01/07/2012. Contributed by Sarah Bruch
pub: Hodder & Stoughton. 418 page hardback. Price: about £ 6.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-144472-262-8.
check out website: www.hodder.co.uk
'Daughter Of Smoke And Bone' is the first novel by Laini Taylor, hopefully not the last. Karou is a seventeen year-old art student-come-tooth collector for her odd family of chimeras living in a room that appears to be in an alternate world connected to ours via numerous random doors. Karou never met her parents, as far as she's concerned her parents are four chimeras with the father of the house being Brimstone, aka wishmonger or The Grump. People seem to turn up at Brimstone's door with teeth everyday but Karou is not sure what Brimstone wants with all these teeth. She does know that if she brings him teeth, she and the other teeth-bringers are rewarded with wishes, ranging in value from wishing an itch onto someone you dislike up to wishing for immortality. But as with all wishes you must be very careful what you wish for.
I'll admit it, I chose this book because of the cover as it had iridescent feathers all over and it really caught my eye. Lucky for me that it did! I really enjoyed this book apart from one element...I didn't realise it is part of a trilogy. This came as a bit of a shock to me at the end with a massive cliff-hanger and me shouting 'Nooo!' in the manner of an 'Eastenders' character. Let this be a lesson to you, always check the back of the book for the words '...to be continued'. Now that I'm over my initially irritation, I have to say I'm pretty happy that there are going to be more stories involving the characters in this book.
I found the writing style in this book flowed beautifully and it didn't feel like a chore. There were equal parts description, action, suspense and humour it all seemed to balance out really well. It felt very similar in feel to the 'Wildwood Dancing' series by Juliet Marillier or something by Delia Sherman. That is until it got towards the end third of the book. This was when the love story element began and it seemed to take over the book and create a completely different feel to the book. It all started to get incredibly sincere, very Twilighty in feel with everything being about the deep love everyone was feeling for each other. Not my cup of tea. I much preferred the beginning when we were being introduced to Karou, her life, friends and two worlds.
I do hope that in the next book, the focus is taken away from the love story and goes back to the more interesting elements, like the wishmonger, how wishes work, more about how the chimeras are created and more history of the world they come from.
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