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Daughter of Smoke & Bone

Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, #1) - Laini Taylor, Khristine Hvam The Good
  1. Brimstone. The wishmonger is by far one of the most unique characters I have read in a long time. I loved the contrast of his fatherly demeanor toward Karou with his big bad monsterly badass demeanor toward his customers. This gave his character tons of dimension, but also made him unbelievably endearing. I also really enjoyed the Jamaican accent he was given in the audiobook version. I imagined a creepy, old demon tooth fairy with dreadlocks tangled in his horns, wandering around with necklaces of teeth grumbling to himself.
  2. Zuzana. Zuzana was another really amazingly written supporting character. Her sarcasm, spunk, and smart-ass commentary offset the seriousness of Karou's situation really well more than a couple of times. I liked her so much more than Karou or Akiva, I wish she had been the main character!
  3. The world-building. This book's world building was fantastic. The war between the races is tragic and believable. The fact that Akiva and Karou approach the conflict from differing sides gives the reader insight into the plight of both races, which was a nice touch. The wishmonger and all the rules/rituals involving his magic were intricate, unique, and unlike any other book I have ever read.
  4. The first half of the book. The first half of this book was so wonderful. Amazing world building, amazing supporting characters, good pace, interesting plot twists and a well-constructed mystery development. And then, we throw ALL OF THAT AWAY to focus on the lovey dovey between Karou and Akiva in the whole second half of the book. Agh why?!?!

The Bad
  1. The romantic takeover. About halfway through the book, all the really interesting tidbits about Karou's world, the wishmonger's magic, the war, Zuzana, etc. take a backseat to the overwhelmingly cheesy romance between Karou and Akiva. This was disappointing to me for so many reasons. The immediacy of the problems Karou is facing in the present is completely thrown away while we are treated to a very, VERY long flashback sequence. And while I am thankful for the flashbacks and I enjoyed the background information about Karou's history, it was frustrating to have to wait until all that history was divulged to figure out what the hell happened to my beloved Brimstone in the present. That is not to mention the fact that all those secondary characters I loved so much are given so little face-time in the second half of the novel.

Overall Rating

2/5 - The world-building and awesome secondary characters are showcased beautifully in the first half of this book. Unfortunately, the second half of this book throws all that in the trash so we can focus all of our time and energy on learning exactly how much Karou and Akiva love each other. Although there is a good amount of interesting cultural information divulged during flashbacks in the latter part of the novel, it just wasn't enough to offset all the mush between two main characters that I could never make myself like or care about in the first place. I would have enjoyed this book a lot more if I liked either Akiva or Karou, and if I was more into paranormal romance novels. I would recommend this book to those who enjoy paranormal romance and extremely unique world-building.