After a stretch of not-so-great books, I've finally come upon a reader's gold mine. DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE is the first in a YA fantasy trilogy by the incomparable Laini Taylor. It is the richly imagined, complex, multi-layered story of a mysterious blue-haired girl, Karou, and the handsome brooding angel, Akiva, who crosses her path in a not very ideal way.
I didn't know what to expect when I started reading this book. The synopsis didn't reveal much, and every other review I had read about it was pretty cryptic. Angels, devils, magic, blah blah. But as I read on, I was plunged into an achingly beautiful, tragic world full of fully-imagined demons, heavenly creatures, and a working system of magic that was truly believable. The world building was stunning. Not only that, but Taylor herself is a MASTER of prose. She is a pure and talented artist. I can't give her enough praise on how gorgeous her prose is. I'm still swooning thinking about it.
And the settings were so rich and colorful. From the haunting, old-world beauty of Prague, to the vivid minaret studded landscape of Morocco, I felt like I was there. She fully immersed me in her worlds, and I got lost. I looked forward to opening this book to read because I knew I'd be transported to magical, beautiful worlds each and every time.
That being said, I realized this book isn't for everyone. There is a long section of exposition setting up the myth behind the chimera and angels, and I heard it jarred some readers quite a bit. But this is where subjectivity comes in. I was so enthralled and invested in her world that I didn't mind reading a long chunk of exposition/history.
I've fallen hard. Give me everything Laini Taylor has ever written and I'll love you forever. 4/5 stars.