HOLY SMOKES, THIS BOOK BLEW ME AWAY. Thar be Daughter of Smoke and Bone spoilers ahead.
I liked but did not love Daughter of Smoke and Bone. The heroine and the worldbuilding were intriguing, but the story got derailed by an oh-so-tortured love interest, and then it became a series of flashbacks, and right when the book got back on track, it ended on a cliffhanger! But if I think of that entire book as a first act, setting up the characters and the world they live in, I am less irritated, because OH MY GOD THIS BOOK WAS AMAZING AND TOTALLY WORTH IT.
Karou is barely recognizable as the vibrant, carefree girl of that first book. She finally knows who she is, but she has lost her family, her heart has been shattered, and she is shunned by her fellow chimaera. Full of anger, guilt and shame, Karou becomes the new Resurrectionist, creating truly monstrous bodies for the chimaera to use in their war against the brutal seraphim. Meanwhile, Akiva has been shaken to his core, not just by his love of Karou, but also by his role in the massacre of her people.
Gone are the innocence and the romance of the story. Instead there is war: the violence, the horror, the pain, the weariness. The futility of vengeance is shown as blood is repaid with blood over and over and over again. Leaders on both sides are shown to have their own personal agendas, and allies are not always friends. (Remember who the real enemy is, Katniss – er, I mean Karou.) But Karou and Akiva’s dream of peace stubbornly refuses to die.
Four and a half stars.