This past weekend I had the extreme pleasure and honor of meeting Laini Taylor and hearing her speak about writing stories that keep readers engaged and enthralled. She is such a unique and amazingly creative person and just listening to her inspired me. Her book Daughter of Smoke and Bone has been on my shelf for quite some time now–it’s been one of those books I really wanted to read, but somehow kept getting pushed back in the pile. So, still reeling from meeting her, I started reading it the next day and instantly fell in love.
Ms. Taylor has written a brilliantly luscious novel about love, self-discovery, and an ongoing war between angels and chimaeras, demon-like creatures. This is a story about strength and redemption, of curiosity and truth, and of two people who fall in love despite the fact they’re enemies. The writing is gorgeous and rich with color, dimension, and pure feeling. She knows how to take the English language and shape it in ways that are fresh and stunning. It’s as if she selected every word with extreme care to ensure every image, line of dialogue, or scene has room to live and breathe in the exact way she wanted, leaving no room for careless imagination.
Despite being written in the third person, I was instantly pulled into Karou’s character and connected with her more than I thought I would. She has this hollowness in her that, though deeper than most of us may personally know, is an emptiness we can all relate to and have felt at some point in our lives. And Akiva? Well, I love him and just want to give him a hug and reassure him that everything’s going to be okay, that he is okay. The romance and chemistry between him and Karou is heart wrenching and stunning.
The book wouldn’t be the same without the rich and believable mythology. Ms. Taylor’s take on the war between angels and demons is refreshing and well-thought out. I like how she uses this struggle to question what exactly is “good” and what is “evil”. Lines are often blurred in war and she explores this idea wonderfully.
All in all, Daughter of Smoke and Bone is a masterpiece, a work of pure beauty. Laini Taylor has crafted a well-written, tragically romantic, and mysterious story that will sweep readers up in its beauty. This is a must read and don’t wait like I did. I wanted to just sit and devour the book, it’s that amazing! I’m dying for the sequel–Days of Blood and Starlight–and can’t wait until I get my hands on it. If you’ve read Daughter of Smoke and Bone, let me know what you thought of it!