Okay, so you're probably wondering what I could possibly have to say about this book that hasn't already been said by someone in the 120 THOUSAND plus reviews the books' already received. That's right. One hundred and twenty thousand. Laini Taylor clearly knows what she's doing, and in this review, I'm going to do two things for you:
1) Tell you what her words have done to me to make me a better writer.
2) Spoil the story, so beware.
Once again, this review contains spoilers!
Okay, now that you've been sufficiently warned, I already dropped a review for this book on Goodreads and on Amazon. I didn't need to. Like I said before, it already had an unthinkable amount of reviews, so what could I have added that would have been of any value to anyone? Nothing, right? Exactly. But, dammit, I left a review anyway. Why? Because this book moved me.
I started reading it a while ago, although by that I mean that I had downloaded it onto my Kindle and it was waiting for me to read it. I didn't actually get round to it until a few days ago, but boy, I devoured that think faster than I would a piece of NY cheesecake.
This woman is everything I want to be as a writer. The world in this book is not very different from the kind of worlds I want to write about, and Karou - the totally sexy heroine - is EXACTLY the kind of woman I want to see in books. She's independent, fierce, she can fight, she has blue hair and she's covered in tattoos! I want to be Karou, and I haven't read many books that have made me feel like this.
I likened the Daughter of Smoke and Bone to "Neverwhere" by Neil Gaiman. In the book, Karou - a human girl - is caught in the middle of a war between two races; the majestic Seraphim (basically Angels) and the bestial Chimaera (no, not Demons, but some of them sure looked like Demons). Raised by Chimaera, Karou's loyalties are firmly fixed from the start of the novel; but when the hot-as-hell Seraph Akiva takes an interest in her, the seal on pandora's box is broken and her life will never be the same again.
What I liked about this story is that there's such an intense romantic component to it... you can feel it jumping out of the pages at you like sparks from a welding torch. But the romance isn't what drives it. The story stands proudly on its own, and the characters don't just live in it - they live it. Though the story wraps on a cliffhanger, and the entire book is basically Act One (of the Three Act Structure that is the trilogy) it was executed so perfectly that I have NO issue in diving straight into the next book. And that's exactly what I'm going to do as soon as I'm done writing this.
There was nothing about this book that I dislike enough to mention. Period.
What has it done for me as a writer? Well, when you're a reader, you just read. You immerse yourself, you experience the story. But when you're a writer, you learn from it too. I read the book twice. Once to experience it, and the next to soak up every last drop of that delicious prose. I want Laini to read to me, and I want to wrap myself up in her words.
Is that weird?
Probably, but Laini's book is the perfect blend of suspense, mystery and romance. How she managed to cook up her formula I don't know, but she got it totally right and inspired me to keep wading through the mud toward my goal of writing a book that's as awesome as - no better than! - hers!
As a reader, I want you to read this book because I'm totally enamoured with this woman's writing. I can't wait to read more of her work, but at the same time I sort of want to savour it?
As a writer, I have learned more from the way she writes than I ever have. I've read plenty of books, but this one, I think, hit the spot with me. It was like the stars aligned. She didn't miss a single beat. And I think I'm going to write better thanks to her.
If only I could thank her!
Have you read this book? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!
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