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Confessions of a Bibliophile

An aspiring writer and bookstore employee with an incredibly bad book-buying habit... I'll read just about anything (so long as it will appeal to my interests in some way), but my main loves are YA and sci-fi/fantasy. I also like quirky history and science books and will book nerd. A lot. Currently in the process of weeding out my personal library. Find me on Twitter @princess_starr or check out my YA book, Snowfall, on Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/240027
Daughter of Smoke & Bone - Laini Taylor Liked this surprisingly a lot more than I expected. I don’t love it, though, as I had some massive issues with the last third of the book, but it’s still got my interest perked to check out the next installment.There’s been a lot said already about Karou and how she’s soooo different than the majority of other YA adventure/fantasy/paranormal heroines, so this is how I see her—yes, she’s snarky; she can put up a fight; and lives with one foot in our world, and another in the supernatural. But she’s got enough flaws to derail her from super-special status, and that’s why I like her. For all that Karou plays up her mysterious nature and traits, she’s still able to recognize her flaws and mistakes whenever they occur. I like the fact that she’s not afraid to stand up for herself and we actually get to see her do so. I like that she actually does have relationships outside of her chimera family and one friend. The world-building and descriptions are very well-done here. I like the idea of a war between seraph and chimera, and I want to go more into the history of that. I like the little glimpses we get of the chimera society, and it’s explained that it’s not all one big mixed family, but there’s still some tension with the different races. I would have liked to have seen more with the seraph’s world, but the little bits we get from Akiva’s flashbacks gives a good idea. Plus, the descriptions of Prague and the other places Karou globe-hops to feel like they come to life on page. I could definitely see the cafes, the streets, everything that Karou was going through.But while for the first half of the book, I was really invested in Karou’s world, and trying to figure out what was going on with her past and the whole thing with the chimera/seraph war, it came to a screeching halt once Akiva introduces himself to Karou. I do like the fact he’s described as a classical depiction of angels—beautiful and terrible. BUT, then we get to the whole insta-love, which given what’s revealed, just irked me. I can understand Karou finding Akiva attractive and mysterious, but the reveal feels more of a cop-out. And then there’s Madrigal’s story, which eats up the last third. Once we get the reveal that Karou is the revenant/reincarnation of Madrigal, we get this whole backstory that screechs the main plot to a halt to describe what happened to Madrigal, and how she and Akiva fell in love. Aside from the second addition of insta-love, did Madrigal have to be the prettiest chimera ever? I know it’s more a cliché if she wasn’t beautiful, but it misses the point if Akiva insists that all chimera are monstrosities and unclean…except for Madrigal because she looks like an angel. *headdesk* (Also, go more into that! It’s mentioned that Madrigal’s desired BECAUSE she looks more human than the rest of the chimera, get into more of that psychology!)There’s also just a lot that gets built up and when something happens, it’s just glossed over. I was really interested in reading about Zuzanna’s dance scene with her puppet, but the majority of that chapter is dedicated to her making out with her boyfriend. I wanted more time spent with the other members of Karou’s chimera family aside from Brimstone (and, I’m sorry, but the line “There is no time for inessential penises?” What? Why does that line make Brimstone more of a creeper than he needs to be?) Also, I just don’t like Akiva. He feels flat to me, and I really wish we had gotten a deeper relationship with him and Madrigal instead of just one night.I do have problems with this book. But for the most part, the prose is solid, and some of the plot threads are intriguing enough that I’m willing to give the next book a glance when comes out. Taylor does have some really interesting concepts in her world-building, and I would like to see more of this. But I’m also wary that she’ll fall into the trap of insta-love and Karou blowing off her normal world acquaintances now that she’s discovered her true nature. At best, I can recommend taking a look at this and deciding for yourself.