Thursday, June 12, 2014

Series Review: Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor

Series Description:
Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands", she speaks many languages - not all of them human - and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When the beautiful, haunted angel, Akiva, fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

My Thoughts:
I'm a series reader. If I little more than halfway like the first book in the series I will most likely read the rest of them. That's just the way it is. I like finality and resolution. If you were an ex-boyfriend of mine I'd probably feel the need for a breakup DTR, which probably wouldn't happen and I would, therefore, go around for the rest of my life feeling like something was missing. Thank you, dear reader, for not doing that to me.

Since I am a series reader I find it difficult to separate all the books in a series once I have read them; They intertwine and connect too much. So, I am going to do my best to review this whole series without spoiling anything.

The first thing you should know about Ms Taylor is that she is an amazing writer. The words flow. It's beautiful. I never felt like the story was rambling or that she had a word count to fill. Things read just as they should; Speeding up and slowing down as necessary. Lovely.

The first book, Daughter of Smoke & Bone, started out so strongly that I almost wish the story just continued on like the first half. The world of art students in Prague with beautifully blue hair and amazingly imaginative projects was so unique and fun and I wanted it to keep going. It didn't. The book morphed halfway through into something completely other. And kept going throughout the next two books.

It starts out great. I loved Karou in the human world and really miss her once it ends. I also miss the humor when we leave the human world. The humor stops. And a lot of things feel waaaaayyy too mature for YA. There's a lot of sex, violence, even some language, and most disturbing, an attempted rape scene. I understand the plausibility of these things happening in situations like this but I read YA to NOT read about things like that. YA is supposed to be cleaner, lighter. But, despite all the dark stuff I enjoyed the writing and the story.

My favorite book in the series actually turned out to be the last: Dreams of Gods & Monsters. Some parts were fairly predictable but some of it actually caught me by surprise. I feel like Laini Taylor should write something better than YA fiction because the way she writes just feels... above it. You know? Her imagery, her realism in a completely unrealistic world, her characterizations: Lovely. Beautiful. Sometimes haunting. This wasn't quite as dark or disturbing as the 2nd in the series, but it had a few moments. And even though the perspective jumped all over the place, the narration never changed. It was omniscient that way, which is unusual for newer books, but I didn't really mind it. No gratuitous sex or violence, thank goodness, and there was a very satisfying ending. Although it felt like it could be the beginning of a new series. Which I would read.

So, overall, I'm just middle-of-the-road here. Meh. I liked the ideas and the imagination but wasn't a fan of all the adult-like content in a YA series. I wouldn't recommend this for actual teenagers but it is still an entertaining read

Sexual Content: Heavy
Language: Moderate
Violence: Moderate
Drugs/Alcohol: Mild

Daughter of Smoke & Bone: 3/5 Stars
Days of Blood & Starlight: 3/5 Stars
Night of Cake & Puppets (short story): 2/5 Stars
Dreams of Gods & Monsters: 4/5 Stars
Whole Series:

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