Author: Laura (page 1 of 7)

BOOK REVIEW – Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta

BOOK REVIEW – Saving Francesca by Melina MarchettaSaving Francesca by Melina Marchetta
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Francesca is stuck at St. Sebastians, a boys' school that's pretends it's coed by giving the girls their own bathroom. Her only female companions are an ultra-feminist, a rumored slut, and an an impossibly dorky accordion player. The boys are no better, from Thomas who specializes in musical burping to Will, the perpetually frowning, smug moron that Francesca can't seem to stop thinking about.

Then there's Francesca's mother, who always thinks she knows what's best for Francesca—until she is suddenly stricken with acute depression, leaving Francesca lost, alone, and without an inkling who she really is. Simultaneously humorous, poignant, and impossible to put down, this is the story of a girl who must summon the strength to save her family, her social life and—hardest of all—herself.

How do I describe Saving Francesca best?

Raw. Honest. Authentic. And an instant favorite for me.

I still can’t believe how much I love this book and THAT I WAITED SO LONG TO READ IT FOR FUCK’S SAKE.

I absolutely adored  Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta and planned to read everything she’s written immediately. And then I waited more than a year. So, yes, it’s official: I’m an idiot.
To me, Melina Marchetta is the queen of emotional stories. With both of her books I’ve read so far, she managed to make me feel a ton of things I wasn’t ready for or expecting to feel at all. Saving Francesca is pretty short, but I became invested extremely fast, sometime during the first chapter probably. If life hadn’t interrupted, I would’ve read it in one sitting. So yes, you could definitely say that I was hooked from the beginning.

“I was born seventeen years ago,” I tell him. “Do you think people have noticed that I’m around?”
“I notice when you’re not. Does that count?”

Saving Francesca has everything I love about Marchetta’s books: authentic teen characters, some pretty humorous dialogue, a strong and touching plot, amazing character development, no stupid tropes, no slut-shaming and no annoying stereotypes. She writes perfect young adult stories in my opinion. I think many writers could learn from her.
What I like most about Marchetta’s stories, is that her characters are flawed, never perfect. They’re allowed to make mistakes, and make plenty of them. But I’ve never disliked a single one of them, ever. Because how could I, when I’ve made similar mistakes in my life? When they’re trying their best, even though life just keeps being shitty to them? They’re written so realistically and I love that.

They’re gone.
I hear my father calling out my name, but I keep on running.
Everyone’s gone.
And I need to find them.

Oh Francesca, how much I felt with that girl. Her pain, her confusion, her helplessness. It was all over the place. Her emotions were so tangible. And despite our differences, it was really easy to relate to her. I loved the experience of seeing the world from her point of view.
Life isn’t easy for Francesca from the moment the book begins. Her mother is suddenly stricken with acute depression, stops leaving her bed and generally participating in life. Having lost their anchor, Francesca’s and her family’s world is turned upside down. Francesca and her father have very different methods of dealing with this, which starts many new issues. And on top of that, Francesca has to go to a formerly all-boys school, where she doesn’t feel like she belongs at all.
Francesca definitely is an amazing heroine. What I liked most about her as a character, is the way she develops over the course of the book. She starts out as a quiet girl that has a lot to say, but never bothers to open her mouth, never bothers to get close to anyone. She’d rather attend another school with her old friends where she knew her place and role. The newness of St. Sebastian, her new school, is a littler out of her comfort zone, so she mostly keeps to herself. Over the course of the book though, she slowly ends up befriending some people after all, learns to confide in them and gets to experience the beauty of real friendships.

My mother won’t get out of bed, and it’s not that I don’t know who she is anymore.
It’s that I don’t know who I am.

I love how the friendships developed very slowly. A conversation here, another conversation there. And an incident that bonds them together. I feel like most friendships are like that in real life too, so I really enjoyed that.
Just like in Jellicoe Road  I absolutely fell in love with the whole spectrum of characters. From Francesca to the girls Tara, Siobhan and Justine, to Will and Jimmy and Thomas and Shaheen, to her brother and parents, to her cousin Angelina, I adored every single one of them.
Besides that amazing group of friends supporting each other and having fun together, I really appreciated the way Francesca’s and her parents’ relationship is dealt with. I feel like in quite a few YA books, the parents are either almost completely absent, or only included in a shallow or stereotypical kind of way. So I really liked that Marchetta wrote such a realistic and positive portrayal of a parents – teen relationship and that she didn’t drop it for the sake of the romance or something like that. I especially loved some of the scenes between Francesca and her dad. Those two almost killed me at times. And yes, her mom’s depression is basically what starts this book, but I think some authors might not work through those issues completely and only use them as a plot-device, while Marchetta’s approach is all-encompassing and thorough, in my opinion. I just really liked how she wrote this whole book.

