Book Review: Laini Taylor’s Breathtaking “Daughter of Smoke and Bone”

 

 

 

 

**Before I continue, I have to credit the following brilliant photographers:
Blue haired girl photo by Ben Waardenburg on Unsplash

Halo photo by Ravi Roshan on Unsplash

Hand reach out photo by Ian Espinosa on Unsplash

Leaning Together Photo by Joao Silas on UnSplash Dark Curls Photo by Carlos Arthur on Unsplash

I hesitated to read Laini Taylor’s novels for a long time as I sniffed out the rumor of a slow-paced discography. Something compelled to keep her work around. Thus, when the courage pooled around my head, I grabbed Daughter of Smoke and Bone, expecting nothing. Let me tell you about my favorite book of the year thus far.

Premise

Karou is an odd girl. Naturally blue hair, hamsas in her palms, and a father figure who trades with teeth. She has no parents, no family, and she draws surreal creatures that she claims to know on a one-on-one basis.

When her portal to a world of magic is sealed, and a mysterious figure follows her, she comes to face her identity, roots, and her connection to the mysterious Akiva.

Book Review-Character Love

Laini Taylor writes Prague such fond tenderness. I could almost taste the pastries Karou and Zuzana eat. The lively streets, the colorful costumes, the tourists wandering, the hushed tones of Karou’s mysterious life urging me to keep on reading. It was delightfully surprising to finish the book in two days.

First, let’s talk about Karou, who, even with all the secrets she keeps, she maintains a softness and purity that led to my completely unwavering loyalty toward her. She gets hurt and uses wishes for revenge. Her manner of responding to cruelty is never exceedingly vicious. I mean, her ex-boyfriend got an itch while posing for a nude portrait. But, as the story unfolds, it becomes abundantly clear that this jerk hurt her in a way much more likely to leave a scar.

Akiva is still a mystery. I know the word is overused in this review but it’s from lack of information on him, truly. I like his quiet strength, the way his past haunts him, his isolation.

It’s amazing to contrast Akiva/Karou with Zuzana/ Mic. Zuzana, the fierce and tiny friend of Karou’s, left my heart aflutter. Seriously. She and Mic were so cute and I hope to see more of them in later books because they have a nectar-sweet presence that I find myself missing often.

Overall

This book was a delightful experience and I cannot wait to read more Laini Taylor books. She writes with such elegance and depth. Her characters are tangible yet somehow otherworldly. I loved Daughter of Smoke and Bone. 

 

One of my favorite series ever is Pushing Daisies, a show about a pie maker
  Warning: Here be spoilers. If you are interested in reading this book, and you
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Romance and Sexuality in Pushing Daisies

One of my favorite series ever is Pushing Daisies, a show about a pie maker called Ned, who briefly raises people from the dead to solve their murders and bring them justice (and collect the reward, too. That can’t hurt, right?). This is his life until he has to unfold the death of his childhood sweetheart, who he touches to learn about her killers only to realize that he cannot part with her. In doing so, he brings her back to life for good, but with one caveat: he cannot touch her ever again.

Tone:

The show is sweet and charming. It has bright colors, sweet characters, and a PG plot. What makes it truly fascinating is its contribution to the ongoing conversation about sexuality and romance. In the absence of touchy feel-y moments, the show is surprisingly able to contain enough love to tide its audience over. In fact, it offers a rather satisfactory take on romance, where both parties rely on touching with gloves on, hugging in bulky suits, and kissing with saran wrap.

 

Different Take on Sexuality

At a time where sex is presented as a synonym for romance, this is starkly different. Ned, in general, is very shy and, given his background and magical abilities, he is not too crazy about touching people overall. And, Chuck respects that. She doesn’t glamorize his trauma. What’s really cool is that Ned’s powers are treated as very much part of him that Chuck learns to accept, much like someone’s sexual orientation (asexual, perhaps?) and sexual preferences. Yes, Chuck sometimes tries to find physical stand ins so she can pretend to hold Ned while holding their hands. But, she quickly learns that love doesn’t have to be physical.

sex isn’t synonymous with romance

In a way, the show divorces sex from romance, which opens up the dialogue about sexual orientations and preferences. It frees people and drops the expectation of intense physical contact as part of human relationships. It is the center and forefront relationship, which is quite unorthodox–and it makes the show stand out.

Your Turn: 

Are there any representations of asexuality in media that you like? Share in the comments!

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