Saturday, August 31, 2013

Review : Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

(Review originally posted on Goodreads:- November 16, 2012)

Dear Ms Taylor, there's not even a shred of doubt in my mind about your ability to tell a story
in the most enigmatic and captivating fashion. You have made your characters appear straight out of our exaggeratedly romanticized fantasies where everything is grandiosely beautiful - even the most evil and terrifying things. Your Prague is every bit as surreal and out of this world as Eretz.
The same can be said about your prose. It is mesmerizingly soothing and reading this book felt like listening to a delightful piece of musical composition where no note feels jarring or misplaced.
But even so, I'm sorely disappointed. DoSaB has no tale to tell. While the beautiful writing, kept me going smoothly at least till the middle point, I kept waiting for something...anything... to happen. But nothing ever did, except at the very end and by that time it didn't matter anymore.

The brilliantly conceived set-up is there. The characters, albeit very stereotypical ones, are there. The language and similes and metaphors and all kinds of literary embellishments are there. 
But where's a good story? Where's character development? Where's the suspense? Where's the mystery? Where's the drama? Where's the romance? 

At least a quarter of the book is devoted to flashbacks and memories. Another quarter to Karou and Akiva angsting over each other. Another quarter to Karou and her chimaera family (which was the best part in my opinion). And another to Karou's hair and Akiva's eyes.
I'm not kidding. I should've counted the number of times the writer alluded to Karou's blue hair and the similes she devoted to its description. Same with Akiva's eyes and his ethereal, impossible beauty.
Sure sure we get it, Laini. They're both surreally beautiful beyond what our feeble imaginations can conceive. Can you please move on now?

Another thing which irked me beyond measure was the love story. I was supposed to be mooning over Akiva and Karou, feeling sympathy for their fate of star-crossed lovers. Instead I felt detached and some measure of annoyance. 
Why did they fall in love with each other again?
Uh they just did. Just like that. I can't remember why but they just did. And it's supposed to be romantic and heart-breaking except that I just don't feel it is.

Last but not the least, the thing which finally caused me to abandon hope for this book was its dilly-dallying between two heroines (although both are one and the same). We start the book thinking it's all Karou. Then Madrigal comes barelling into the story from nowhere and pushes her completely out of the picture. From then on, it's all her. 

And just when I was developing some sort of liking for her, she is gone. Poof! And Karou is handed back to me as unceremoniously as possible, when I can't quite figure out whether I want her back again.

An eloquently-worded novel, but not a good story. Certainly not worth spending rare hours of free time over.

2 out of 5 stars.


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