Bout of Books: Wanderlust – Day 1 Challenge

This is my first time participating in Bout of Books and I’m going to make an effort to post the daily challenges throughout the week! This morning I posted my TBR – I’m aiming for 4 books in total but I’ll be happy with 3 as well.  The first day challenge is hosted by Leann @ Between Library Shelves and the topic is Fictional World Travel.  Participants are supposed to choose 3 to 6 books that are set in countries other than your own, display your choices in a creative way and share them on Leann’s blog.  Below are some of my favorite books that have given me a case of wanderlust!

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Paris Anna & the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
London A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
Venice – The Magician King by Lev Grossman
PragueDaughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Japan Paradise Kiss by Ai Yazawa
London – The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
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Kristin

Tea & Book Chat: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1)

I’ve been told by numerous trustworthy book-friends that I should read Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy.  After finishing the first book I’m pleased to say how taken I am with the story.  Laini Taylor has created a story based on angel / demon mythology but has managed to make it her own.  The story follows the protagonist Karou as she runs errands collecting teeth for her adopted family of chimera, her father figure being Brimstone.  She gets mixed up in the politics of these otherworldly races until she can no longer hide her secret life from her best friend Zuzana.

Karou is a colorful character who we immediately learn has used a wish on having blue hair.  She covers this and other small bits of the magic she encounters in her everyday life by being snarky with other humans and telling the truth in a way that seems sarcastic but diffuses any further questions.  She’s a talented artist but the illustrations she creates are not just those of her imagination.  Karou is an intriguing female lead and the secret she is harboring is perfect.  At first I was a little iffy on the seemingly insta-love between Karou and Akiva, the angel who has been trained to kill chimera his entire life.  I grew to appreciate their story more as the book continued on but I wasn’t as invested in their romance as other readers I know have been.  Although, I do have to give Taylor extra points for not including a love triangle.

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Taylor does a fantastic job building the world that the chimera and the angels dwell in and I love the fantastical elements she added to enhance the story, such as the black handprints appearing on the doorways between worlds.  Taylor’s prose is so pretty and she manages to make both Prague in all its beauty and Ertz in its ruins sound like the most magical cities in existence.  The scenes she paints for the reader are a pleasure to devour and I couldn’t stop turning the pages.  My only issue was the pacing of the story after the big reveal.  We’re torn away from the characters we become most familiar with and we are left with a huge cliffhanger.  While I’m lucky enough to have the opportunity to binge read the series, I’m sure everyone who had to wait between books was not so thrilled.

Final Thoughts: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor is a beautifully written and beautifully crafted story which ends in a major cliffhanger.  This first installment in the trilogy will pull you in and leave you wanting more to read about the angels and demons of Ertz.  The world building is so vivid and the scenes set in Prague are stunning to imagine.  There is a slight pacing issue toward the end of the story but Karou and Akiva’s story is one that will linger with the reader for a long time after they’ve finished reading.

Rating 4

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 grown 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 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? (via Goodreads)

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Kristin