Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Like many readers, I’m predicting that this title is going to be one of the hot books of this year! It has adventure, suspense, mystery and even some paranormal romance between a human and an angel. Karou is an art student in Prague who lives on her own even though she is still in high school. She goes on mysterious “errands,” not even sharing her true self with her best friend Zuzana, who is about to disown her. Because that’s not strange enough, she also draws strange characters in her sketchbooks that the students at her school drool over. “Issa, a serpent from the waist down and a woman from the waist up, with the bare, globe breast of Kama Sutra carvings, the hood and fangs of a cobra, and the face of an angel.” There were also drawings of Twiga, Yasri, Kishmish and most importantly, Brimstone. When her friends ask her where she got the ideas for the drawings, Karou shrugs and tells them they’re real, with a wry smile. Of course, no one in their right mind believes her; the crazy part is that they are real and they raised Karou from a child in Brimstone’s shop where he collects teeth and does mysterious things with them.
As if Karou doesn’t have enough difficulty balancing her human art student life along with her worldwide errands for Brimstone, she starts noticing black, burned handprints on the doors which are secret portals she uses on her errands for Brimstone. And when she runs into one of the beautiful, but frightening angels who is making these marks, sparks the size of Texas fly between them! What follows is a search for the truth, star-crossed love and a quest for peace between two ancient peoples.
I found this book to be very engaging, although I’m usually not much of a fantasy fan. The plot moves along quickly, and Karou is an interesting and unusual character. She reminded me in many ways of the way all teenagers mature and come to terms with who they are and where they come from. I highly recommend this to teen fantasy fans.