Daughter of Smoke and Bone was entertaining and creative, but it pulled that stunt I can't stand when romance is involved.
Reincarnation. I can't get invested in a love story if the feelings are not developed by getting to know one another but because one person is actually someone else. It bugs the crap out of me. That is why I'm not giving this book five stars despite the themes, world building and characters. I had a nagging feeling halfway through the book because of my twin sister Mariel's review of another Laini Taylor book Lips Touch Three Times. One of the short stories involved a girl who was actually a fae queen. Love at first sight is unfortunate enough on its own, but with a lemon dash of reincarnation thrown in, then it's actually worse to my palette. I hope she's not a one trick pony.
This could be a good series if the next books aren't based on a romance we didn't see develop with the character we spent the book with. Granted, Karou felt undeveloped and was missing something. She had a reason but did as a romance love at first sight or in love with my reincarnated-self's guy felt empty. Her relationships with Brimstone and the other chimera were real.
That emptiness made up for the unearned talents in languages and accents. I cringed while reading the first chapters when I thought she was a protégé. I felt a little cheated that the girl we got to know in the book is going to be another character in the next installments. Why bother developing her at all if she's going to be replaced with Madrigal?
To my relief her quirks [blue hair] and languages were due to magic that asks for a price. The price for magic in this world is pain.
Brimstone, the chimera that raised Karou is a wish monger who deals in teeth. Karou rescued some Russian girls from shady traffickers.
This world and all it's characters value beauty over all else. It doesn't matter if your smart, funny or generous but beauty. Beauty, beauty, beauty. Art matters because it's pretty. Therefore, the teeth thing made sense since it's wrapped up in appearances.
Is Brimstone really that great then? What is he up to? If she was really his ally or equal why keep her in the dark but use her as an errand girl?
Is Akiva good? To my standards the Serpharim seem like the bad guys. As Karou told him, while explaining WWI history in the cafe Poison, a gothic cafe in Prague that sounds divine, the invaders are always the bad guys. The new Karou seems a bit more unforgiving than her old self Madrigal. Madrigal had a more optimistic view about war despite being on the defending side. Karou was speaking from the cozy view of a history-reader.
The character Madrigal reminds me of a love interest in the manga series Fruits Basket
. Doctor Hatori Sohma was in love with a happy-clappy girl named Kana. Kana would ask what snow turned into when it melted. Spring! Oh how cutesy. I loved Tohru Honda in that series. Yes, she was cheerful and loved to clean, but she wasn't brilliant. She had faults to balance everything out. I hate it when things come to easy for a character.
That Karou's wishes came with a price [not her own it seems while others lose their teeth for her to have blue hair or give her ex an itch] balanced out the annoying first chapter when she was just a little too precocious. I liked that she was a wee bit spiteful because it gave her somewhere to grow. Karou was provided sufficient backstory with her Kaz relationship. This went a long way to explaining her superficial reasoning to jump into another relationship based on appearances only. It also explained why she wasn’t willing to agree to wait for him forever. She’d been hurt before.
My other problem was the characters ages teenagers that read more like early twenties. They had no guardians to set restrictions and could essentially do anything they wanted. Karou had limitless funds and a cool flat of her own. She was almost too mature if it hadn't been for giving the vampire girl big eyebrows. This does has an advantage. This could be why the book appears to be so popular with all ages. I didn’t understand why they had to be seventeen, as opposed to the college students they behaved like.
Razgut, the fallen angel, who sat on poor Izril's back in Morocco was the most interesting character in my mind. I found him to be fascinating. I hope something happens as a result of him tasting Karou. Plus she used a wish to gain him flight. His wings and legs were taken from him as a punishment.
I have a feeling this is going to come back and haunt her.
I also adored Kishmish. I'm a sucker for birds and birdlike characters in stories.