Smoke and Bone and Excellent Storytelling
If you don’t mind a bit of fantasy and romance mixed in with your adventure, I can’t recommend any book more strongly than “Daughter of Smoke and Bone” by fellow Portland author Laini Taylor.
Taylor has crafted a bittersweet, magical tale of an artistic loner girl juggling the mundane necessities of being an expat art school student, bouncing off a bad romance with a jackass and struggling with the nature of being an adoptee. That, plus she collects teeth for a demon.
The heroine, Karou, is one of the best, most complete protagonists I’ve met in years.
While the story is grand and operatic, I have to take a moment to applaud Taylor’s use of Prague as a setting. I don’t know if she lived there, although I suspect she must have. She paints the city with incredible, loving beauty. A scene in which Karou’s best friend from art school performs a puppetry act for tourists on a busy city thoroughfare was hauntingly beautiful. That, and the scene in which two mystical beings share a loaf of bread and watch the sunrise over the parapets and facades of the ancient Czech city will stick with me longer than the actual fight scenes.
“Daughter of Smoke and Bone” is the first book in a trilogy, and I for one can’t wait to see where the author takes us next.