Angels. Demons. Teeth. Chimaera. Sketches. Love. Family. Pain. Wishes. War.
I suspect that in the not too distant future we will be talking about the actors in Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Right now we need to be satisfied to read this award winning novel by Laini Taylor. In 2011, it won awards for Publisher Weekly’s Best Children’s Book and School Library Journal Best Books of the year. It has also been on various best seller lists. The novel puts a fresh spin on the angel and demon myths.
Briefly, the novel starts out with a somewhat familiar theme. Karou leads a double life. In one world, she is a talented art student at a school in Prague, going through all the familiar emotions of a teenager. But, she also has a “family,” whom she can only visit by way of secret entrances. They are four chimeras, combinations of different species, and live elsewhere. She was raised by Brimstone, who looks vaguely like a demon. He gives her charms that allow her to manifest minor wishes. He often sends Karou on errands, all over her world, to collect different types of teeth. Her odd but familiar life is forever changed when she encounters an angel, who destroys all the entrances that allow her to be with her “family.” Why is she attracted to someone who should be her enemy? Who is she really and where did she come from? What does Brimstone do with the teeth he collects? What is the secret behind the wishes? Who are the real bad guys?
Daughter of Smoke and Bone is an enjoyable story, even for someone who is not a young adult. Taylor does a nice job of world building. The book smoothly takes us from a fairly familiar world to one that is rich in fantasy. The characters are multi-dimensional, having flaws and virtues. I look forward to reading the next book in this trilogy, Daughter of Blood and Starlight.