Wow... now this is the way to tell a fallen angel tale. That being said, I hate to lump this novel in with the other books cropping up all over, capitalizing on the bad-boy-redeemed appeal of a fallen angel paranormal romance. Daughter of Smoke and Bone (and what a great title, right?) is about redemption of a different kind. There's also quite a good dose of revenge between these pages. It is the perfect blend of myth, legend, lore, and Taylor's own rich and vivid imagination.
I can't argue that it's not, at its core, a romance. With passages such as...
"'Love is a luxury.'
‘No. Love is an element.'"
"Yearning suffused her, full as flavor, like chocolate melting on her tongue."
How could it be anything but a romance? And it is paranormal. And there is SOME angel mythology here. But this is not a perfect love story and neither of the characters is without faults, serious faults, maddeningly irreversible faults.
It could be considered an urban fantasy, set in modern day Prague, but it also retains the qualities and feel of a more traditional fantasy. There is a world in these pages utterly apart from and alien to our world, and still hauntingly realistic. It is a world that knows nothing but war, and it is easy to imagine the motivations of both sides, comparing their struggle to so many real conflicts. All the usual themes are present--including love everlasting, beauty vs. beast, good vs. evil and all the gray area in between. But I have to say it has never been done quite like this. I love that the characters aren't completely sure of their own history and neither is the reader. But, does it really matter? Right and wrong are so twisted you find yourself bending over backwards trying to figure out whose side you're on. I love that at the end I felt so completely melancholy over the sad state of affairs that transpired, so sure that there can be no happy ending to this series, and yet, still full of another important element in this tale... hope.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone is the start of what I can only hope will be a series (trilogy, maybe?) in which each book lives up to the quality of the first! Maybe this will all end badly and I will throw the last book against the wall in frustration when I don't get a completely happy ending (flashback to my reaction to Mockingjay), but I am so caught up in Taylor's fantastically bizarre, yet jarringly realistic, world that I cannot help myself! I will follow this one to the bitter (but HOPEfully not too bitter) end.
Recommended by Caroline Barlow