Everyone seems to be in love with Daughter of Smoke and Bone, the new book by Laini Taylor, and I have to say it’s with good reason. It’s been on my list for awhile, namely because of all of the great reviews, but once I actually started to read it, I couldn’t put it down.
The story centers around Karou, a seventeen year old art student who lives in Prague. Karou is a little strange and mysterious. Her hair grows blue, she’s covered with tattoos, and she fills dozens of sketchbooks with creatures that could surely only exist in the imagination. Karou never talks about herself and deflects all questions from friends so that they don’t find out the truth. See, Karou isn’t really from Prague. She’s not from anywhere, actually. She’s from Elsewhere. Karou grew up in a shop with four chimaera and was raised by the Wishmonger, Brimstone. Brimstone, like all of the chimaera, is part animal, part human with the head and horns of a ram, eyes of a crocodile, torso of a human, legs of a lion, and feet of a dragon. Brimstone sells wishes to any who can pay the price, but instead of cash and coins, Brimstone’s currency is teeth, and only the best teeth will do. He gives Karou small wishes and provides her with money and a place to live in the outside world, and even a fake grandmother to enroll her in school. In return, Karou runs errands for Brimstone, errands that are often very dangerous and even life-threatening, but Brimstone is the only family she’s ever known. Karou doesn’t even know who she really is, but a chain of events that starts with handprints scorched into the doors to Elsewhere leads her to find that the chimaera are not the only ones in Elsewhere, and her family is under attack by beautiful, winged creatures.
Laini Taylor creates a world – two worlds, really – that is complex and rich in detail. Karou is the perfect, fierce heroine, good enough to rival Katniss of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and Katsa of Graceling by Kristin Cashore.
Here’s an insider tip for all of you: Read the book now before it starts getting a huge hold list! The movie rights have been acquired by Universal Pictures, and the second book is due out September 2012. I predict that this book is only going to get even more popular.
– Heather Botelho, South Branch Library