. But there is a, shall we say forbidden, element to the book's romance which really ratchets up both the stakes and the swoon. But trust me when I say this is not some sort of angel falls for a human horror show, as my bare-bones plot description may imply.

Talky Talky: Just Lovely

For those of you have already read Laini Taylor's fabulous Lips Touch: Three Times, it should come as know surprise that the loveliness of her prose in this book often jumps out at you. For example, take when Karou gets minor revenge against a boy who had recently broken her heart:

This, she thought, isn't just for today. It's for everything. For the heartache that still felt like a punch in the gut each time it struck, fresh as new, at unpredictable moments; for the smiling lies and the mental images she couldn't shake; for the shame of having been so naive.

For the way loneliness is worse when you return to if after a reprieve - like the soul's version of putting on a wet bathing suit, clammy and miserable.

Bonus Factor: Prague

The beauty! The history! The red roofs! Someone take me, please!

Bonus Factor: Mysterious Loner Angel

YA essential, mysterious loner dude...now in angel flavor!

Bonus Factor: World Building

The world of the seraphs and chimaera is beautifully realized. The history, the war, the magic! Since Karou spends so much of the book wondering about the mystery of her chimaera and where she came from, I certainly don't want to reveal too much. But I will say that everything we learn is worth the wait.

Casting Call:

Lily Collins as Karou

Dye Lily's hair blue and then she'd make a wonderful Karou.

Ian Somerhalder as Akiva

Ian is so pretty. Pretty sure he could pull off the tortured angel look.

Relationship Status: Soulmate Potential

I always knew I was going to like this book, I just wasn't sure how much. I was sitting on the fence between really like and love, until the last 150 pages pushed me so hard over on to the love side, I have bruises. Not everyone will adore this book as much as I did, but I trust you know if you're the type. Do you like weird (but not too weird) fantastical stories that occasionally punch you in the gut? I was completely addicted to this story, this world, by the end of the book. And now that I know there will be sequels? This book is looking like it has some serious soulmate potential for me.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received an ARC copy from Little, Brown. I received neither money nor cocktails for this review (dammit!). Daughter of Smoke & Bone is available now.

Daughter of Smoke & Bone is the FYA Book Club selection for November 2011!

Megan Crane's photo About the Author: Megan is an unabashed fangirl who is often in a state of panic about her inability to watch, read and play all the things.