I don’t just write books for young adults–I read them, too! I am a self-confessed science fiction and fantasy geek, and I want to review the books that really feel DIFFERENT to me. Or wonderful. New, fresh, interesting, that’s what I’m after!
Genre: Urban Fantasy . . . With a Touch of Angels
Summary: Karou, a 17 year-old art student in Prague, can sketch like nobody’s business, speak dozens of languages (some not of this world), and wish her hair permanently blue. She can walk out of our plane of existence to a shop owned by a monster named Brimstone–a monster who collects, of all things, teeth. For reasons unknown to Karou, Brimstone raised her in his unusual shop, and he sends her on errands all over the world, mostly involving his collection of teeth. She exits the shop via doors that open onto the world’s major cities and some very out of the way places, but black handprints have begun to appear on these doors. They seem sinister to Karou, but school and Brimstone’s errands leave her little time to consider them. When she’s almost killed by one of the gorgeous strangers making those handprints, she finds herself yanked into an otherworldly battle she can barely conceive of, much less understand. She’s drawn to Akiva even though he tried to slaughter her, and in his flame-filled eyes, she may find answers about herself and her past–answers that she can scarecely bear to accept.
My Reading/Listening Experience: The audio version of Daughter of Smoke and Bone is about as perfect as a reading can get. The cadence and accents are perfect, and I looked forward to every moment I spent with the book. The characters–wow. Karou, Brimstone, Karou’s best friend–even her jerk of an ex-boyfriend live and breathe and fail and succeed like real people . . . even when they aren’t people at all. Laini Taylor writes crisply and without cliches, and doesn’t shy away from real life. At first the fantasy element is almost slipstream, and even when we’re pitched headlong into other worlds and confronting races barely known to us, it never becomes overwhelming. The story seemed well-paced and pulled me through, and my interest never waned.
Really Cool Stuff: Brimstone! I want him for my father! A conversation about essential vs. non-essential aspects of the male anatomy that will live with me forever and become advice I give my grandchildren. Seraphim and Chimera. I want to be a Chimera. A wolf I think, or maybe…maybe a wickedly dry-witted monster just like Brimstone. The snake lady made me love her, too. And the scary female Seraphim. I want to read a book about her someday. If Laini Taylor kills her, I may have to resort to stalking.
Would I Let A Younger Kid Read This: Hmm. Tougher than some. There is real violence here, not just gratuitous beatings and smackings readers can ignore. This book delves into the very real pains of poverty, madness, and exploitation in our world and others, and the writing is so realistic that the images live in my mind and heart. So, I probably wouldn’t hand this to a kid under 14 unless I knew they were mature and tough enough to take on those subjects. There is unabashed sexuality, though again, nothing gratuitous–so, same issue–probably not under 14 unless I knew the kid could handle it.
Would I Give This Book To My Daughter Who Reads Everything But Is Way Pickier Than Me And Gripes If I Give Her Something Boring: Absolutely. Already have it in her Christmas book box. Well, if I can pry it back from my friend Judy. She wanted to leave work last Friday to finish it. Seriously.
But I Don’t Like This Genre: This book is a genre-defier. Shut up and read it. You’ll really reall like it. If not you can send me hate mail.
Read more about this book at http://www.lainitaylor.com/p/books.html.
The sequel, Days of Blood and Starlight, doesn’t come out until November. That’s four months! NO FAIR!!