Tag Archives: magic

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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The Vanishing Act by Mette Jakobsen

The Vanishing Act by Mette Jakobsen

This is a fairly short but utterly engrossing read.

The Vanishing Act is narrated by 13 year-old Minou, as she tells us the story of how her mother disappeared from the deserted island that they live on, a year previously. It is both magical and tender as we join Minou in her search for the truth.

‘Suddenly it was the loneliest night, and it was Mama’s voice, and it was the saddest song I had ever heard. It sounded as if she was singing from the depths of the frozen sea. My breath was not my own and everything felt wrong.’

Much like ‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’, this story is told in a very simple childlike format, which makes you feel all the more for the young naive Minou. She and her father live on the island, and the only other two people also on the island are ‘Priest’ and ‘Boxman’ the magician, and a dog called ‘No Name’. While she is adamant that her mother is still alive and has simply run away, the others on the island are certain she has been drowned at sea. Minou decides to use her logic and compile as many facts as she can to prove her mother is still alive.

‘It is in the heart and not in the words – not even in the most beautiful ones – but in the heart, in the skeleton bird pushing against your chest, wanting to fly, that we know for certain who and what we love. That is all we have, and all there is.’ 

The characters are wonderfully written, and at the same time, both lots and very little happens in the duration of the story.  It is a real gem of a novel. Short, intriguing and ultimately heartbreaking, you will be glad you took a moment to read it. 

It is classified as adult fiction, but I would say it’s very much a crossover book. There’s nothing inappropriate for a younger reader, so I’d suggest it’s suitable for age 13+

Love From

Original Book Girl

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To be a Cat by Matt Haig

To be a Cat by Matt Haig

‘Cats are magic.
That’s right.
Cats. They’re magic.
They have powers you and I can only dream of having.’

Barney Willow is miserable, he thinks his life couldn’t possibly get any worse. He’s funny-looking, he’s bullied at school, his evil headmistress seems determined to make his life a living hell, and worst of all, his dad has disappeared. Barney just wants another life, a simple life, the life of a cat for example. That would be nice, to laze around and have nothing to worry about. But, he should be careful what he wishes for, he doesn’t quite know how much worse things could get!

[About Miss Whipmire] ‘She looked quite old. In fact, she looked about two hundred. But obviously she wasn’t. She was just living on Misery time. (If you don’t already know, Misery Time means that miserable people get old much quicker than happy people. Sour thoughts inside your head apparently make it look like a pickled walnut quite quickly.)’

I absolutely adored this book. It was brilliantly written, and so very funny. If you are a cat lover, and believe there is more to them than meets the eye, then you will love this. It’s got quite a wide age range; I can see it appealing to both younger and older children – something for everyone to enjoy. The story shows the importance of loyalty, love, and bravery in even the most difficult circumstances, and the language isn’t dumbed down the way so many children’s books are these days.

The wonderful flip-book style cat running through the page corners is great too; a fantastic new book.

Suitable for ages 8+

Love From,

Original Book Girl

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