Tuesday, February 11, 2014

In the Works (Edition Two)

In the Works is one of the new features I'm posting on a bi-weekly basis.

This week's In the Works focuses on the first half of Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor (up to the end of Chapter 29). 

My intention was to jot down notes for a reading log as I read through the book, to capture my immediate responses, thoughts, suspicions and so on. Well, that didn't quite work out as intended....
I was good for the first two chapters. And then the book had me. I was too into it to stop to make notes - I actually forgot entirely about wanting to write notes. 

I did write a few things down when I had to pause at around Chapter 17 or so, and then more when I hit my cut-off point.

So here are my mostly unfiltered thoughts on the first half of Daughter of Smoke & Bone:

Chapter 1 - Already loving the quality of the writing. It's oozing over me in joyful waves, painting the scene in Prague, the characters Karau and Kaz. Hoping Kaz's role is not potential future love interest as it will require much explaining away of, e.g., Svetla.

Chapter 2  - There's a comment here about Karou's inability to manipulate her own eyebrows individually hampers her expression of disdain - I just love the way it's all phrased. Kaz as model was expected once the drawing class came up. Glad there wasn't a long wait time on that reveal. Guy is definitely an idiot if this is his idea of woo-ing. I love the description of Karou in this section - amplifying the mystery around her.

Who is Karou? 
What happened to Kaz after these early chapters revolved around him?

It was hard for me to imagine the chimaera as real. Because they're described as so 'other', I had a hard time mentally visualizing them. Still there's a lot of lovely worldbuilding here. I love the hierarchy of wishes. 

I loved the idea of her sketchbooks being appreciated by both her classmates and the chimaera.  

Izil and Razgut - Razgut was not the demon I expected him to be. Description was disgusting - the legs in particular seemed like a cruel touch. Izil's request that Karou yank out her teeth for him was obviously way too much - also, can she please never do this? Never. Losing all my teeth is one of those recurring nightmares that probably means something, but really results in me having a phobia about losing teeth. Please, no pulling of teeth.

(And really, what are the teeth for? So many questions!)

Who the heck is Akiva? I'm not loving him right now. Particularly after the sword bit. That's a lot to redeem. He commented, around when he was first introduced, I believe, something along the idea of humanity being legend. I loved the realm of possibility that idea opened for me. 

Later, the sense of fear that surrounds Akiva learning more about Karou - I want to protect her. That sense of loneliness she has, of longing for a place to belong, a family to really claim her makes me want to protect her.

Chapter 17 - Going through the door seems like a really bad idea! Anyone else yelling at Karou not to do it? Another world full of chimaera doesn't seem like a terrible thing - one at war? What role do the teeth play?  Why is Brimstone in the "elsewhere" space, dealing with humans over teeth?

Oh Karou - really? We're going to touch things here? This seems like an awful plan.

Chapter 18 - Karou means hope? Obviously a deliberate choice - why?  So many questions I have!

Izil's unexpected nobility was touching (though perhaps there was a bit of a selfish element to it. 

Akiva's comments about the uselessness of a soul - really?  Who is Madrigal, his lady love? 

Chapter 19 - Thaigo, Brimstone - did you really expect Karou to be blindly obedient? I hate it when people withhold all kinds of crucial information and just expect perfectly intelligent and capable people to follow blindly. I definitely teared up for Karou when she was ejected back into the world. She deserves an explanation! She deserves better than this! 

*huge gap in note taking because I was so engrossed*

Chapter 28 - Kaz watching Karou/Akiva fight in the air was unnecessary for me.

Chapter 29 - I'm not sure I'm really on board for a Karou/Akiva anything... beyond a tense stalemate, perhaps, and an opportunity for Karou to pick his brain about what the heck is going on. 

So where does this leave us?  I think at the mid-point in Daughter of Smoke & Bone I have more questions than answers. I love the world behind the world, as it were. I really like the way that wishes function in this book. I'm emotionally attached to Karou. I love the quality of language, the texture of the story, the style of the writing. If I had a hard copy of the book, I would have had all kinds of little post-it note flags sticking out where I found a phrase that I really liked.

Unless something goes horribly wrong in the second half of the book, I'm on board for book two.


What did you think of the first half of this novel? Did it meet your expectations, exceed them?  If you're re-reading, or have re-read the book, what surprised you on the return visit? Are there details that you'd forgotten or that you love to re-visit? 

In two weeks, on February 25th, I'll be posting my thoughts (more coherent, I swear) on the second half of the book, as well as an overall review and an announcement of what will be up next for In the Works.

No comments:

Post a Comment