Thursday, July 23, 2015

Review: Smoke and Bone Series

Why did I pick it up?

To be honest: I can't remember. I think it was in a three-pack, a finished series, and priced well so I grabbed it. See, I love when a series is finished, all together and ready to go like that. It means I don't have to wait a year or more for the next book thus forgetting everything that happened in prior books which generally forces me to read the prior books. I'm also impatient when it comes to knowing what happens next, so much so that I'll look for a summary somewhere so I don't have to wait.

Funny story, so I started watching The Walking Dead when it was in its second season. I got to the point where they leave Merle on the roof with his hand cuffed and a bunch of Walkers ready to break through the door. I was binge-watching and it was almost midnight, too late to see what happened to him so I turned off Netflix then went to look up what happened to him. Yes, I totally spoiled it for myself but that's okay. I'm one of those weird people who doesn't care about spoilers. You can tell me the ending of any movie I haven't seen or book I haven't read and I'll still watch or read it.

Anyway, I started this series right after finishing Harry Potter so...March-ish and finished it in a week. Yes, three books in one week. They were that good. ONWARDS!

The Review of The Smoke and Bone Series by Laini Taylor:

Normally I don't do a full post on a series but I kind of got really into this series and completely forgot to do a review after each book then started reading another series and here we are. Oops?

Anyway, our story follows Karou who's an art student in Prague. At first I had no idea what was going on and I remember being annoyed that this girl had such a blasé attitude about being strange. Then she started explaining how things she wished for came her naturally blue hair. Then she met up with Brimstone. Well okay. AWESOME.

I mean that seriously. Suddenly we're thrown into a world where angels are trying to destroy demons and Karou has no freaking clue why or what's going on. She does see all the portals to Brimstone's world destroyed and the first book ends with Brimstone's death. Karou falls in love with one of the angels and it turns out the reason she has these eye tattoos on her hands (that hurt the angels no less) is because this is her second body. Yeah, you read that right. Her second body.

Originally she was a "demon" (chimera) who had been killed for loving that same angel and wanting to change the world. Brimstone managed to save her soul, make her body (a completely human one) and re-birth her, making up a complete lie of a life in an attempt to save her. Well see, NOW I'm really invested.

I believe this is where we moved into the second book. Again, I read them exceptionally quickly so my memory could be a little hazy. Turns out the angels are still killing the chimera but now that Karou's finally figured out who she is, she takes over for Brimstone's job: being the chimera resurrectionalist. Yes that's right, it's become Karou's job to bring the chimera who've fallen in battle back to life.

There's a whole bunch of awesome political stuff going on with the White Wolf and the leader of the angels, then we find out what the angels really are, and some more cool things happen. I don't want to get into too many details as it'll ruin the books.

These books were amazing. It's rare a book can capture me so effortlessly I can't put it down. This did it, all three of them and I wanted to stay up until I'd read them all. I do have to say I was weary about the story being set in Prague because of another book I read I ended up not liking. And being honest, this story would have survived if not set in Prague. Yeah, okay, Prague has this whole mystery thing going on around it with magic, etc, but I think the story would have had as much impact if it happened in any other city in the world.

Regardless, the story was great. I loved Karou and Zazuna. I was upset when we found out Brimstone was dead. Seriously I almost cried because he was an awesome character and finding out about the real him and Karou was great. Right after that: bam, he's dead. Urg. Overall: I was and still am impressed with the trilogy.

Would I read the Smoke and Bone Series again?

Hell to the yes. Over one weekend. Again. Because I'm cool like that.

The Negatives:

I can't find any negatives in this series. Like I said, the only thing that miffed me was it being in Prague. The other was how we were introduced to Karou and her strange ways. Kind of like, thrown into her oddness without really knowing how or why she was so odd. I almost didn't make it past the second chapter but held on and I'm glad I did.

Now, some of the negatives I am seeing is the fact Karou is a reincarnation of someone else. I think what people aren't getting is that this is kinda, sorta, integral to the plot of the entire series. There would be no book if that "someone else" didn't die and Karou didn't come about. And really: exact same soul with all old life experiences in new body with new life experiences. Not so much a reincarnation: an upgrade if you will. Karou is both this other person and herself.

The romance: Karou falling for Akiva totally and completely. Yes but then she leaves him at the end is entirely pissed at him for everything and yeah, eventually they get back together, yadda, yadda, but not until after they force separation on themselves and all the other fun stuff. Again: Angel falls in love with demon so yes it's kind of important the two have the whole "love at first sight" thing going on. And remember, Karou's soul remembers who Akiva was to her before she was killed. So yes. There is going to be an instant bond.

What I find really funny? How one person hated Karou's former being but love Karou herself. Again: without Karou's other being, half, life, we wouldn't have Karou so...yeah. Personally I would've loved to see more of this other self in the beginning chapters.

Final Review: 5/5 I adore this book and it's one of few that will stick with me for years to come.

Until next time: thoughts, comments, rages, rants, questions, and out-right insults can be directed to the comments.

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