Thomas puts his arms around my neck. “You’ve still got me.”
“Don’t upset her any more than she already is,” Siobhan said.

God, this review is getting so long, but there’s so much to talk about! Another thing I really loved is the feminist approach that she weaved into the story as well. And if you’re wondering now, how she managed to include so much in this little book, well.. I don’t know how she did it, either! My only answer is that Marchetta must be some kind of genius.
So, the thing about St. Sebastian and how it used to be an all-boys school, is that the girls aren’t particularly included in anything from extracurricular activities like drama and sports to debates and even freaking greetings (that one teacher insists on addressing the class as ‘gentlemen’). Most of the girls attending aren’t keen on trying to change anything about the situation and think it’s easier to just ‘learn to live with it’, but my favorite girl Tara Finke is outraged and constantly tries to start a feminist movement. I love her. While the girls don’t manage to get everything they feel they deserve, they do manage some changes and I think that’s realistic. Most change happens over time, not from one day to the other. I think the most important thing is that the issue was addressed, and how it was addressed. Representation is important. Like Tara says: “…we actually came to this place because of its drama department and this year they decide to put on Stalag 17, which has not one female role” and that’s just one of many things she’s rightfully angry about.

“You girls are weird in a way. I would never have spoken to Trombal or Mackee or even Shaheen, whatever his name is. They would never have spoken to me. Everyone used to be so different to each other, but with you girls here, everyone kind of just hangs out.”

I could talk about so much more still, but I think I’ll leave it at that. Most importantly, Saving Francesca has fun banter and important real life issues wrapped up in this little book, just to sum it all up. 
If you haven’t read anything by Marchetta so far, I beg you to at least give one of her books a try. She deserves so much more attention in the Young Adult scene, hell, in any scene. Go read one of her books!

“You go and shake your foundations, Will. I think it’s time I saved myself.”

BOOK REVIEW – Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

BOOK REVIEW – Carry On by Rainbow RowellCarry On by Rainbow Rowell
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Simon Snow is the worst chosen one who’s ever been chosen.

That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.

Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he sets something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here—it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.


I wanted to give this book five stars, I really did. I feel like Carry On so deserves it, for surprising me, for saving me from the reading slump I expected after The Raven King, for giving me so many feels, keeping me entertained and making me laugh.
But there are some – admittedly really small – things that bother me, so 4,5 stars will have to do. Although I feel a bit bad about it. Forgive me, Baz!!
Definitely 5 stars for Baz, Penny and Simon though. I love those three to death.

The best thing about this book, is that I didn’t expect to love it. See, I wouldn’t call myself a Rainbow Rowell fan by any means – I enjoyed Fangirl quite a bit, but my feelings towards Eleanor & Park were lukewarm at best. Because of that I was unsure if I ever wanted to try another one of her books. I gotta say, I was one of the people who really liked reading about Simon Snow in Fangirl, though that doesn’t mean that I absolutely needed to have a whole book about him. Let’s just say that I was mildly curious. Skip forward to me buying it impulsively at my local bookstore a few weeks ago, and not knowing what to read after I finished The Raven King, and, voila, here we are. Turns out that Carry On is by far my favourite Rainbow Rowell book. Imagine I’d never even have given it a try!

Agatha furrows her brow. (She’s going to have a vicious wrinkle there someday and I’m going to laugh about it.) – Penny

The thing I love most – as it’s always the case with my favourite books – is the main characters. Simon, Penny and Baz are three favourite characters that I didn’t see coming at all. (I won’t talk about Agatha because she pissed me off for no good reason).
I’ll start with Penny, because ladies first and all that. Penelope Bunce is a brilliant, sassy badass. I love everything about the way Rainbow wrote Penny’s character! She’s fierce and loyal, she stands up for what she believes, she’s an amazing friend to Simon, she’s funny, super smart, and courageous. Honestly, the boys would’ve been lost without her. There’s nothing that I didn’t like about Penny. Without her, the book would’ve only been half as funny and probably never would’ve reached its end because, let’s be honest, Simon wouldn’t have survived or figured out what was even going on. Penny rules.

