Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

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Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Buy Daughter of Smoke and Bone from Amazon.co.uk

Buy Daughter of Smoke and Bone from Amazon.com

Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Robert James
Reviewed by Robert James
Summary: Very enjoyable – if occasionally heartbreaking - start to what is looking like a really promising trilogy. If you think you've read enough paranormal romances, make room for just one more.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 412 Date: September 2011
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1444722628

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Karou's friends think she's normal. They assume, however often she tells them that her bright blue hair grows that colour, that she dyes it. They think her frequent errands are just normal everyday things to earn money. They believe the snake-bodied being she draws in her sketchbook is a figment of her imagination. They're wrong.

Brought up lovingly by a quartet of strange creatures residing in a place she calls Elsewhere, Karou now lives in modern-day Prague but uses portals to travel around collecting teeth for the bizarre Brimstone, a ram headed magician who is the closest thing she has to a father.

Just as we settle into this strange double world of Karou's, mysterious handprints appear near the portals to Elsewhere. And things change completely…

This is probably going to sound like the most backhanded compliment ever, but I absolutely adored this paranormal romance until the love interest came into it. That's not to say it screeched to a halt or anything with the introduction of the guy Karou falls for – but it was going so spectacularly well, with world-building to die for and my favourite central character for years, that when it ended up being just a very, very good story along similar lines to many other recent ones I was a little disappointed.

In fairness to this novel, while it's following well-trodden footsteps, it's several notches above the vast majority of this genre just from Taylor's absolutely gorgeous writing. Exquisitely lyrical, the prose is wonderful throughout the book. She also provides us with, as I've said, a wonderful heroine who can hold her own against powerful enemies, and a rich and varied supporting cast, with human friend Zuzana being particularly well drawn.

Oh, one warning – pack some body armour; the ending will make you feel as though you've been punched in the gut! In a good way, honestly… it certainly sets up the next in this trilogy really well.

So, overall, not the book of the year which I was hoping it would be after that breathtaking start – but not far off at all. Very high recommendation to fans of the genre.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

Further reading suggestion: My absolute favourite paranormal romance series is the Caster Chronicles, Beautiful Creatures and Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. I'll also stake a claim for Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey as being one of the few books this year with a heroine who is anywhere near as fantastic as Karou.

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