I tell no lies. This was THE top book I had to come away with from the BEA. Laini's Dreamdark books swept me away when I read them earlier this year, and her tantalizing hints at her newest story have been utterly painful. Daughter of Smoke and Bone was supposed to be there, and come hell or high water I was leaving with a copy.
I was also super keen on meeting Laini herself as her blog has been one of my favorites for probably six months now. Between posts of her cuter than cute daughter Clementine, writing chit chat and house reno's I'd developed a bit of an author crush. She did not disappoint, and was completely lovely when I had ten minutes or so to chat to her at the Speed Dating for Authors (see my BEA recap). My only regret is not bringing a little something for Clementine, who, lets face it, should have groupies.
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 otherworldly war.I have just a few words that will sum this reading experience up- one of the best books I've read all year. With books like Red Glove (Holly Black), Rot and Ruin (Jonathan Maberry), The Dark and Hollow Places (Carrie Ryan), Behemoth (Scott Westerfeld), and Goth Girl Rising (Barry Lyga), already competing for the best book I've read in 2011, that's saying something.
A beautiful tale, I was completely swept away by both the story and how it was told. I've previously commented on Laini's impressive ability in building a completely encompassing world in a way that would rival both J.R.R Tolkien and J.K. Rowling, but it needs to be said again. Not only is her world breath taking and fascinating, you'll step into it through her first couple of sentences and never question it once. It's the quintessential art of writing Fantasy and Laini has repeatedly proved to me she's a master at it, and yet I'm still completely impressed by it with each new book I pick up of hers.
There is also a beauty to her writing, an almost Shakespearean talent of the actual story telling, which whips the whole thing up into this decadent, multi-layered chocolate cake of a treat. And oh what a treat! I picked Daughter of Smoke and Bone off the shelf knowing it was going to be a special read but completely unprepared with just how special it would be. I could hardly put it down! I mean we almost didn't eat for two days because of it, which has not happened since Mockingjay. And tearing myself from the story for something as mundane as a work day was torture.
Karou's slow discovery of some of the mysteries that have surrounded her all her life, made the story an absolute page turner of intrigue and surprise twists. But hands down, my favorite aspect of Daughter of Smoke and Bone were the characters. All carefully nuanced, I was constantly impressed how nobody was a stereotype or filler character. Even the smallest characters were rounded out so nicely I felt I knew them, and nobody was strictly good or evil, which in a story who's tag line is
"Once upon a time an Angel and a Devil fell in love. It did not end well"was not only a feat but also unusual. It gave Daughter of Smoke and Bone that added depth, which is often missing from less well crafted stories.
By the end I had two great regrets. A- I didn't get this book signed, although I had the chance. and B- I'm going to have to wait what seems like forever for book two since I got Daughter of Smoke and Bone so early!
I didn't get it signed because both my other two copies of Laini's books (the Dreamdark books) were signed by both her and her husband (the illustrator). Also, since I'd already met Laini earlier in the week I felt like I should give someone else the chance (all the lines were limited to a certain extent at the BEA, so my being in line would inevitably mean someone else wouldn't get a copy). Alas, hopefully I can see her on tour later in the year and get a signed copy then.
Coming out in September, you'll want to pre-order this baby now. Trust me, you don't want to miss out on this story for even a minute if you don't have to. If there is any justice in the world, Daughter of Smoke and Bone will launch Laini's career into the stratosphere, which will be well deserved to say the least.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone, by Laini Taylor
Published by Little Brown, September 27th, 2011
Laini's Blog (you can become a Clementine groupie too!)
Pre-order Daughter of Smoke and Bone on Amazon ASAP!