“You’re not a monster. (…)
I was wrong. All those years . You’re a bully. And a snob. And a complete arsehole. But you’re not one of them.”

Simon Snow… where do I even start? Simon is an absolute cutie, although a little slow on the uptake sometimes. I gotta agree with Baz here. While that part of his personality might annoy others, I found it really endearing. What I liked most about Simon is his honesty, the way he’s always himself, 100% of the time. Even when he is unsure about his own feelings, he doesn’t play any games. Instead he let’s the other person (Baz) know what’s on his mind, so there’s no unnecessary drama and stupid miscommunications that could’ve been avoided. It was very refreshing and I love Simon (and Rainbow) for that.
I saved Baz for last because he’s what made me fall in love with the story. Arrogant, disdainful, precious little Baz. The moment he first made his appearance in Carry On, I was a goner. Experiencing the story from his POV was the best thing ever and I couldn’t get enough of it. I seriously love everything about him, from the way he constantly sneers and mocks Simon, to the way he calls Penny Bunce, the way he’s so confident, but at the same time doesn’t think he deserves shit (he does!!) and of course, that he’s View Spoiler ». So, yeah, Baz is the cutest and I just want to give him a hug or ten.

I can’t always tell when Baz is mocking me. He’s got a cruel mouth. It looks like he’s sneering even when he’s happy about something. Actually, I don’t know if he ever is happy. It’s like he’s got two emotions – pissed off and sadistically amused.

I could go on about how much I loved the characters, but I think you get the idea. Of course, the writing was flawless, I’m such a fan of the way Rainbow Rowell uses words and makes it seem effortless and magical. The story was so addicting, even though the plot wasn’t extremely fast-paced and there wasn’t that much action (not nearly as much as I wanted anyway). Still, I could hardly put this book down, there was just something about it. Do you know that feeling when you read something especially adorable and you get this tingly feeling in your stomach? It used to happen to me much more, but I think the more I read, the rarer this phenomenon becomes. But Rainbow managed to make me feel like that again. I felt like a little girl on Christmas Eve.

Ok, I think I’ve talked about all the positive things now, but there’s still the negative. Granted, there’s not a lot, but these things do bother me a little. I’ll hide this part because there’ll be spoilers, so don’t click on it if you haven’t read it yet!

View Spoiler »


All in all, I obviously liked Carry On a lot and would definitely suggest you give it a try, even if you’re skeptical. Who knows, maybe it’ll surprise you. I know it surprised me. 

BOOK REVIEW – A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic #2) by V.E. Schwab

BOOK REVIEW –  A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic #2) by V.E. SchwabA Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic #2)
by V.E. Schwab
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Four months have passed since the shadow stone fell into Kell’s possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Rhy was wounded and the Dane twins fell, and the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body through the rift, and into Black London.

In many ways, things have almost returned to normal, though Rhy is more sober, and Kell is now plagued by his guilt. Restless, and having given up smuggling, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks like she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games—an extravagant international competition of magic, meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries—a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port.

But while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life, and those who were thought to be forever gone have returned. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night reappears in the morning, and so it seems Black London has risen again—meaning that another London must fall.

Delilah Bard had a way of finding trouble…

Hi there! Do you even recognize me? It’s Laura, back at reviewing after a sad 7 month hiatus. 

Where do I even start with this? I haven’t written a review in so long that I feel like I don’t even know how anymore.

Well, let me start by saying that the first book of this series, A Darker Shade of Magic, is one of my all-time favorite fantasy stories and because of that, I was naturally extremely anxious to get my hands on the sequel. And while I’m definitely, 100% not disappointed, I still have to admit that A Gathering of Shadows couldn’t quite keep up with the first book in my opinion. The difference I quite easily noticed since I reread A Darker Shade of Magic before starting this one, was the, for me, considerably slower pace. Really, the pace is the only reason I didn’t love reading this as much as I expected to. It’s not that the story was boring because of it, but it wasn’t as unputdownable as I hoped and harder for me to read which is why it took me so long to finish it. Sometimes I couldn’t bring myself to read more than 20 or 40 pages a day and I didn’t like that at all, especially since I couldn’t get enough of A Darker Shade of Magic.

If these men worshipped anything, they worshipped magic, which she supposed would be heresy back in Grey London. But then again, Christians worshipped an old man in the sky, and if Lila had to say which one seemed more real at the moment, she’d have to side with magic.

