A few years ago I tried to read this and gave up in the first 20 pages because I was just not in the mood. I’m so glad I gave this a second try because it was a delight. Once the story got going, I could not stop listening (I opted for the audiobook version). Let’s just say there were some late nights involved and I seriously considered calling in sick to work.
Karou is a teenager going to art school in Prague. At least, that’s what everyone thinks she is. Her secret life also involves visiting the literal monsters who raised her and globe-hopping to procure various types of teeth for them. Yes, that’s right, teeth. Human teeth, alligator teeth, cat teeth, all the different kinds of teeth. Let’s just say that the underground market for teeth is fairly seedy and unpleasant. Her “family” is made up of chimera who have the body parts of different type of animals, including humans. She doesn’t know how she came to be raised by them, but she loves them fiercely. Even though she sometimes gets roped into dealing with shady af characters in the human world for them and her human relationships sometimes suffer as a result.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone is almost perfectly paced which accounts for its readability. It gives you plenty of plot in one setting but will jump to the next, propelling you forward, always leaving you wanting more. The world Taylor built was inventive and engrossing. I love the idea of these monsters hiding from the world, raising this little girl to be strong and smart. All of the supporting characters are interesting enough that they could easily have their own books. I love, love, loved Karou’s family and her relationship with her surrogate father, Brimstone, was the highlight of the book. There’s so much feeling between them conveyed without it getting sappy.
The only reason this isn’t getting 5 stars is because the flashback portion was not quite as compelling and I was only semi-invested in the romantic parts of the story. I have to stress that these were only minor annoyances and not something I’d have stopped reading for. I cannot wait to read the next book in the series!