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Daughter of Smoke and Bone & Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke and Bone & Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

‘Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love. It did not end well.’

Karou lives two lives, she’s a 17 year-old art student living in the beautiful city of Prague, but she’s also an errand girl collecting teeth for a monstrous creature called Brimstone, the closest thing she has to family. Raised half in the human-world, and half in Elsewhere, Karou is plagued by the sensation that she doesn’t really know who she is. Suddenly she is no longer safe, a war is starting in Elsewhere and Karou needs to find the answers…

‘She had been innocent once, a little girl playing with feathers on the floor of a devil’s lair. She wasn’t innocent now, but she didn’t know what to do about it. This was her life: magic and shame and secrets and teeth and a deep, nagging hollow at the center of herself where something was most certainly missing.’

Initially I was quite sceptical about reading Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I don’t often read fantasy/sci fi, and my least favourite genre is ‘dark romance’ with the usual vampires, angels, werewolves etc. 
After reading this book for a little while, becoming more and more engrossed, suddenly angels appeared in the story, and I panicked! I thought for a horrible moment I’d picked up one of these awful dark romance books, having been lulled in to thinking it was great by the masses (the fifty shades effect, yuck!), but fortunately, this was not the case. This is the good sci-fi, the great sci-fi, the Pullman/Gaiman kind of sci-fi, and I loved it. Who doesn’t want to read about a girl with blue hair collecting teeth, finding wishes, and talking to a half-woman half-snake creature everyday? It is safe to say that the angels play an important role but there are many more creatures besides, including incredible ones Laini has seemingly just plucked out of her imagination. 

‘Revulsion roiled like snakes in the pit of her belly, and from within the deadness of her shock she was lit with fury – at the universe, for this newest cruelty. At him, for being the one left alive.’

The first book is very exciting; starting off with much adventure and many unanswered questions. It turns slightly more romantic towards the end but with a nice big twist to finish it off avoiding that sickly sweet scenario you get with some fantasy books. The second book – Days of Blood and Starlight – amazingly, I found it infinitely better than the first. It was so much darker, more adult, more extreme. There are even more twists, more pain and heartache, but it is brilliantly executed. So often you get the feeling that the ‘middle’ book in a trilogy is just to waste time, just to spread out the story out before you get to the big finish. I definitely did not feel that way with this book. Ultimately it does lead to another cliff-hanger, and sets the plot up very well for the third book, but I didn’t feel cheated. I absolutely loved it. 

I highly recommend these books; whether you read lots of sci-fi, or only a little, this is a fantastic new trilogy, and Laini Taylor is definitely one to watch out for. 

Suitable for age 14+

Love From,

Original Book Girl


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Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin

Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin

‘People, you’ll find, aren’t usually all good or bad. Sometimes they’re just a little bit good and a whole lot bad. And sometimes they’re mostly good with a dash of bad. And most of us, well, we fall in the middle somewhere.’

There are many stories out there – both in the adult and children’s sections – that deal with the afterlife. It’s a topic I rarely get bored reading about, because it’s nice to ponder all the possibilities of the great unknown.

Elsewhere is the story of 15 year-old Liz who dies in a bicycle accident. She wakes up on a ship travelling to ‘Elsewhere’. She soon learns that in Elsewhere each person ages backwards until they become an infant again, at which point they are sent back down to Earth to be reborn. Needless to say Liz struggles with the fact that she will never turn 16, never have a boyfriend, and never see her family again.

It’s not a long novel, but it’s a powerful and well written one. It resides in the teenage section, but could easily be suitable for the 9-12 age range. I really fell in love with Gabrielle Zevin’s version of the afterlife, and her beautiful way with words. It’s definitely worth a read.

Suitable for age 10+

Love From,

Original Book Girl

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Filed under Children's Literature