But really, the pacing is the only slight complaint I have. Besides that A Gathering of Shadows was everything I expected and more: brilliant writing by the one and only V.E. Schwab, magical balls, vicious fights, lots of reasons to swoon, fantastic characters, old and new faces – BOY WAS I HAPPY TO BE REUNITED WITH KELL, LILA AND RHY – and, of course, a gripping story that left me wondering if I even wanted to find out what would happen. Seriously, especially Lila’s mad stunts gave me heart issues and extreme anxiety. And Kell and Rhy weren’t much better. Really, between the three of them, it’s a miracle I finished this with my heart and mind mostly intact.

“I know where you sleep, Bard.”
She smirked. “Then you know I sleep with knives.”

If you know me at all, you know that I live and breathe for amazing characters that make me feel the whole range of emotions. If I don’t care for the characters, it’s a sure sign that I’m not liking the book. Of course, for this one, as for A Darker Shade of Magic the complete opposite is true. Besides the incredible writing and world-building, this series lives off its amazingly complex characters that you can’t help but fall in love with. From Lila to Kell and Rhy to Alucard, there’s so much to become attached to. You better guard your heart. Or not.

A Gathering of Shadows takes it up a notch, character-wise. There’s some serious character development for both Kell and Lila while they struggle to figure out where they belong in the world and what they want out of life. Then, there’s Rhy, battling his own demons while we get a few glimpses into his past. And last but not least, there’s the mysterious Alucard Emery, new on board of the A Darker Shade of Magic crew and definitely not a disappointing addition. I won’t say much on his part because I don’t want to spoil anything, but let’s just say I fought hard against liking him and lost pathetically.

When Kell thought of her, she was not one girl, but three: the too-skinny street thief who’d robbed him in an alley, the blood-streaked partner who’d fought beside him, and the impossible girl who’d walked away and never looked back.

OMG HOW MUCH MY HEART BEATS FOR BOTH LILA AND KELL. They are both impossibly stubborn and drive me to the brink of madness at times, but I love them endlessly in spite (or maybe because) of that. I swear, those to will be the death of me. I’m still fangirling over what happened in this book and I’m torn between wanting to strangle them both (especially Lila though) and wanting to lock them into a room together, so Lila won’t be able to run away. FFS. God knows I love that girl, but can she stop being so stubborn and listen for once?? Is that too much to ask for?? I guess so. I still have hope for book three though. God help me.

He flashed up in her vision like a flare, auburn hair and that constant furrow between his eyes: one blue, one black. Antari. Magic boy. Prince.

Oh, Kell. The urge to fangirl about him is strong and forever growing. How much love I have for that guy. Constantly frowning and forever grumpy. So loyal and ready to sacrifice everything for those he loves. His relationship with Rhy really warms my heart. It was both hilarious and heartbreaking to watch them with this new bond between them, sharing the other’s emotions and hangovers. There were so many scenes that made me laugh and just as many that made my heart hurt. When are you done torturing them, Victoria?? Especially Kell has gone through enough, don’t you think?

If you’d ask me what my favorite thing was about A Gathering of Shadows, it’d definitely be the interactions between all those characters. Against my will I’ve grown so fond of Alucard and can’t get enough of his and Lila’s banter. I can’t wait to see what trouble those two will be getting into next. But I guess Alucard will be getting into a different kind of trouble with a certain Prince (not that I’m complaining or anything) while Lila will most likely be going to save Kell’s ass again. Oh, I can’t wait. Where’s book three and why is it not in my hands right now????

I really do hate the waiting.

BOOK REVIEW – Nevermore (Nevermore #1) by Kelly Creagh

BOOK REVIEW – Nevermore (Nevermore #1) by Kelly CreaghNevermore (Nevermore #1)
by Kelly Creagh
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Cheerleader Isobel Lanley is horrified when she is paired with Varen Nethers for an English project. Cold and aloof, sardonic and sharp-tongued, Varen makes it clear that he'd rather not have anything to do with her, either. But soon Isobel finds herself making excuses to be with Varen. Steadily pulled away from her freinds and possessive boyfriend, Isobel ventures deeper and deeper into the dream world Varen has created through the pages of his notebook, a realm where the terrifying shories of Edgar Allan Poe come to life.
As her world begins to unravel around her, Isobel discovers that dreams, like words, hold more power than she ever imagned and that the most frightening realities are those of the mind. Can she save Varen from the madness taking hold of him? Or will they both be consumed by the shadows of his nightmares?

Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

This was my second time reading Nevermore and it’s safe to say that I loved it just as much as the first time around. I stayed up until three last night to finish it because I just couldn’t get enough of the sinister world Kelly Creagh created. Also, I couldn’t for the life of me remember some very important details which is why, at times, it felt like I was reading it for the first time. Thanks, brain, for forgetting almost everything that happens during the last 150-200 pages!

Now, for this review I thought I’d just make a recipe sort of thing and present you the ingredients that made Nevermore such a spectacular read.

Ingredient #1: Edgar Allan Poe

Because whose tales and poems would make a better foundation for a gothic and slightly creepy book about disappearing into otherworldly dreams? I can’t think of anyone suited better than Mr. Poe. His stories and verses were so seamlessly woven into and intertwined with this story and added just the right amount of literature and grotesquerie.
I never even read any of Poe’s tales or poems before I was introduced to his genius through this book and actually bought a special edition of his complete collection, just like the one Varen has in Nevermore. So not only did his stories enhance this one in the most beautiful way, but it also introduced me to a writer whose works I might never have bothered with otherwise.

Ingredient #2: Likable Heroine

“Just because I live in the sunlight, enjoy being blond, and wear a cheerleading uniform, that doesn’t mean I’m stupid. I’m so sick of that.”

Yes, Isobel Lanley is a cheerleader, and a pretty good one at that. And yes, she’s also dating Mr. Popular, football player Brad in the beginning of the book. So yes, I must admit Nevermore starts out a little cliché, and while that never bothered me, it might some people. But really, don’t let that deter you. Give the book a chance and wait it out because later there’ll be no trace of it. And Isobel, while being a cheerleader and all that, is actually a great heroine, albeit at times a bit clueless. She doesn’t let others pressure her into unhealthy relationships and actually recognizes them as such. She stands up to bullies and isn’t afraid to do her own thing. I really enjoyed that. All in all she came across as a pretty realistic 16 year old.

Ingredient #3: Interesting Hero

“Just because I wear black and keep a private journal, that doesn’t mean I’m going to blow up the school. Or terrorize mindless cheerleaders, for that matter.”

Yep, Varen Nethers definitely belongs to the gothic crowd of Trenton High and with his lip ring and dyed hair he couldn’t be farther from Isobel’s world of pom poms and meatheads *cough* Brad *cough*. I was intrigued with Varen from the moment he first showed up in the story. Everything about him kind of fascinated me. His beautiful handwriting, always in purple. The little black notebook he always carries around. His obsession with everything Edgar Allan Poe. His cool and scowling demeanor. Because who doesn’t like some teenage angst? I wanted to know more about him, find out how he became the way he is. You could say I was a little obsessed myself. And firmly stayed that way throughout the book. I loved seeing him warm up to Isobel! When he started to become a bit playful or when he actually smiled I nearly died. I love all sides of his character and can’t wait to read more about him in the sequel, Enshadowed.

Ingredient #4: THE CHEMISTRY ♥

Oh, how much I love Isobel and Varen. In spite of some other clichés, their story is in no way one of insta love and for that I am forever grateful. When the two of them first have to interact with each other – yes, I admit, they’re partnered for an English project against their will, but WHO CARES. Those things happen all the time in school – well, they don’t like each other. As I already mentioned above, they’re from different high school worlds. He thinks she’s some dumb, blond bimbo, and she thinks he’s slightly okay very creepy. But because of that their chemistry has time to evolve slowly and perfectly. As the reader, you barely notice how their feelings change because of the subtle way it’s done, and next thing you know you’re shipping them so hard and you don’t even know how it happened. The pace is restrained and beautiful and just the way I like it.

Ingredient #5: The Sidekicks

Because let’s be real, they are so important to every story! Gwen, the girl who saves Isobel from a depressing friendless existence after the fall-out with her former clique, is my absolute favorite and gives the otherwise dark read some truly needed funny scenes. She’s straight-forward, honest and has an outgoing, slightly crazed demeanor. She provided some laugh-out-loud moments and is the best friend every YA heroine needs.
There’s also this other guy who will remain nameless in this review because you need to meet him yourself. He’s in the habit of talking like a fortune cookie and only showing up when it pleases him, which just made him even more mysterious and interesting. I can’t wait to find out what odd things he’ll say or do in the next book.

