Daughter of Smoke and Bone follows the story of Karou, a lonely, very unique, blue-haired girl who attends an art college in Prague. Unlike many heroines in high fantasy, she does not have magical powers herself, but must rely on her adoptive “family” of monsters (Brimstone, Issa, and others), for the power of wishing that she has. It is Brimstone, part beast, part man, the Wishmonger, who deals in wishes. Traders bring him teeth from every species on earth, and Brimstone gives them “wishes” accordingly. Karou longs to know how his magic works, what he does with the teeth, the exact location of his shop (which has portals in every corner of the human world), and why he will reveal nothing about her past. But he keeps these secrets from her, forcing her to be his errand girl in the human world. As a result, Karou feels more alone than ever and struggles to find her identity. At the same time, a devastatingly beautiful and dangerously heartbroken seraph is fighting to end the lives of Karou’s family.
Read this book. Seriously. Over the past few months I have really been enjoying realistic contemporary fiction more than fantasy or science fiction, but this book made me fall in love with the genre all over again. Even though it has a somewhat lengthy page count, I read through this novel ridiculously fast, it was just impossible to put down. Despite the kooky “out-there”-ness of this story, it is so focused in the protagonist of Karou that I had no problem suspending my disbelief as a reader. Karou’s loneliness and her quest for identity are truly what grounds this story, which in all other ways soars high above reality.