Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (review copy) - Errand requiring immediate attention. Come.
The note was on vellum, pierced by the talons of the almost-crow that delivered it. Karou read the message. 'He never says please', she sighed, but she gathered up her things.
When Brimstone called, she always came.
In general, Karou has managed to keep her two lives in balance. On the one hand, she's a seventeen-year-old art student in Prague; on the other, errand-girl to a monstrous creature who is the closest thing she has to family. Raised half in our world, half in 'Elsewhere', she has never understood Brimstone's dark work - buying teeth from hunters and murderers - nor how she came into his keeping. She is a secret even to herself, plagued by the sensation that she isn't whole.
Now the doors to Elsewhere are closing, and Karou must choose between the safety of her human life and the dangers of a war-ravaged world that may hold the answers she has always sought. From Amazon UK
One word for you: Wow! Seriously. I thought this book sounded good when I read the blurb, but I never expected to find what I did within it's pages. And all I can say is wow!
What I find really awesome is how Daughter of Smoke and Bone is a mix of urban fantasy and high fantasy - and perhaps sci-fi? Beings that are not human in a world that is not our own? Karou works for Brimstone, a chimaera - a being that can have the body parts of humans and various different animals - and wishmonger. An orphan, Karou has been with Brimstone for as long as she can remember, and works as his errand girl, trading teeth and wishes across the world for reasons she doesn't know of. Why does Brimstone want these teeth? She travels through the door in Brimstone's shop that will lead to anywhere on Earth he wants at any given time. For Brimstone's shop isn't here, it's Elsewhere. A door that will only open into the shop when Brimstone wants. Brimstone and the people who work with him are the only family Karou has, if she is on the other side of the door and it won't open for her, she will be completely alone. So when the angels arrive, marking every door around the world that will open into Brimstone's shop with a black handprint, well, things get a little worrying.
To be honest, I can't really say much more than that about the plot. It sounds like a lot, but I'm barely skimming the surface. You find out a whole lot more about this in just the first few chapters. There's the rest of the book to read, and it is epic. It's so much more than I imagined it could be. I am simply amazed at the imagination of Laini Taylor to come up with such a full and awe-inspiring world (worlds?) and story! It's just fantastic.
But wait, there's more. Move over Patch and Nora, Edward and Bella, and Daniel and Luce. Who are they, anyway? Hello Akiva and Karou! The love that sparks, kindles and burns in these pages will have you melting into your chair. Really. Beautiful, beautiful Akiva who's soul was practically dead, and art student Karou who constantly feels like something in her is missing, when they meet, it's electric, even if it's not in the best of circumstances. When they're apart, it feels wrong. This is not obsession or addiction, this is physical, this is a need that goes far beyond anything I've ever read before. And when they are together, well, they burn hotter than a bonfire. Just so you don't confuse my meaning, I am not talking sex here, I'm talking simply of the depth of their feelings, their love for each other. It is that big. And they will take your breath away.
I am completely blown away by just how amazing this is! I absolutely love it! It's one of the best fantasties I've read for quite a while, combining what I love about all the sub-genres, and creating such a believable, wonderful, and exciting story! I absolutely cannot recommend this book enough. I can't even fathom why anyone wouldn't like it. It's perfect. Bring on book two!
Thanks to Hodder & Stoughton for the review copy.
Published: 29th September 2011
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
But on Amazon US
Laini Taylor's website
Daughter of Smoke and Bone Website