Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor
This is such a rich book that I couldn't read it fast enough. There were points in time was I was so eager to figure out what was happening that I found myself skimming or skipping words with such speed that I realized I wasn't actually getting anywhere and had to slow myself down and read each word carefully.
It's hard to talk too much about this book without spoiling. I've found myself reading a lot of the current Y trend books, that seem to be about a young heroine, either discovering abilities she didn't realize she had or learning about a world that wasn't what she thought it was. DSB switches it up a little bit in that the heroine knows her upbringing wasn't typical, that she inhabits a world that those around her are unaware of. But she doesn't question it too much, encouraged to live a typical life, except for the random odd "mission" she's occasionally called to undertake but for the most part, she strives to live in the world that everyone else does. No knowledge of her parents, her earliest years were spent in another world she knows little about beyond the small shop she grew up in.
This other world is locked in a long-standing war and it turns out that her missions on earth are crucial to the survival of those who raised her. As the war spills over onto Earth, she is caught up in it and must figure out who she is, where her loyalties lie and how she can survive the position she finds herself in.
The world, well, worlds, offered up in this book are amazing, rich, lush, and well-described. The author draws from a large vocabulary but it doesn't come off as pretentious. Mostly. A number of times I inferred definition without looking up the words. Only twice did I look up words and in one case I was annoyed to learn it simply meant "various" but for the most part, I felt the vast vocabulary fit the vast world and its different races well.
The book is mostly chronological, but there's one point that jumps forward and section that goes back and gives backstory. It made sense how it was put together, though one piece will seem out of place until much later in the book. There was also an interesting bit of replaying a small piece of a scene from multiple participant's points of view that was intriguing. It wasn't like the forced "his chapter, her chapter" of two books I read recently and it wasn't drawn out or used too often, just enough to feel like you got a little extra context. It's a device, to be sure, but one employed well.
There is a part of me that wishes I had been a little spoiled on this book and a part of me feels like I ought to spoil it a little bit. But that would be me changing the story from what the author intended, so I will retain my silence.
I recommend this book but it feels complete and it's hard to imagine there are sequels. But there are, so I will definitely be reading them.
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