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"Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.
In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.
And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.
Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands", she speaks many languages - not all of them human - and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.
When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?"
I am so happy that I waited for all three books to be published before picking up Daughter of Smoke and Bone - Laini Taylor is a queen of killing you slowly with cliffhangers. Even the final book leaves you with more questions than answers.
First book of the trilogy was the weakest, in my opinion. Mainly focused on the romance and full of unbelievable portraying of Czechs - more like literary caricatures than actual characters - Daughter of Smoke and Bone is a book that slowly drives you crazy, no matter the fact that you keep reading it because you just have to see what will happen next. The most appealing thing about it, as one of my friends described it, is its weirdness. Yes, this is a love story with a paranormal twist and most of it can be labeled as the usual archetypes of the genre, what makes it easy for a reader to predict in which direction will story go, but, at the same time, you are pulled into this crazy whirlwind of emotions and mythology.
Days of Blood and Starlight was a pleasant surprise - when it comes to trilogies, second book tends to be the weakest link, one that has all standard "middle book syndrome" issues. There is no middle book syndrome here. Laini Taylor managed to redeem herself because she moved the focus of the story from the romance to the political intrigue, building of the fictional (fantasy) world - and here we come to the part where I realized what was the big no for me in the previous book, but also generally in fantasy literature. There is no "world will end if the star-crossed lovers don't end up together" storyline. I was sure that something along those lines will happen in the rest of the series, but thankfully, it did not.
Dreams of Gods and Monsters was the most exciting book of the trilogy. Every chapter was like a cliffhanger for itself - it was a pure, enjoyable torture to read it. Full of angst and drama, unexpected twists and turns, final installment keeps you on your toes until the very end. And the second end. Also, the third one. You're confused, right? I know, I was, too. Dreams of Gods and Monsters started so good, but ended in the massive cluster of hints for what would come in the fantastical world of Eretz after we close the book and quick solutions for mysteries that popped up along the way. Imagined like the explanation of all whys and hows and how comes, it overwhelms a reader with amount of information, mythology and science mix up and constant switching from one point of view to the another. Dreams of Gods and Monsters is a book that should be read slowly - not in one sitting - take a breaks, process what you read and then continue. (Jessica from Rabid Reads explained this perfectly.)
What is my biggest issue with the Laini Taylor's trilogy? Ending. It is obvious that this is not the open ending which is the end no matter all questions and mysteries that it includes, but the introduction to the possible spin-off series. (If the marketing division of the publishing house establishes that there is enough interest among readers/buyers for something like that and that it would bring a lot of money - you know, The Mortal Instruments scenario.)
Final judgement? Beautifully told story about angels and demons, Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy will find its fans among readers who prefer fantasy and paranormal romance, especially younger readers who are meeting this kind of literature for the first time. For those who are spoiled by epicness of Lumatere Chronicles or don't like when trilogies are not really trilogies, this will be enjoyable read,like it was for me.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone - 3 stars
Days of Blood and Stralight - 5 stars
Dreams of Gods and Monsters - 3.5/4 stars