Thursday, 5 July 2012

Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Laini Taylor's well received Daughter of Smoke and Bone, is released in paperback by Hodder & Stoughton on 5th July.  The first in the Elsewhere Trilogy, it tells the story of Karou; a young girl living in present day Prague, Czech Republic who must choose between the safety of her human existence and the dangers of a war-ravaged world.

Taylor's book like most literature is full of influences - Philip Pullman's Northern Lights; Guillermo del Toro's Pan Labyrinth and Stephanie Mayer's Twilight.

Having a strong central young female adult as the primary character is a given in most books that aim for cultural and commerical attention; yet Karou a woman who is strong and self-confident. Karou is a young artist - who has a scrapbook of all the characters she encounters.  The twist being that all these creatures are real, with such names as Issa and Brimstone, her primary employer.  Brimstone is the Wishmaster; and wishes are granted by the giving of teeth.

An early scene shows Karou's reckless side as she uses a wish to grant a model during her life modelling class to get an itch in a private place.  This vindictiveness is something she will have to overcome, and dissuade from herself she is told.

What Karou is not aware of though; is that apart from being an abandoned youth (a la Mr. Potter), she was the child of a kinship between an angel and a devil who fell in love.  Therefore, Karou must walk this narrow path between good and evil whilst learning to get along with her everyday life.

Taylor has a real pace to the story; it zips along apace from set piece to set piece never wavering nor delaying with crucial exposition, it helps to have the lead girl be a smart cookie.  Characters are intelligently rendered and helped by some good dialogue and characterisation.

Yet whilst Karou's need to have blue hair may be a little bit too gimmicky like a cousin of Kate Winslet's Celestine from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind or Mary Elizabeth Winstead''s Romana Flowers from Scott Pilgrim - it does neverless have one eye on the inevitable motion picture adaptation whose rights have recently being acquired by Universal Pictures.

If this is the first book of a trilogy, then the other two have a lot of promise and expectation to fulfill yet Taylor has firmly built the foundation for another new exciting trilogy.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone is out on Paperback from Hodder & Stoughton priced £7.99.
Watch a trailer for the book here.!/smokeandbone

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