Summary: To her art school classmates, and everyone else in Prague, Karou is a mystery. Does her hair really grow out of her head blue? Where does she get the inspiration for the fantastical monsters and stories that fill her famous sketchbooks? And where does she keep disappearing to for her mysterious "errands"?
Karou is even a mystery to herself--she's not sure where she came from or how her life came to be what it is, but yes, her monsters aren't just real; they're her family. Her hair grows blue because wish magic is true. And the errands she runs are for Brimstone, who is famous in the chimaera underworld for trafficking teeth that he uses for... some magical purpose that Karou doesn't understand.
And now, black handprints are showing up on every magical portal door that leads to Brimstone's shop, and seraphim are rumored to be the ones behind it. Karou finds herself caught in the midst of an ancient war that has literally been brought right to her doorstep, as she catches the attention of seraphim soldier Akiva, who can't seem to stay away from her.
Thoughts: I've had this book for a while, and just haven't had a chance to start it yet, and now that I've read it, I'm like, WHAT TOOK ME SO LONG?!?!?!
This book is amazing. It's beeeeeeautifully written, and (in case this matters to you), it doesn't really feel like you're reading YA. Like, it doesn't feel "teenagey." (But let me state here that I have no problem with books that DO feel "teenagey.") The closest thing I could probably compare it to is Leigh Bardugo's Six of Crows, and not just because they both have European-ish settings and a character named Kaz. I love the world-building and mythology, and the discussion of the history between the two races lends itself very well to allegorical interpretation.
Smoke and Bone is a cool, hip, and sexy, and I love its take on the angels vs. monsters type story, making the angels the bloodthirsty, war-hungry killing machines, and the so-called monsters the victims. The Romeo and Juliet-esque romance between Karou and Akiva feels a little bit insta-love at first, but it makes sense by the end of the story, and I really feel like it isn't even the most interesting part of the whole thing (though, definitely very interesting).
I can't wait to start on the next book in the series, and I also can't wait for when I can finally google some Karou and Akiva fan art without having to worry about spoilers :)