The Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy revolves around a constant war between Angels and Chimaera (half human, half beast creatures). In the midst of this war is Karou, a girl with a mysterious past and an odd bunch of lovable monsters for a family. To say more would be ruining the book, but this series is chock full of action, fighting, intrigue, love and fierce kinship.
I started this series a few months ago when I learned the third book would be released this year. It’s fair to say that the first book is instantly addicting not only because of the rich and loveable characters, but also the setting of modern day Prague, which is enchanting. The whole series is full of incredible settings, which was so refreshing because I get so tired of books set in the US.
There’s certainly a turning point about two thirds of the way through the first book. A major plot twist that readers will either love or hate. I didn’t really like it myself, but had enjoyed the book so much to that point that I wanted to press on and give it a chance and I would urge all to do the same.
The second book does suffer from a bit of a lull, maybe spanning around 150 pages, but the truth is, a long series requires a lull to set the ground work for a spectacular finale. The darkness of this second book is absolutely necessary for not only the resolution of this story, but the growth of Karou, who progresses beautifully throughout the series, never becoming irritating or foolish.
The final book introduced a completely new character, which threw me, personally. I can see how the character was necessary and it was a decision that worked in the end, but I do think it was a contributing factor to why it took me so long to finish the last book. The ending was a little drawn out for my taste, but still beautifully done and a satisfying end to a fantastical trilogy.
This series can get incredibly dark and sometimes confusing. But throughout, there is comic relief in the form of Karou’s best friends, Zuzana and Mik, who are some of my favourite characters ever written in YA. The writing is intensely beautiful, so much so that I often found myself re-reading pages to savour them. There is a delicious element of forbidden love, but it never overpowers the story or makes the characters dislikeable. Overall, I would highly recommend this series, but with a disclaimer that this is a long trilogy, so be prepared to make quite a commitment to it.