Tuesday, September 18, 2012

AudioBook Review: Daughter of Smoke & Bone, by Laini Taylor @lainitaylor

Laini Taylor writes a twisted web of a story in Daughter of Smoke & Bone that left me trying to catch my breath several times.

Karou isn't your ordinary teen. She's living a double life. One in Prague, as a teen in art school, and one with the demons who raised her from a baby. She doesn't really know anything about how she came to be raised by these colorful characters, but she loves them like family. Even though Brimstone (her demon "father") sends her on errands all over the world to collect all kinds of teeth from some dangerous characters. She doesn't know why these teeth are important, other than Brimstone strings them onto necklaces.

Suddenly, dark hand prints appear on all of the magical doors that Karou uses for portals to get to different parts of the world. One day, all of these doors are burning, and Karou is cut off from her demon family.

Akiva is one of the seraphs that is putting the hand prints on the doors, and after he lays eyes on Karou on one of her errands in Morocco, things are never the same. He becomes obsessed with her, and instead of killing her, like he should, he hunts her down to find out more about her. Karou has tattoos on her palms that she knows nothing about, until she holds them towards Akiva, and the power nearly kills him.

Thus begins a very strange relationship between these mortal enemies, who can't seem to resist each other. Karou is determined to find out what happened to her family, and Akiva is trying to find out why he can't stay away from Karou.

The secrets are slowly revealed, and the romantic relationship builds just as slowly.

Taylor is a master of the flashback. Her flashbacks even have flashbacks, but I was never confused. The background of our characters is revealed like untangling a web and it took me quite a while before I understood what exactly was going on. I did figure it out before Karou, but not much before, and her enlightenment was still enjoyable. And, at the very end, I finally figured out where the Daughter of Smoke & Bone title comes from.

There's so much more to Daughter of Smoke & Bone -- the magic beads, the levels of magic, Karou's sketchbooks, the best friend Zuzana, the different settings (earthly and otherwise), a character named Madrigal -- I could go on, but you just need to read it for yourself.

The audiobook narrator, Khristine Hvam, was good. All of her voices were entertaining but not too over the top. I just don't think Daughter of Smoke & Bone is the kind of book I like in an audiobook. I can't "read" it fast enough. I only listen to about 1/2 hour a day, and for an exciting, fast paced book like Daughter of Smoke & Bone, I would have enjoyed it more if I just sat down and read it in a day or two, rather than dragging it out for weeks. I like my audiobooks to be kind of slow and epic, not thrilling.

This is a complex book about teens, but I can't see why adults who enjoy a paranormal fantasy wouldn't enjoy Daughter of Smoke & Bone. I was very happy with the conclusion -- this first thread is complete without a huge cliffhanger, but we know there's much more to Karou's and Akiva's story. I can't wait to find out in Days of Blood & Starlight, which will be released in November.

Published by Little, Brown & Co., 2011 (Audiobook by Hachette)
Audiobook obtained FREE from Sync YA Literature
432 pages

Rating: 4.5/5

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  1. I absolutely loved this book. I was riveted right from the start. I felt as if I was on a backpack trip to Prague with Karou. For once I wasn't bored with trying to figure out the plot before it unfolds. I can't wait for book 2. I bought a personal copy and have been recommending this title to virtually everyone. So glad you enjoyed it.

  2. Great review Annette! I LOVED this book too! The setting was beautiful and the characters were extremely intriguing. I liked that you mentioned the flashbacks inside the flashbacks because I completely forgot about that, because like you said, I was never confused. It all flowed so perfectly and I definitely think the story needed to be layered the exact way that it was. I loved the audio version, but unlike you I was able to listen to almost two hours a day because I finished it really quickly.

  3. Everyone is absolutely loving this. I have the first, have had it for years, I want to start with that and then get to this one.

    She has another coming up right, enjoy.


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