There are some young adult books that just feel right the first time you read them. The characters are intriguing, the plot is enthralling, and the world makes you want to dig out your passport and get on some kind of plane that will take you there. If you want to read a book like that, I recommend Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. It is a thrilling first novel in a trilogy (accompanied by Days of Blood and Starlight and Dreams of Gods and Monsters) that follows a blue haired girl named Karou. She is an art student in Prague, and she has a big secret.
The monsters in her sketchbook are real. She was raised by monsters and goes on errands all around the world to collect teeth for them. She also has to deal with an incorrigible ex-boyfriend. Relatable?
One day, burned hand prints appear on doors all around the world, and a winged stranger enters into her life, initiating her into a brutal war in which she plays a pivotal role. The trilogy escalates with each book, drawing you further and further into a world that doesn’t technically exist but makes you wish it did. Karou is brave, fierce, and bright. Her friend Zuzana is a charismatic puppeteer. The monsters are not evil, nor the angels entirely good. Vividly imagined details and complex storytelling make this book worth a read. The hint of romance in the first half of the first novel only grows stronger, until finally you are left with a romance that is much, much better than Twilight.
Opulent flights of fancy abound in this trilogy, and paired with fantastical characters and far-off locales.
Opulent flights of fancy abound in this trilogy, and paired with fantastical characters and far-off locales (Paris, Prague, Marrakech…) make this trilogy inspiring as well.
What drew me into the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series the most was Taylor’s incredible world building capabilities. The streets and people of Prague come alive. Along with Taylor’s capacity for fantastical and magical elements, are the characters that people the novel. Zuzana is Karou’s best friend as well as a puppeteering student. She wears chunky black boots and deems herself a “rabid fairy” kind of girl who would rather hex you than kiss you. The angel that later sweeps into the novel is wracked with inner turmoil and tattoos, as well a hefty set of wings. The mystery that envelops Karou and her life will also engulf you. I dare you to pick up the first novel, read the first chapter and try to put it down again. Nothing is as it seems in the world of Karou and her monsters. You won’t be able to put this book down. Be careful, I was so enthralled by this series that I almost missed my flight.
Also published on Medium.