Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Taylor, Laini. Daughter of Smoke & Bone. NY: Little & Brown, c2011. 418 pages. Book 1 of the trilogy. Other books are Days of Blood and Starlight, and Dreams of Gods and Monsters.
Because I need to read a lot of books as librarian, I don't often read entire series because of lack of time. This is one series I feel compelled to finish. Throughout the richly detailed first book, I never quite knew what was coming next. All the story hints never quite prepared me for the next surprise element to fall into place.
Karou seems like an almost normal 16-year-old, attending school, but living in a tiny apartment in Prague by herself. Her passion is drawing and she has over 90 sketchbooks, full of detailed drawings of many things, but many of strange looking monsters, part human, part animal. She has one good friend, Zuzanna, and one discarded boyfriend, Kaz. That is where "normal' ends. She was raised in a portal to another world, mystical and mysterious, by one of the monsters of her sketchbook, Brimstone. Though Brimstone cares for her, he keeps his work secretive and Karou in the dark. Her errands for him take her around the world through additional portals, collecting teeth, the use for which she does not know. When mysterious handprints and an equally mysterious and perfect "angel" appear, things change and both love and tragedy enter Karou's life. While I enjoyed the mythic fantasy aspect of this book, I was forced to take a good look at our own world and the violence that seems ever present. Karou, whose name means "hope" dreams of a world remade, a world of peace. I do too. Recommended for high school. Review by Mrs. Belknap.