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 beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery 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?
Wow. Simply, wow. Though I finished this book a while ago, my mind is still reeling from the experience, still spinning and twisting and absorbing the loveliness of Laini Taylor's creation. Funny, since I had absolutely zero interest in reading Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Sorry Laini, nothing personal, it's just that angels and demons aren't really my thing. Had it not been for one very persistent friend, this jewel would have perpetually found its way to the bottom of my TBR pile.
Laini Taylor is a truly gifted storyteller. Every word is meaningfully chosen, there is no excess, no extraneous detail, not a sentence or scene which does not fit perfectly into the mosaic. It were as if she had created a fantastical kaleidoscope, and the closer you look the more lovely the patterns, the more intricate the design. Stories such as this take root in your soul, they blossom and grow, reseeding, twining like ivy, until they become an inextricable piece of you. And, ultimately, they become the gauge by which all else is measured.
In my estimation, Karou and Akiva are the kinds of characters authors strive to create. They are endearing and mysterious, dynamic and intriguing, relatable and complicated. Their relationship isn't angsty or overwrought by inane complications. While it is layered and complex, it is also simple. A quintessential tale of star-crossed lovers which never ventures into the absurd. They are, quite simply, possibly the greatest couple since Romeo and Juliet.
Ms. Taylor does not disappoint where her supporting cast is concerned. At times I felt lost, uncertain which side of this ages-old battle I sided with. On either side stand characters I empathize with and feel as though I know, like my own kin. And isn't that the mark of a great storyteller; to share with us the many facets of conflict? To expose the innumerable truths and fallacies which dictate our beliefs and, therefore, overshadow every decision we make? My heart, at times ached for Brimstone and his ilk, captives of a war they did not create but bound by its legacy. Akiva and his kin, forged from the same stone yet uncertain how they had truly come to be.
So, go now and read this book. Read it! Read it now or I will stalk you until you do!!