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Daughter of Smoke and Bone - Review by Becca, Teen Blogger

Discover Catalogue - Daughter of Smoke and BoneDaughter of Smoke and Bone is a fantasy, paranormal romance novel, written by Lani Taylor. It is the first book in a recently finished trilogy. Lani Taylor is the winner of The Cybils Award for Fantasy and Science Fiction (Middle Grade), and a finalist for the National Book Award. She also received the Oregon Spirit Award, was a finalist for the Andre Norton Award, and the Children’s Choice Teen Book of the Year Award, among many other awards and acknowledgements.

The main protagonist is Karou, an aspiring artist, living in beautiful Prague. She attends art school, alongside some of her friends. Very little information is given about Karou throughout the course of the story, giving her an intriguing air of mystery. You start the novel learning about Karou’s “normal” life; her petty ex-boyfriend, Kaz; her puppeteering best friend Zuzana; the beauty of Prague; and the little things, like the best restaurant close to the art school (The Poison Kitchen, for the record). Karou seems like an average, artsy teen. Interested in boys and clothes; biggest worry is if she made a good first impression on her new teacher. But, the closer you look, you realize all is not as it seems.

Karou has a family of monsters. This is Karou's other life. Brimstone, the closest father figure she's ever had, can turn teeth into wishes. He's never given any explanation for the need for teeth or how he can convert them. He's also part ram, lion, turtle and raptor. Karou's never given any explanation for that either. Karou does "errands" for Brimstone: dangerous expeditions to retrieve teeth from greedy traders, in exchange for powerful wishes. While she does reap the occasional reward for her trips-what seventeen year old doesn't want to magically dye their hair electric blue?-she's certainly paid for them twice over (just ask the ugly bullet scar on her hip from one of Brimstone’s more…unpredictable clients). Between Brimstone's "tough love" attitude, lack of answers and need to keep his secret hidden, Karou is just used to confusion. As are her "regular" friends. She loves both her lives but both require many secrets. Quickly though, the plot thickens and her two worlds collide. Her family is in inexplicable in danger. The portals to Brimstone's shop are locked, with a single black handprint on each of them. There's a beautiful angel named Akiva following her that she can't quite seem to shake. Slowly, the secrets-Karou's, Brimstone's, and some much bigger-are revealed.

I absolutely adored this book. From page one, I just couldn't put it down. It is so different, so very unique from anything I've ever read, but still exactly the kind of book I love to read. It mixes mystery, magic, and romance perfectly. Every relationship, from secret lovers, to sisterhood jealousy, to a stiff father-daughter, was incredibly well-written. The dialogue was smooth and natural, and Taylor's style of writing was beautifully poetic. When the characters were happy, you were smiling. You would root for them the whole way through the book. The fight scenes would transport you, you would hold your breath as they fought. In essence, I loved this book, and would recommend it to anyone with an interest in young adult fantasy, romance, or just looking for a fresh book. My final rating is 4.9 out 5 stars.



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