The top rated negative reviews pan this book because the second half is 'just flashbacks' and pointless to the story. HUH?
The book may not be for everyone, but the second half feels logical to the whole. I thoroughly enjoyed the author's scene weaving language and could imagine the surroundings in each scene. Some of the character interplay may be simplified, but they are believeable.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone was extremely engaging and entertaining. I looked forward to my commute every day just so I could listen to the story. Cheesy at parts, but genuinely well-written and worth a listen.
This was my first book by the author. It was a long book but went by fast. I usually listen in my car ride only. This book kept me listening long after I was at work or home
YA but not YA at the same time. A wonderful mix of high fantasy and urban fantasy in the same vein as His Dark Materials, but with a romantic subplot that would make Shakespeare proud. Not yet madly in love with it, but very much looking forward to book 2!
I saw so many good reviews for this and I generally like YA books (I'm 33), but this was just too hard to swallow. It was really cheesy and drawn out. I liked some elements of the story so that made it fun to listen to still, and if they were free I would probably finish the series, but they aren't good enough for me to want to spend a credit on them.
This review is based on the category of YA Paranormal Romance: 5 stars
If you're looking for a YA-read-that-appeals-to-wide-audience series like Hunger Games or Divergent, this is not that series. The "Daughter of Smoke and Bone" series is firmly in the Young Adult paranormal ROMANCE category. In other words, if you're a guy of any age just stay away.
Karou's life has always been a deliciously mystical swirl flowing between the human world and her hidden family of human/beast chimaera living in an extra-dimensional shop that is accessible only through a world-wide series of portals. As Karou reaches late teens, her chimaera family allows her to move from the shop to Prague - the city of her choice - in lush beauty and potential experiences. Karou periodically portal-hops back to her chimaera shop/home, then out to the world, whether running errands for her chimaera "father" Brimstone, being trained by the best martial art instructors, or soaking up life in exotic locations. And bonus...! Any of her life's smaller frustrations can be wished away... with *real* wishes given to her by Brimstone. When she isn't portal-hopping, she goes to class, works as a vampire and hangs out with Zuzana, the coolest side-kick ever. Life is good, and the worst she has to worry about is a cheating, manipulative boyfriend. Then, during one of her errands for Brimstone she almost gets killed by an angel... and her life goes to hell.
Laini Taylor's world-building is creative and fairly unique, although the romantic plot-line is a little tired at times. Taylor reworks the Romeo/Juliet theme to a fairly good advantage, with some scenes predictable and other scenes surprising. Two elements make this series stand out in the flooded YA market: 1) any description or dialog by Zuzana; 2) the interactions between Zuzana, Mik and the whole rest of the cast of characters. Zuzana and Mik are animated with a joy that propels the whole series to a different level.
I've both read and listened to the whole series and I strongly recommend you listen to the full Audible version as well as reading the paper or Kindle version. Kristine Hvam captures Zuzana and other characters with the perfect tone. Either way, I laughed out loud almost every time Zuzana had any dialog. NOTE: DON'T use Whispersync to listen/read --- that's where you download audio directly into the Kindle app and listen from there. That method leaves out a good chunk of dialog. Instead, download audio into the Audible app or some other media app.
I really enjoyed this book, although I wish Taylor had focused less on the romance and more on the intriguing plot. I recommend this for any female paranormal/romance reader above 14-ish, with the comment that there is some violence in this book, and the 2nd and 3rd books get much darker. Also, please read "Cake and Puppets" novella after you finish this one! It was completely charming. I cautiously recommended this book to my husband, ONLY because I knew he'd love the Zuzana character. He's struggling to get through the romantic high-schooly bits, but he's thoroughly enjoying Zuzana and Mik -- enough to get through this first book, at least!