Monday, November 30, 2015

Upon Further Review - Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Upon Further Review is an original feature here at Somewhere Only We Know. I have always loved re-reading my favorite books, and I wanted a way to incorporate re-reading into my blog. Thus From the Ashes and Upon Further Review were born. From the Ashes is where I re-read a book that I have never reviewed before and finally review it. Upon Further Review is where I re-read a book that I've already reviewed and see if my original rating stands or not. This is also the time for me to discuss any new revelations that my latest re-read has brought to my attention.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, # 1)

By: Laini Taylor

Published: September 27th 2011 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

424 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Angels

Source: Publisher via NetGalley (Thank you!!) (I also own the audiobook version)

( Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository )

*Note: The above links to Amazon and Book Depository are affiliate links. Affiliate links support giveaways for Somewhere Only We Know readers.

Goodreads description--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 grows 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 beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery 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?

My first experience with Daughter of Smoke and Bone was in the form of the audiobook version. While the narrator, Khristine Hvam, does a wonderful job narrating the audio version, I'm so glad that I was able to read the kindle version too. As a matter of fact, I'm actually quite glad that I was able to listen to the audiobook version first. For one, there are so many names and words used that I wouldn't have known how to pronounce without hearing them out loud. But also, Khristine Hvam does such a great job with Zuzana's voice in the audiobooks that she was really brought alive as a character. I'm afraid I wouldn't have put as much life in her had I just been reading the book for the first time.

That being said, Laini Taylor's world is so creative, yet complex. It's almost too much to absorb on the first read through in my opinion. All of the places and terms and people were a lot for me to absorb the first time. I'm not 100% sure if that's because I wasn't reading the kindle version the first time and instead listening to the audiobook or if it really is borderline too much.

I'm actually afraid that I might have spoiled a bit in my original review of Daughter of Smoke and Bone. It's such a hard book to discuss due to the nature of how the information is presented. We start off with Karou who has a unique job of running errands for her foster father of sorts, Brimstone. Karou thinks Brimstone is just a tooth collector, but we find out that these teeth are used for something that Karou could never have imagined. All she knows is that magic is real and her "family" is not human. But she has to keep this a secret from her friends and teachers.

One day as Karou is running one of the many errands for Brimstone, she runs into Akiva--a Seraphim who has been at war with Karou's monster family for years. But Akiva sees something in Karou that he can't look past. He doesn't know exactly what draws him to her at first, but he can't deny it.

Karou and Akiva don't have an insta-love relationship, but upon my second "reading" of Daughter of Smoke and Bone I was surprised by how quickly things do seem to progress between these two. I can see this being an issue with readers who are really against relationships that develop quickly.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone is split into two main parts. There's the now and then really the second part of the book is more of a flashback. That's about all I can say without saying too much. I wasn't excited about the second part of the book in my original experience with Daughter of Smoke and Bone, but when I got to the end of the book all of the pieces fit together in such a way to make up for the split. I usually struggle with books that suck me into one storyline and then change directions with an entirely different story or feel. But since I know the entire story (and series) at this point, the redirection wasn't near as bad as my first experience. As a matter of fact, I was able to absorb so much more information during this read through than my original listen.

Because audiobooks are extremely hard to quote from, I'm so glad that I have the kindle version to share some of my favorite quotes with you now.

-"Does he think if he just dangles his boy bits at you like a cat toy you'll go scampering after him?"

-For the way loneliness is worse when you return to it after a reprieve--like the soul's version of putting on a wet bathing suit, clammy and miserable.

-"I don't know many rules to live by," he'd said. "But here's one. It's simple. Don't put anything unnecessary into yourself. No poisons or chemicals, no fumes or smoke or alcohol, no sharp objects, no inessential needles--drug or inessential" ... "either."

"You don't have to be afraid, Karou. How could it be awful? It's you. You can only be beautiful."

My second experience with Daughter of Smoke and Bone was even better than my first. Because I listened to the audiobook first, I was able to hear Khristine Hvam's voice for Zuzana, and I knew what all of those crazy words and places and names were. And of course because I know how it all ends, I loved seeing the pieces of the puzzle while knowing the entire picture. I originally rated Daughter of Smoke and Bone as 4 Stars. I think that rating stands. Have you read or re-read Daughter of Smoke and Bone? What did you think? Let me know!

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