My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A Daughter of Smoke & Bone is spectacularly not within my frame of reference, and yet, there is something so beguiling about its grace and artful, painterly writing, that it is one to read regardless of genre, regardless of feelings about fantasy and to be honest regardless of things. There are certain books within the genre of children’s (I’m being very catch-all here with my terminology, forgive me) literature that sort of start to write themselves in a way. That their quality of prose and the stylistics of that prose are so ineffably theirs that they will come to define things in the near future, and to create an almost-genre of their very own.
Taylor writes good, y’all.
The layered, edible richness of the worlds of A Daughter and Smoke and Bone are extraordinary. Karou is an art student who is thought by her friends to be an eccentric soul, drawing imaginary beasts and mythical creatures. She is not eccentric. They are real. And Karou lives in the shfiting spaces between the worlds, running errangs and hunting for teeth for her benefactor (her family).
Until the arrival of Akiva.
Until the arrival of Karou’s truth.
This isn’t my genre at all, but putting all of that aside, I was caught by some moments of the prose to the extent that I barely remembered to breathe. It is a very, very beautiful book. There are difficulties for me still with it, very personal ones I hasten to add which are wrapped around the sterotypes and standbys of the genre (and the latter ones are ones that I think Taylor could do well to ignore for her writing is strong, so strong, that she does not need to be commonplace with her plotting). Even with those reservations, vast and as complicated as they are for me, I cannot ignore such an artistic and gracefully written book. I do not want to.