The book itself is wonderful, and you can find my review and the hard back cover over here. I have a bias towards the original cover, because it's the cover I own and love -- and I adore designs that use feathers. but there's plenty of interesting aspects in this new cover. It seems to be aiming at an older audience (crossover?), reminding me a lot of some women's fiction covers while still keeping the story elements obvious, and I like that the font is almost identical to the original.
“Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love. It did not end well.”
This is one of those books that's hard to sum up in a review because I am ridiculously in love with it. Laini Taylor takes the old story of an angel falling in love with a devil and makes it new and original. It's not the only cliche she freshens up either - Taylor takes heroines with a secret, angels fighting demons, magic boy-meets-girl, and turns it into a vivid fantasy series.
But that's not where I got hooked - it was the opening scene that got its claws into me. In a beautifully described, snowy Prague our protagonist Karou wearily shrugs off a man jumping out at her from the shadows. The man is her ex, Kaz, and he's got a surprise in store to try a win her back... a surprise involving his appearance on stage during her life drawing class.
It's just hilarious, watching Karou trying to deal with the whole class seeing her ex naked--and the humor doesn't end there, with Karou returning to the shop of the demon she works for and wryly recalling the ram-headed demon's last attempt at a sex ed talk.
And this is all before the real story begins:
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 otherworldly 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 one of the strangers—beautiful, haunted Akiva—fixes his fire-colored 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? – Goodreads
"The Daughter of Smoke and Bone" really shines at dropping hints for you to piece together - by the end of the story, all the little details slot into place and you see how Laini planned everything perfectly from the start.
The book is split into three parts - part 1 lets you fall in love with Karou and her life as an errand girl for a shop full of loveable demons, part 2 introduces a flame-eyed angel Karou can't keep herself away from, and part 3 is full of surprises and secrets.
It's coming out this week in the UK, and I cannot recommend it enough. It's a captivating, stay-up-all-night-to-finish it fantasy story that takes everything cliche and tired and makes it shine. I can't wait for UK readers to get their hands on this - and I can't wait for the sequel!
"The Daughter of Smoke and Bone" is released on September 29th!
Thanks to Hodder & Stoughton for providing a copy of the work for this review. This review is based on the ARC, and may not represent the final content.
Lauren Kate's "Fallen" series is one of the most popular reviewed series here on the blog. Thanks to Random House, I got hold of an early copy of the latest book in the series, "Passion", for review.
"Every single lifetime, I'll choose you. Just as you have chosen me. Forever."
Luce would die for Daniel. And she has. Over and over again. Throughout time, Luce and Daniel have found each other, only to be painfully torn apart: Luce dead, Daniel left broken and alone. But perhaps it doesn’t need to be that way. . . .
Luce is certain that something—or someone—in a past life can help her in her present one. So she begins the most important journey of this lifetime . . . going back eternities to witness firsthand her romances with Daniel . . . and finally unlock the key to making their love last.
Cam and the legions of angels and Outcasts are desperate to catch Luce, but none are as frantic as Daniel. He chases Luce through their shared pasts, terrified of what might happen ifshe rewrites history.
Because their romance for the ages could go up in flames . . . forever.
Time travel is the latest addition to the "Fallen" series, playing an integral role in "Passion" as Luce hops around time trying to find some of the answers behind her curse. I love time travel, so I enjoyed Lauren Kate's take on it.
With a unique set of rules preventing interaction with their past selves, both Daniel and Luce visit various different decades, and see their own past selves. The settings and cultures are only visited briefly, but Kate shines at them - showcasing culture and colourful characters, even if each location only features for a small amount of time.
She takes Luce from war-torn, snowy Moscow to 19th-century England; from Tahaiti islanders who mark themselves with elaborate tattoos to a Tibetan palace; even to a Mayan tribe with some terrifying rituals (my favourite scene).
It is important to realise that this book is both prequel and sequel - or else you might have the same niggling annoyances I did. The story arc didn't seem to develop as much as in earlier books - the plot begins with Luce travelling through time to find answers, and that remains her objective for most of the book without any real detours. I could have definitely used a few more twists, but the last act of the book brought in some strong reveals and foreshadowing for the final book, "Rapture".
As with "Torment", there's steady improvement in the writing - new characters, like the loud-mouthed gargoyle Bill, add some witty lines and a change of pace. The dialogue is sharper with some funny exchanges between Luce and Bill, and Luce takes a lot more control of her situation than we've seen her before. The world-building is also clarified - we find out more about the Announcers, shadows that are used to step through time and space, and there are some new rules about time travel and some exciting hints about Luce and Daniel's curse.
I did miss some of the other characters - especially Cam. Cam's awesome - but "Passion" does a solid job of filling in the back story and setting the scene for "Rapture", which looks like an action-packed end to the series.
"Passion" is out on the 23 June. You can read our reviews of Lauren Kate's other novels by clicking here, and we'll have some exclusive editing advice from the lady herself on Friday.
Disclaimer: A copy of "Passion" was provided for this review by Random House.