Sunday, May 26, 2013

Book Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone and Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

If I were to make a list of my favorite books, (which I think I might actually do one day soon) these would definitely be at the top. By far they are my favorite fantasy books of all time--hands down, no questions asked. Laini Taylor has a way with words like no one else. Just read this excerpt from the back of Days of Blood and Starlight: "She had loved the enemy and saved him. She had set him free. And he had done this. Bitter, bitter, this desolation of angels." Um, yeah, Laini Taylor is awesome! Here's my summary of each book:

Karou is an art student in Prague. She spends her days hanging out with her friend Zuzana and sketching monsters in her art book  She's always disappearing on errands and can speak several languages. What people don't know is that not all of those languages are human and the monsters in her art book are real. Karou has no family except for a few chimaera--part animal part human creatures. She works for Brimstone, running his errands and collecting teeth. With those teeth and a little donated pain, Brimstone performs magic. He resurrects dead chimaera brought over from another world, a world where chimaera and seraphim (angels) have been at war for centuries. The chimaera would be long gone if not for Brimstone's magic. When the portals between the worlds slowly start closing by an unknown enemy, Karou doesn't know what to do. She knows Brimstone isn't telling her something about who she is and her past. Then Karou meets Akiva. He's familiar and beautiful and instantly has her heart. But there's more to him than meets the eye. When things start to spiral out of control and Karou's chimaera friends disappear, Akiva tells Karou what she needs to do. Break the wishbone Brimstone gave her, the one she wears as a necklace. Akiva knows exactly what's going to happen when Karou does because he knows the truth about who she really is. And he knows that the second the wishbone snaps, he'll lose her forever.

Karou has been gone for quite some time. Her human friends Zuzana and Mik don't know if she's alive or dead or better, with Akiva. But Akiva thinks Karou is dead. Broken and just trying to survive each day, he helps his angel siblings kill the remaining chimaera and with them, dreams of a better world. A world without war and hate and death. But that may never happen because someone is killing the angels now. Easily and horrifically and leaving behind taunts--that they have "arisen." This could only mean one thing: someone is still resurrecting the chimaera. When Akiva saves a chimaera and follows him through an unknown portal, he gets a surprise and a wish come true--Karou is alive. And she is the resurrectionist. And worse, she absolutely hates him. With the help of the evil leader of the chimaera, Karou is raising her dead and continuing the war she never wanted part of. But like Akiva, Karou wants to put an end to all these horrors. What she does on her end and what Akiva does on his has the power to change their world. But what they don't know is that it's not only their world they have to worry about anymore. The angel army has discovered the human world and the human weapons and the human worship of angels. Now with a common enemy, Akiva and his rebel angels and Karou and her chimaera may have to put aside their differences and do the right thing. But will it work? And can Karou and Akiva ever find their way back to each other?

**As soon as you are done reading this post you have to go to your bookstore/library and get these books! The world Taylor has created will blow you away while simultaneously drawing you in. The characters are beautiful and magical and the love story is heart-wrenching and breathtaking. The war between the races will make you stop and think and the love each side has for their people will make you smile. Sometimes I would read a sentence and stop and go back and read it again and say "Wow! That was amazing!" The example above is just one of hundreds that fill Taylor's two books. I can't wait for the final installment of the trilogy, Dreams of Gods and Monsters, to hit shelves in April of next year.

Thanks for stopping by! Now go get these books!