Daughter of Smoke and Bone
by Taylor, Laini

Seventeen-year-old Karou, a lovely, enigmatic art student in a Prague boarding school, carries a sketchbook of hideous, frightening monsters-the chimaerae who form the only family she has ever known, in a unique fantasy by an award-winning author about forbidden love, an epic battle and hope for a world remade.

Laini Taylor is the New York Times bestselling author of Days of Blood & Starlight, Daughter of Smoke & Bone, the Dreamdark books Blackbringer and Silksinger, and the National Book Award finalist Lips Touch: Three Times. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband, illustrator Jim Di Bartolo, and their daughter, Clementine. Her website is www.lainitaylor.com.

Seventeen-year-old Karou moves deftly between her relatively normal high-school life in Prague and the strange world of the chimaera, in which she collects the human and animal teeth that the wishmonger, Brimstone, painstakingly sorts. The chimaera are the only family Karou has known, and when access to their world suddenly disappears behind smoldering black handprints, she vows to find them. Could this have been a result of the perpetual war between the chimaera and the seraphim? Along with this central mystery of monsters, a fantastical Romeo-and-Juliet romance develops between Karou and the angel Akiva, a romance destined for hurt and betrayal. Author Taylor has created a variety of worlds, time frames, and creatures with such detail and craft that all are believable. Blurring the boundaries of good and evil, slaves and owners, human and beast, she careens readers from sadness to love, from the predictable to the amazing, and from the outlandish to the bizarre. Readers will look forward to the suggested sequel to this complex, exciting tale. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

A love thought lost proves anything but when another world's 1,000-year war spills over into this one.

Seventeen-year-old Karou leads a double life: as an art student in Prague with normal boyfriend troubles—and as a runner of bizarre errands for Brimstone, a scarred and saturnine sorcerer with the head of a ram and the lower body of a dragon. With similarly chimerical associates, he has raised her from infancy and dispatches her through magic portals to destinations all over the world. She knows nothing of her past or purpose—until a sudden, fiery closure of all the portals cuts her off from the only family she's ever known, and an initially violent but ultimately "sweet and beckoning collision" with winged, inhumanly beautiful Akiva leads to revelations of an ancient conflict between Seraphim and the supposedly bestial Chimaera. Switching points of view and settings, Taylor then fills in a back story that links Akiva and Karou in an older tragedy, while planting seeds that might lead ultimately to peace. The plot hinges on major contrivances, but along with writing in such heightened language that even casual banter often comes off as wildly funny, the author crafts a fierce heroine with bright-blue hair, tattoos, martial skills, a growing attachment to a preternaturally hunky but not entirely sane warrior and, in episodes to come, an army of killer angels to confront.

Rarely—perhaps not since the author's own Faeries of Dreamdark: Blackbringer (2007)—does a series kick off so deliciously. (Fantasy. 13-16)

Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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