Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Posted: February 4, 2014 by BA Dillon in GUEST REVIEWERS - FICTION

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini TaylorReviewed by Kathleen B.

For my first ever book review, I have chosen my absolute favorite book of the last year.  In fact, it has been at least ten years since I have gotten so absorbed in, so in love with, and so excited about a story and its characters.  Never have I been this enthralled with a book that falls squarely into the fantasy genre, and although I read a lot of young adult fiction as a middle school teacher, I have not loved a book that could be called young adult with anything resembling the ardor I have for this one.  However, I feel I must add a caveat.  This was not a love at first reading situation.  For the entire second half of the book, I could not decide whether or not I liked it, but for some reason felt the need to keep reading.  It was not until I finished, put it down, and could not bring myself back to the real world for two days, that I realized how engrained in my soul this book had become.  I have now recommended this book to four other people, none of whom have loved it as I have.  Two enjoyed it, two really did not, for reasons of “too high fantasy” and “just really not my thing.”  Which got me wondering why it was so very much MY ideal book.

I find that I am often very drawn to styles that end up with a cult following.  I loved Buffy and Angel, Firefly, and more recently, Dr. Who.  I crave a fantasy world that borders on reality, but carries with it a uniqueness that cannot be defined by typical rules of vampire-zombie-dragon-werewolf-ness, and Daughter of Smoke and Bone is exactly that.  While the main character is a 17 year old girl, this story reads more like adult fiction than YA.  The characters Taylor has created dance through a most incredible reality built beautifully by Taylor’s imagination, with just enough humor to balance its intensity.  If you are the type of reader that enjoys uniqueness, epic love, and strong female characters, this book delivers.  Nuances of family and loyalty, good and evil, and friendship and love reside in abundance in the pages of Smoke and Bone.  Since that first reading, I have read it twice more, read the sequel, Days of Blood and Starlight, furthering my love for Taylor and the bravery of her writing, and am looking forward with bated breath to the release of her final book in the trilogy, Dreams of Gods and Monsters, to be released in April 2014.

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