Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

As a teenage girl searches for her lost family, she discovers a world beyond our own and a love that teaches her who she really is.

Karou, a teenager living in modern-day Prague, runs errands across the globe for her adopted family, a group of beast-like creatures called Chimaera. On one such errand she encounters an angel, a Seraphim, and they do battle. The angel, Akiva, may be superhuman in strength and beauty, but he also possesses a very human curiosity about Karou and the eye tattoos on the palms of her hands. Their mutual interest in each other and the subsequent disappearance of Karou’s adopted family propel the two together in a search for answers to the mystery of Karou’s past. Karou and Akiva’s sudden shift from enemies to potential love interests happens implausibly fast; in the moment the characters’ actions and emotions run at odds with their previously revealed experiences. The novel recovers when a clever explanation for their changing attitudes surfaces, and shifts to an intriguing exploration of Akiva’s past and the history of the Seraphim and Chimaera war. Although the premise may seem familiar, the writing surpasses others in the same genre, and the storyline, after the revelation of the series arc, tends more toward fantasy than paranormal. Taylor (Lips Touch: Three Times, 2009, etc.) has constructed a character-driven start to her saga that moves with expert pacing. Told from Karou’s perspective except for brief sections seen through Akiva’s eyes, the novel maintains a serious tone but at times betrays a dark humor beneath a rich descriptive beauty that reaches fruition in the book’s final third. The closing chapters reveal a fully fleshed-out backstory and draw readers further into Eretz, the world apart from our own. The stunning conclusion will leave readers eager to dive back in when a sequel arrives.

Readers of paranormal and urban fantasy will be seduced by the attraction between the characters, but will stay for the vivid, hot-blooded imagining of another world and the chance that two young lovers could change everything.

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