‘Daughter of Smoke and Bone’ is the perfect example of a ‘Bee Book’. She read it first and really enjoyed it, even though there were no faeries involved. So, I was tentative to try it out – our taste in books doesn’t differ that much, but this has been sat on Bee’s shelf for so long, I kind of forgot I could read it.
Bee never knew how to describe it to me, and now I totally understand why. A lot happens in DOSAB, that it’s hard to categorise it by genre. It literally fits no conventions, and I think that’s what’s made it so successful!
Karou is our protagonist, though DOSAB is in third person, so we get to know other characters pretty well too. She is split between two worlds: a contemporary Prague, where she can have soup with her best friend and sketch nudes, and a fantasy world filled with Chimaera. Because of Percy Jackson, I was well aware of the mythology, so had some idea of what the teeth collecting was for!
I liked how spunky Karou was, and how independent. She was a really interesting character, inside and out, especially with her blue hair! But, one of the biggest story arcs across the book was Karou trying to discover her heritage, because she certainly wasn’t Chimaera, or human. Usually, characters would annoy me in this situation with constantly questioning, “Who am I?” but Karou let’s it all naturally come to light.
Akiva, the angel, is the other prominent character. He’s your typical beautiful boy, hence why it was easier to figure out he belonged to a different world. Why is it that those of ethereal beauty are always slightly not human? I’d say he was pretty conventional for his character type. A mysterious Edward Cullen/Jace Wayland, but just not as….creepily possessive over Karou.
I wasn’t expecting romance to play such a big part in DOSAB, as the middle section was very high-fantasy-esque. But, I was pleasantly surprised. At first, I didn’t like how Karou and Akiva just knew they loved each other, with barely any knowledge of the other. I thought I was in for another insta-love storyline. But, when reading the final section of the book, you realise the character’s have a history, so their desire is somewhat justified, and I could better involve myself in the romance. It was just weird to see love come first, and history second.
World Building and Pacing
The novel is split into four different sections. The first is very…normal. Almost contemporary, with just a hint of the unusual. Karou’s life is set up, and we instantly understand her struggles. The second part is more high fantasy. We learn a bit more about the world and its dangers, with villainous creatures out to get Karou. The other two sections are devoted more toward the love story, with a bit of world-building legends thrown into the mix. The concept of angels versus Chimaera, who take the position of devils is certainly intriguing, and a twist on anything else of the type I’ve read, like Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins.
The four parts lent themselves well to a good pace. There was always something to discover, so revelation to behold. I loved how different and hard to pinpoint this book was, which certainly made me want to keep reading.
Overall, I’d give ‘Daughter of Smoke and Bone’ 4 stars. There was so much poured into the novel, it was so difficult not to like, even if it was sometimes tricky to understand, and you might have to wait until you’re further into the novel before things at the beginning make sense. Anyone, and I mean anyone, would enjoy this!