Karou lives her life weaving between two worlds.
There's the world of modern-day Prague where she goes to art school and laughs with her friend Zuzana in eerie cafes. Where her ex-boyfriend puts on street entertainment for tourists, her sketches are of mundane events, and no one believes the stories Karou tells about monsters who exchange wishes for teeth and inhabit a world hidden behind the most ordinary doors.
But those stories are real enough. Sometimes realer than Karou herself feels.
And when scorched hand prints begin appearing around the world, Karou finds it harder to separate her two lives--or keep out of a foreign war encroaching on her world.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone is truly extraordinary. Having read Laini Taylor's Dreamdark series and loved it, I had high expectations for this book--expectations which came nowhere near what this book was actually like. Somewhat like Raybearer, this book was nearly impossible to describe. Taylor's writing and incredible atmosphere which pulled me in from the first page, sketching a world which, despite being set in the modern day, has more than enough room for demons. Realism and the fantastic seem to be blurred and indistinct, almost inseparable, with a dash of clever humor thrown into the mix. Later in the book, when events started to become more clear, Daughter of Smoke and Bone did what many other books with atmospheric, riveting beginnings do not: it kept it up. Despite the sense of place being clearer, despite understanding more deeply what was going on, the atmospheric touch of the surreal never faded, with the middle and end every bit as satisfying and beautiful as the opening. I truly loved Karou and the enigmas of her story; the twists of this book--which has a plot only barely second to its deft writing--were extraordinary. At no point did I grow bored or complacent while reading this, and I certainly never truly knew what would happen next. The rest of this series has jumped right to the top of my to-read list, and I can't wait to dive back into Karou's magical, dangerous world. I highly recommend Daughter of Smoke and Bone to readers ages fourteen and up looking for a luminous, breathtaking fantasy novel full of detail and mystery.