Daughter of Smoke & Bone - Laini Taylor Ooh. OOOH! Meh... Mehhhhhhhhh...........

Which basically summarizes my reaction throughout the novel.

I hate it when things like this happen, when books start out so strong with an intriguing world and a growing character. But before you know it, it goes splat into a big mud puddle of Cliche and Predictability and WowThisRemindsMeOfThese10OtherYABooks.

The Ooh.

The book started out very, very strong. The premise was very interesting: Karou, an orphaned human girl adopted by demon magicians, is sent out on missions to collect teeth. We don't know what the teeth are used for, but know that they have something to do with granting wishes. The girl travels to exotic places, from black market auctions to middle eastern market places, through a network of doors all connected to the demon's workshop. Sometimes she has to fight off enemies, lug around huge sacks of teeth through subways, and once she gets shot by seedy criminals. Not the typical glamorous job, but still extremely interesting to read about.

The OOOH!

The plot gains steam when mysterious hand-shaped scorch marks begin to appear all over the world on doors. This poses a serious problem since Karou is only able to reach her demon foster parents, her only family, through those doors, and these scorch marks effectively "shut them down" so that they don't function as portals from point A to point B. For some time, however, Karou remains unaffected by this and continues to run her errands and visit her demon foster parents. The question of what teeth and wishes have in common hangs heavy in the air, especially when we find out that seraphim are the ones who are closing the doorways between worlds.

At this point, I was excited. Until this point, the story focused heavily on the mystery of the teeth--what were they used for, why do the demons need them? Karou reflects on her previous teeth-gathering missions; some teeth were taken from the dead, others forcibly extracted from the mouths of young girls. Poignant images that communicated realistically the brutality of such a trade.

It seemed that the plot would follow along the teeth gathering, and thus the questions that arose centralized around the teeth: How were the handprints on the doors going to affect the trade? How would Karou be able to make contact with her demons? What were the angels, and how were they involved in this gruesome trade?

The Meh...

Unfulfilled promises, dashed expectations, and some misdirection followed from this point on.

It was inevitable that Karou and the angels would meet. It was also expected that there would be sparks of attraction, and that the attraction will probably be mutual as it's established early on that Karou is pretty. But, after reading [b:Lips Touch|6369113|Lips Touch Three Times|Laini Taylor|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1341175359s/6369113.jpg|6556598], I assumed that this would not be the typical romance where the girl falls head over heels for the guy.

The problem is, she does.

Immediately, Karou and Akiva are attracted to each other. Karou is entranced by his angelic beauty and his perfectly proportionate features, though simultaneously noting that that Akiva is a creature totally lacking in mercy or soul.

But that's not the end of it. After Karou escapes the angel, the books takes a suspicious Twilight-like turn, as the angel follows Karou back to her human home and proceeds to stalk her watch her from afar. He does this, constantly wondering how this mere human girl could spark so much emotion in the heart he thought he turned to stone years before. Then, like flipping a light switch off and on, he breaks down and confesses to Karou that he can’t help but follow her and look at her. [Please note that it takes Akiva a battle and around two whole pages to fully acknowledge his attraction to Karou.]

Furthermore, though she is cut off completely from her demon family, thanks to Akiva’s scorch mark, Karou invites him to tea and introduces him to her best friend, who immediately insists that Karou mate with him.

...Yeah, I don’t know any more.

I think we slipped into the realm of Mehhhhhhhhh........... somewhere back there. But it doesn't matter because from this point on, every single plot twist was predictable, including but not limited to:

(1) Why Akiva is attracted to Karou
(2) Why Karou is attracted to Akiva
(3) What the teeth are for
(4) What happened to Karou's foster demon parents

I expected a bit more from this novel. I don’t know, maybe more ardent fans of YA romance would find this novel great. The writing itself wasn’t bad. But the story needs a lot of work. It had so much potential, especially the premise. It was such a sharp contrast to what I had expected, and it’s with a dash of sadness and regret that I can’t help but give the book 2 stars.

Good try, Laini Taylor, but it just did not tickle my fancy.