A collective of bibliophiles talking about books. Book Fox (vulpes libris): small bibliovorous mammal of overactive imagination and uncommonly large bookshop expenses. Habitat: anywhere the rustle of pages can be heard.
Get your diaries out! Right, 29th September… I know it’s quite a bit away but flick through until you find it. Take a Sharpie (or similar authoritative marker) and write “BUY Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor” in huge bold letters. Cover the entire square. Never mind if you have anything else to fit in on that day, those things are obviously secondary. No-one actually *needs* to go to the doctors/dentist/get married… right?
So why am I forcing you to do such a thing? Read on, dear people…
I first became aware of this book when I received through the post at work, a small black envelope. Inside the envelope was a feather. Nothing else, just a feather. Then I got another black envelope and inside was a fake moustache. Nothing else but a moustache. By now I was in fear that I was being targeted by Big Bird with a Poirot fetish. Then came the envelope with the gold beads… I didn’t have time to freak out that Big Bird was turning to a life of crime (thus ruining all my fond memories of Sesame Street)… when I got a large package containing a proof copy of Daughter of Smoke and Bone.
But now I was intrigued. A number of colleagues who were less freaked out than me had been telling me to get reading, so of course, I did as I was told.
The story is set in Prague and the main character is Karou. She is an artist with tattooed palms and bright blue hair. (How much do I love her… blue hair people, blue-bloody-hair! WANT!) So she goes to art school by day and by night she works in a strange little shop for a weird creature called Brimstone. Her job – to travel the world via the ever moving door to collect teeth which Brimstone buys for wish stones. Okay… breather… how much are you loving this so far? Eh?
The writing in this book is exceptional. The language is evocative and beautifully done. The scenes are gorgeously realised and I have moved Prague right to the top of my wish list of places to visit. Karou is also not a girl to be trifled with. Her ex-boyfriend cheated on her and she gets her revenge by using one of her small wishes to give him an embarrassing itch during a life drawing class. While he is naked. On a podium. In front of everyone.
Being a bit of a dystopian fiend at the moment, I found Daughter of Smoke and Bone rather refreshing. It does feature Angels and also Chimera, which is new to me. And usually anything Angelish coupled with romance makes me yawn. However this is wholly new and a fantastic twist on the genre. Be warned, this is a first book rather than a stand alone so there is a “To be Continued…” at the end. But then it’s such a massive concept that I would have been disappointed if it had been confined to one book.
The main theme running through the book is wish vs hope and in my opinion, it’s about the futility of wishing for something against the power of hoping. I would be giving too much away if I described the scenes and the message given towards the end, but hope figures very strongly and in such an incredible way that it made me cry. There’s certainly a lot of war and fighting but also true love that crosses all boundaries and the joy of thinking of the future, and changing that future. For the better.
I was swept away by Daughter of Smoke and Bone. It was compelling, addictive and utterly superb. I expect nothing in your diaries on the 29th September, except to buy a copy of this book.