Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy, book 1 and 2 by Laini Taylor

Book One - Daughter of Smoke and Bone

“Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love. It did not end well.”

Karou, with her peacock blue hair, is a student at the Art Lyceum of Bohemia in Prague. Her life is a mystery to those who know her as she expertly evades questions and keeps her secrets close. Karou’s hair really does grow blue her sketchbooks have quite the following around school for the stories they portray. Brimstone, a chimera with curling ram’s horns, is the star of her sketches and deals in wishes. He is not a figment of her crazy imagination but a part of her life. Although no one would actually believe her if she told the truth.

An actual monster, Brimstone has raised Karou since she was a baby. If by chance a human would have laid eyes on Brimstone or any of his minions, they would think they were seeing devils. An actual dealer of wishes, Karou runs errands for him. In the beginning, she was an innocent. Now jaded, Karou is ashamed about bringing Brimstone his treasures, teeth. Deep down, Karou knows something about her is missing, but has no idea what.

On an errand in Paris, Karou notices a perfect handprint burned into the door of a shed that doubles as an entry to Brimstone’s network of portals. Within days, more handprints appear on doors around the world. Left by beautiful men and women, all who saw them said they disappeared upward in a wave of heat with feathers falling behind. As soon as the feathers touch the ground, they turn into ash. People begin to believe that angels have visited Earth.

When Brimstone sends Karou on an unexpected errand, she runs into trouble. The grave robber, from whom she has just purchased teeth from, asks her an enormous favor. Pull all of her own teeth to earn a wish powerful enough to remove the heavy, hideous creature of knowledge that hangs from his back. Disgusted, Karou backs away but not before the invisible creature licks her skin. It immediately becomes visible and the crowd surrounding them panics. It calls to a beautiful boy, Akiva, in the crowd. The creature refers to him as an angel, his brother come to take him home. The crowd is running from the scene. Akiva notices Karou and she is calm, staring back at him.

Mesmerized by his beauty, the fight or flight instinct finally sparks in Karou. When the grave robber screams angel at Akiva, he tells her to run and warn Brimstone that the angels are back on Earth. She runs but soon feels Akiva behind her. Reaching the portal back to Brimstone, Karou turns only to be struck by Akiva’s sword. With the portal not opening immediately, the two fight one another. Staring each other down, Karou catches a glimpse of Akiva’s soul when he hesitates. On impulse, she throws up her hands, palms out. (An eye is tattooed on each palm.) Akiva is thrown back. Karou makes it to the portal only to find a handprint seared into the door. Akiva comes towards her but stops to really study her. He asks “Who are you?” Suddenly, the portal opens and Karou disappears through it leaving 

Who or what is Karou? How come she really doesn’t know where she came from? Who is Brimstone? What does he do with the teeth Karou brings him? Is Akiva really an angel and why did he let Karou go? What will happen when Karou and Akiva meet again?

The audiobook version read by Khristine Hvam is incredible to listen to. Listeners/readers will feel like they are in Prague alongside Karou.

Days of Blood and Starlight – book two

SPOILER ALERT! Don’t read any further if you haven’t read Daughter of Smoke and Bone in its entirety. 

“Once upon a time, an angel and a devil held a wishbone between them. And its snap split the world in two.”

 Now that Karou knows the truth of her existence, Akiva’s recent actions have driven them apart. With no sign of her anywhere, Akiva is devastated and attempts to make amends with his siblings. Zuzana refuses to give up hope that Karou is still alive. When the seraphim believe that they can finally defeat the chimera, they are truly unprepared for what they run into. When it is reported that teeth are being stolen by an unidentified girl from museums around the world, Zuzana knows that Karou is still alive.

Why is Karou stealing teeth from museums? Is the war between the seraphim and chimera at a stalemate or does one side really have the upper hand? Can Akiva make up for his past transgressions to Karou? And can two tortured souls find forgiveness and their way back to one another?

The thrilling conclusion to the trilogy, Dreams of Gods and Monsters, is due out in 2014. I think the titles of this trilogy really portray what each book is about.

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