Monday, June 20, 2011

Advance Buzz Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Goblin Fruit, the first story in Laini Taylor's LIPS TOUCH: THREE TIMES collection, is one of my favorite bits of writing ever.  Still, when I heard the premise of DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE - an angel and a demon once fell it in love and it did not end well - I thought it might be too high fantasy for my taste.

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.

22 comments:

Beth S. said...

You had me at "blue haired art student in Prague"

Sounds awesome! :)

bermudaonion said...

Wow, one of the best of the year? I did manage to pick this up at BEA, but not at the Editor's Buzz. Hopefully it won't be too long before I get to it.

Lauren said...

Ooh, this one sounds fantastic! I especially love the passage you included at the end. :)

Irene said...

Sounds like you were more than pleasantly surprised. Not my usual genre, but I'll keep an eye out.

Allison said...

I love the writing in that passage! I just got a copy of this, sounds like I'll definitely enjoy it. I haven't read any of her other writings yet...but I know she comes highly recommended by a lot of readers. Really looking forward to picking this up!

Chris said...

Oh wow this sounds really good! I have Lips Touch but still haven't read it...I've heard from everyone that it's fantastic though! And I haven't forgotten about your M&Ms!!!! I promise...I'm going to get them tomorrow before work :)

Charlotte said...

I'm looking forward to this one lots!

Staci said...

Wow...this one has me intrigued big time!!!

Sam @ Parenthetical said...

Yay! Glad you liked it, too. I agree with you -- one of the best of the year, no doubt.

Emily said...

Oh man! I'm so glad you liked this one. I picked up a copy at BEA as well and can't wait to read it!

Alwyn said...

This sounds awesome! I am already psyched for September!

Heather Zundel said...

You just had to say it was by Laini Taylor and I would have been sold. That excerpt seals the deal quite nicely though. :)

Zibilee said...

That excerpt is just lovely, and though I haven't read a lot of books in this genre, or a lot of YA for that matter, I think this is one that will be going to the top of the list. It sounds like it has an excellent premise, and the writing is just lush and wonderful. Thanks for sharing this with us, Lenore.

Pam (@iwriteinbooks) said...

Oh I simply adore this cover! What a neat book.

Alpa said...

I have to read this now :)

Alpa said...

But september is far :(

Carla said...

I HAVE THIS I HAVE IT I HAVE IT OMG I'M GONNA START IT RIGHT NOW!!!!!!! love this review, i am now crazy book moded out.

Lori said...

I loved Lips Touch so much, so I've been very excited for this. The passage is beautiful and exactly what I would expect from Laini Taylor. I can't wait to read it!

V. Rossi said...

I seriously can't wait to read this. Great review.

Mary said...

And with that teaser, you nabbed me. I wasn't sure about it (they changed the cover, didn't they? I wasn't feeling the other cover at all) but I'm in now! Thanks for the tease.
Happy reading,
Mary @ Book Swarm

Michelle said...

I haven't heard one person say a bad thing about this book. I'm even more encouraged by the fact that you enjoyed it as much as you did. I have high hopes for it!

Luxembourg said...

it was good, but I wish it had been kept more small-scale, because the strongest parts of the story were those that dealt with the characters' daily lives, relationships and questions. In the end I think some will love this book and others will be lukewarm towards it. It is quite a matter of taste, but going into it, you should be ready for a pretty drastic change in tone and story halfway through.