Second Bookses

It's like second breakfast. Only with books.
Daughter of Smoke & Bone - Laini Taylor I really, really liked Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone. The story is an incredibly rich one of mythology interwoven with a love story. It involves a complete overhaul of Christian mythos as well as that of the Greeks, vivid descriptions of Prague as well as other exotic locales and a girl raised by mythological beings. Amid all that is a love story. How could I not love it, especially when the writing is so well-done and literary?For starters, Daughter of Smoke and Bone is one glaring example of the need of publishers to shoehorn books into the trendy young adult category to sell books that really aren't young adult. The main character, Karou, is on her own. She's said to be 17, but in reality, she's in what amounts to a college art program. If anything, this is a "new adult" book. She has her own apartment. She runs errands all over the world for Brimstone, her surrogate, other-worldly father. She hangs out with her human best friend Zuzana, avoids her creepy ex-boyfriend Kaz, and tries her best to blend the human and "other" worlds the best that she can. When one of her errands goes wrong and she meets what appears to be an incredibly gorgeous angel, Akiva, everything blows up, leaving Karou alone and unsure of where to turn.Daughter of Smoke and Bone is told in three sections. The first two are intricately crafted, keeping the reader intrigued as Taylor spins out the plot, wrapped in Karou's story. It's when it gets to the third section that the delicious and finely made souffle fell flat. The third section is an info-dump, giving us a long-winded backstory and explanation of the mythology behind the entire book. It explains how Karou came to be. Why she and Akiva were so inexplicably drawn to each other in their first meeting. Answers nearly every question the reader has had from the very first line of the book in nearly linear fashion. In other words, it's as if someone gave you the most amazing puzzle book and you cheated and skipped to the back of the book for the answers, only someone actually told you to do so. The book is meant to be continued, and yes, there is more story to be told, but so much was answered for us that I was honestly left at the end feeling like I wasn't compelled to continue. There is such a thing as answering too many questions, and in too simple a way, and unfortunately, that's what happened here. Maybe the answers had to be oversimplified to cram Daughter of Smoke and Bone into the popular YA section of the bookstore instead of the adult fantasy section, but it was so close to being one of the best epic fantasies I've read set in the modern era. I was disappointed that it missed the mark.

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