Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Laini Taylor
Alongside our world, Laini Taylor has created a world (Elsewhere) where seraph (angels) and chimaera (hybrids of animal and human form) have fought a war for the last 1000 years. Generations know nothing else, where hatred between angels and chimaera consume their lives and any interaction between the races is the highest treason. Cultures have been formed where generations no longer understand why they are fighting just that they hate and fear the other side, with absolutely no tolerance. Each side is able to cite inflicted atrocities why forgiveness isn’t possible. Within this conflict, stems a love between a seraph and a chimaera. Can they convince others that there is another way? Is there hope for an end to the war and if so at what price? The ulterior motives of those in a political or financial position to bring about peace, when they have much to lose by that very peace, is very well depicted and weaved into the deception and power struggles that exist. Sorry I nearly forgot I was talking about Elsewhere there.
The 2 main characters Karou (human) who has grown up in a chimaera family and Akiva a seraph soldier bred to kill, are drawn together in some magical way.
This is a wonderful epic fantasy story with its myths and legends, where the depth of detail is superb, where characters are introduced to create expanse and various perspectives in the story. Some of the characters, you will hate and others you will love – but will you change your mind as the story develops? The pictures that are weaved into the story are beautifully written. The story never loses pace while describing characters and the world around them. It is a kaleidoscopic tour of emotions as your experience love and hate, hope and despair, cruelty and kindness, trust and suspicion, and humour and sadness.
At a deeper level, this is a story which portrays our own history where nations, races and religions find themselves slaves to the past, where forgiveness of crimes and oppression, is almost impossible. From the distance of fantasy you just can’t help seeing the futility of our history. Don’t let this affect your perspective as first and foremost it is a beautiful enjoyable read.
I could keep heaping on superlatives for this book but you should really just read it – you won’t be disappointed if you like this genre and just want to escape into a rich new world of fantasy adventure. It is the first book in a trilogy so be prepared to read them all.
I highly recommend this book.