Fast forward to the YA Buzz Panel at BEA. Laini's editor praised it with words like "best book ever" and I was intrigued enough to fight a crowd at the back of the room after the panel for a copy (the only book I can really say I made an effort - beyond line-standing - to get).
DAUGHTER starts out by introducing us to 17 year old Karou, a blue haired art student in Prague with a broken heart and a strange "family" of chimaera who run a magical shop that deals mysteriously in wishes and teeth. Thanks to Laini's intoxicating writing and attention to detail, I was not only enthralled by Karou and the earthly locations she inhabits, but also by the stranger creatures and the "elsewhere" world they come from. And this is no small feat - as the mere description of a monster or fantasy world usually makes me yawn and wish I were reading another book.
I don't want to talk too much about plot beyond the fact that Karou gets caught up in a war between angels and demons - except to say that I was surprised by where the book ended up (and yes, it's the first book in a series). But I do want to give you a taste of some of the writing. Here's a passage about Karou (and note that this quote is taken from a galley so may be different in the finished novel):
"Karou wished she could be the kind of girl who was complete unto herself, comfortable in solitude, serene. But she wasn't. She was lonely, and she feared the missingness within her as if it might expand and ... cancel her. She craved a presence beside her, solid. Fingertips light at the nape of her neck and a voice meeting hers in the dark. Someone who would wait with an umbrella to walk her home in the rain, and smile like sunshine when he saw her coming. Who would dance with her on her balcony, keep his promises and know her secrets, and make a tiny world wherever he was, with just her and his arms and his whisper and her trust." (p. 71)
And so it is that I can end this review with a satisfied smile and tell you I fully expect this amazing novel to appear on my year end best list. Be sure to get it when it comes out on September 27th.