Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and Days of Blood and Starlight have been a couple of the most original and imaginative stories I’ve read in a while.
Karou is an art student who leads a double life. She has a secret family of monsters, chimaera, who have raised her from birth. Her father is a creature named Brimstone and she runs errands for him, collecting teeth that he uses in his sorcery, over in his world. A war is being fought there, and Karou won’t be able to avoid it, no matter how much Brimstone and her monster family tries to protect her.
I don’t want to reveal too much more than that because the world-building is so detailed and well-planned and it is such a fun ride to have the story unfold.
The characters are varied, developed, and distinct. Dialogue is seamless, and amidst the fantasy elements of creatures, magic, myths, there is also the mundane events and people in Karou’s life, not to mention her occasional immature young adult behaviour. It’s an interesting contrast, one that serves to emphasise the importance of Karou’s role.
The questions raised by the novels are juicy ones: how far would you go to protect your loved ones? Which is more important — vengeance or forgiveness? Do the needs of the group outweigh the rights of an individual? Lots of food for thought.
Definitely recommended for high school students who like fantasy.
(The final book in the trilogy is already out, as of April 2014.)