Everything started out perfect, the gorgeous cover, beautiful writing that captured the imagination, a unique world with quirky and fascinating characters, an incredible background setting, and a story that I was able to sink comfortably into and lose myself for a while. Unfortunately, this only lasted about halfway through the book.
The story takes place mostly in Prague and we follow Karou as she travels through otherworldly portals to run errands throughout the world for Brimstone, the chimera, who despite his monstrous appearance had raised Karou from infancy and he, along with Issa and her serpents, are the only family she knows. Brimstone is a collector of teeth, both human and beast, and the traders that bring him these teeth are paid with wishes. The strength of the wishes are dependent on the value of the teeth. I found this to be such an intriguing concept and I couldn’t wait to learn the details of what the teeth were used for and how he acquired the wishes. I was quickly swept up in this unusual world that the author created with such vividly expressive writing.
On one of her errands for Brimstone, Karou finds herself directly in the path of the angel, Akiva. These angels are the sworn enemies of the chimera and have been at war with them for hundreds of years. Akiva is torn by his urge to attack Karou and at the same time protect her. It turns out, Akiva is haunted by the memory of Madrigal, who at one point had almost made him believe things could be different and Karou reminds him of this lost love.
While I was so deeply engrossed in the first half of this book, by the time Akiva was introduced and the story began discussing his history with Madrigal, I had slowly begun to lose interest. The writing was still wonderful, but for some reason, the author took the plot in a direction that didn’t at all work for me. I’m not sure why, but it seemed as if by introducing the plot twist, it took something significant from the story, and I was no longer engaged in it. I didn’t hate it, it was actually worse than hating it, by the end, I no longer even cared about what happened. I ended up just feeling kind of bleh about the whole thing. I wondered at one point if the author sacrificed a more interesting plot direction to focus on the “tragic romance” aspect.
I know that I am one of the very few that did not absolutely love Daughter of Smoke and Bone, I will say that I WANTED to love it, I started out loving it, but something happened on the way to Heaven, so to speak. I am still rating it a three for the quality of the writing and some of the wonderful characters and the amazing first half.