Reviewed by: Amber
Rating (out of 5): 5 stars
Once upon a time, a little girl was raised by monsters.
Karou has probably the strangest life ever. She has naturally blue hair and strange tattoos of eyes on the palms of her hands that she’s had all her life. She lives alone in a tiny flat in Prague attending art school and has a job collecting teeth. She’s paid in wishes by her foster father Brimstone, who happens to be a chimaera, just like the rest of her family. Her whole life has been filled with secrets, never knowing where she came from, how a human child ended up in the care of a chimaera, or what Brimstone uses the teeth for.
The world as Karou knows it is about to change, as angels begin to descend, marking the portals Karou uses to travel the cities of the world. One angel, Akiva, will answer all of Karou’s questions, but at what price?
I loved Daughter of Smoke and Bone from the very first page. The entire book is beautifully written, flavored with descriptions that bring the story to life. The introduction to the world was masterfully done with perfect bite-sized bits of information dropped here and there. This did well to keep the mystery throughout the story without giving it away and supporting the big reveal perfectly. The world is well defined, with Earth and Eretz as separate entities and portals in between, Eretz with its own lore and background.
I instantly fell in love with the characters. Karou was delightful and outgoing, taking gunshot wounds and sword fights in her stride. She’s the type of person who gets back up when life knocks her down and she does it with such vigor that it’s inspiring. I loved watching Akiva break down his own walls as he became more and more drawn to Karou. We don’t just get to see him become a warmer person, but we also get to see why he closed himself off in the first place, which is a sad yet wonderful tale in itself.
While none of the story took place from Brimstone’s point of view, his character drew my attention as well. He was first introduced as Karou’s odd foster father, a grim, scary-looking chimaera resembling the devil in appearance. Although he places Karou in danger, having her run errands and collect teeth, it’s obvious through the entire story that he cares deeply for her. As the story progressed and the part Brimstone played in Karou’s life became more apparent, it was hard to accept that he had an understandable reason to keep the secrets he did from Karou. So hard that there’s still a part of me that wants to argue that a few of his secrets were unnecessary.
Watching Karou’s and Akiva’s relationship unfold was a treat, especially because the romance wasn’t unfounded. Akiva doesn’t just happen to fill the emptiness Karou feels, but there’s actually a reason behind it. A painful, befitting reason. On top of that, both characters have to deal with their past loves.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone was world driven as much as it was character driven, where the two elements interact with each other perfectly. I was so excited for the sequel that I picked it up immediately.
Sexual content: Kissing, references to sex