Ingredient #6: The Atmosphere

Kelly Creagh really knows how to take some Victorian horror lit and a few good old high school kids and turn that into an absolute page-turner. I loved the creatures she added to Poe’s gory stories and how she created a nightmarish dreamworld out of it. Reading Poe’s tales and poems, and then finding bits and pieces in this book was so much fun. And even if you don’t read them, Poe’s verses are included where they’re needed.
Creagh’s writing is extremely beautiful, especially when it comes to describing the scenes in the dreamworld later on. The way she makes Poe’s stories come to life is magical and enthralling.

Deep into that darkness peering,
long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal
ever dared to dream before.

– Edgar Allan Poe, “The Raven”

I definitely recommend you give this book a try. Especially next month around Halloween would be the perfect time to dive into the world of Varen and Isobel.
For me all that’s left now is impatiently waiting for tomorrow, when the sequel will finally be in my hands. (It better be, Amazon, or else!)


BOOK REVIEW – Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1) by Laini Taylor

BOOK REVIEW – Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1) by Laini TaylorDaughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
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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 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 hairactually 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 beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery 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?

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love.

I did not end well.

Hi there, it’s Laura and I’m back! I haven’t written a review in what feels like forever, but here I am yay!

I started this little story on a rainy morning two days ago in the hope to be carried away from the bleak and ordinary. Something magical, that’s what I needed badly. And Laini Taylor delivered.
The story starts with blue-haired Karou in the snowy streets of Prague, and from the moment I read those first few sentences I was hooked. It was exactly what I wanted, something completely different, a new world to get lost in.
Karou’s life fascinated me endlessly, both her ‘ordinary’ one in Prague, and her extraordinary one in Brimstone’s little shop, Elsewhere. On one hand there were beautiful, jackass Kaz, and her rabid fairy friend Zuzana, and on the other there were Issa, Twiga, Yasri, and Brimstone, her not so normal family.

I immediately liked Karou’s voice, spunky, confident and a bit self-mocking, but also with a good amount of loneliness and sorrow underneath that attitude. Being in her head, reading her thoughts and seeing the world from her point of view was never boring. It also helped that Laini Taylor’s writing is absolutely magical. I devoured her words and at times read a sentence twice because I liked the sound of it so much. It’s not that often that I even notice the writing style at all because I’m usually too focused on the story, the characters, the action, but this time I did. Her writing flows like music with the occasional unknown word thrown in. I had to look up some meanings which I loved! I’ve read books in English long enough that I rarely have to do that anymore, which is a good thing I suppose, but it was also a lot of fun to discover some new words, especially if they sounded so magical.

“Wishes are false. Hope is true. Hope makes its own magic.”

Just as magical and fascinating is the world Laini Taylor created in Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Angels with fiery, burning wings. Creatures part human, part animal. Chimaeras. One of them, Brimstone, the Wishmonger. Collector of Teeth. Keeper of Wishes. The reader doesn’t learn much of anything about him in the beginning and his work stays a mystery for most of the book. I had so many questions! About his work. About the teeth. The chimaera. Karou’s origin. About where she actually came from. The questions nearly killed me, especially since they only increased the further I got into the story!

“For the way loneliness is worse when you return to it after a reprieve—like the soul’s version of putting on a wet bathing suit, clammy and miserable.”

And then there’s Akiva, the equally mysterious angel. Putting black handprints on doorways all over the world and generally being mysterious and sort of apocalypse-y. Of course, he comes across our dear Karou and… things happen.


I didn’t know what to think of those two in the beginning. There’s no insta-love which I liked, but then things do become a bit insta-loveish after all which I didn’t. It makes complete sense later on, and I actually figured it out by myself pretty early, but before that I didn’t quite enjoy their encounters as much as I wanted to. It just seemed so rushed. Later though, it all makes total sense and I finally fell in love with their story as certain things were explained. This probably sounds super confusing, but there’s no other way to say it without throwing spoilers left and right. I already fear that I’ve said too much. Anyway, I think a lot of you actually love these kinds of love stories, but I’ve had my issues with them in the past, so I was pretty wary from the moment I realized what was going on. I’m glad to say though that I ended up enjoying it. The star-crossed lovers part, especially. Karou and Akiva have this Romeo and Juliet thing going on that I absolutely adored and I think many of you will too.

Laini Taylor ended this book on a pretty mean cliffhanger, so I can’t wait to start Days of Blood and Starlight later! I need to know what’ll happen to the characters that now have a special place in my heart.

Also, special thanks to my friends Müni and Jacky for gifting me a copy of Daughter of Smoke and Bone for my birthday. Love you girls. ♥

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