Narrator: Khristine Hvam
Series: Daughter of Smoke & Bone #1
Published by Brown Books for Young Readers, Hachette Audio on September 27, 2011
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Length: 12 hours 32 minutes
You ever finish a book and think “that was so good!” but you never really enjoyed reading it? As in, you will most definitely read the next book and you’re really really glad you read this one, but it kind of made your stomach hurt to read it? You looked forward to moments to read it and you dreaded them at the same time? That was me with the Daughter of Smoke & Bone.
Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.
In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.
And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.
Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages--not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.
When one of the strangers--beautiful, haunted Akiva--fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?
Part of me wonders how much that upset stomach was because of my job and the fact that I was almost always sick to my stomach from the stress of the job… but there’s no doubt that listening to Daughter of Smoke & Bone didn’t make me feel better. But I think that’s because of how incredibly WELL it was written and narrated. It was TOO DAMN REAL for my already upset stomach! Real in the only way fantasy can ever be real – the world is written so well that it just comes to life and it’s almost impossible to believe that it only exists inside the pages of a book. The narration only added to the effect – there was this one character whose voice was so so hideous (which matched the character) I almost dreaded listening to those parts because it made me feel that much more ill – but it was the PERFECT voice for that character and it shouldn’t have been done any differently. Khristine Hvam is like the polish on an already pretty perfectly carved table or something.
So I can’t give it five stars – because I’m not sure I can give a book that I was sometimes nervous to pick up five stars. Yes, my emotional and overworked state probably made the impact of Daughter of Smoke & Bone a little more dramatic than it would be for most people and I may not be selling it by saying it made me ill and nervous to read – but that’s the truth. But the reason is why you should read it (but maybe make sure you’re doing a bit better than I was when you do) is that Laini Taylor is an absolute wordsmith, capable of creating a world that will suck you in, characters you will love, hate, cheer for, and recoil at.
Daughter of Smoke & Bone was long an so much happens — and I realize my review isn’t telling you much about what actually happened in the book – but I figure it’s been out long enough you can find plenty of reviews that give you all those details. Maybe that’s a cop out, but too much happened and it took me almost a month to read (between the dread, the job, and the length) so giving real details would be rough. But what I can tell you is that every detail somehow comes full circle and blows your mind a bit. I’m looking forward to reading the other books, though I’m waiting until I’m in a really peaceful, happy place in my life to do so 🙂