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Back To Good by Laura McCarthy Benson

Back To Good

by Laura McCarthy Benson

Giveaway ends April 07, 2017.

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12 December 2011

Book Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Laini Taylor

Reading Level:     Young Adult 

Hardcover:          418 Pages 

Publisher:           LIttle Brown & Co., Sept 27, 2011

Parasols:             5

I absolutely love going into a book that I know nothing about.  It really does make my reading experience so much more pleasurable.  I've had this book since BEA '11 and it's been sitting on my bookshelf just taunting me to read.  But I didn't.  I kept reading crap after crap after crap.  Sometimes I need to listen to my books and read them when they call out to me.

Karou is a free spirit.  She's 17 years old, an art student in the magical city of Prague, Czech Republic.  Her best friend is Zuzanna.  Karou draws various creatures and tells Zuzanna stories about them, but unknown to Zu these are Karou's family in a different time and dimension.  To Zu they are a mash-up of human, animal and fairy.  To Karou they are the chimaera.  Brimstone, is a cross between a ram and a linebacker, is for all intents and purposes Karou's father figure.  Karou runs errands for Brimstone when he comes a'callin' and she goes immediately.

Brimstone dallies in teeth and wishes.  The teeth are more important and Karou still doesn't know why she must go from portal to portal to get teeth or extremely rare bull elephant tusks that she must drag through the streets of Paris.  During one of these 'errands', Karou notices black handprints on the doorway.  It looks like it's been burned into the lintel.  She keeps noticing these at all the portal doors.

It's not until Karou ends up in Marrakesh that Karou comes face-to-face with Akiva, a very dangerous enemy that will do anything to destroy Karou and what she is working for.  It's all part of the war that Karou knows nothing about.

I absolutely adored this book.  Laini Taylor weaves and knits a fantastical story that reminds me of Charles de Lint.  Her chimaera are human-like and feel the burdens of the world on their shoulders.  They are trying to protect their world from the Seraphs who think of the chimaera as demons and evil.  Until one of the seraphs falls in love with a beautiful chimaera and then two worlds collide in a blinding flash of war and death.

Karou was a strong-willed character, but there was also a bit of youth to her as well.  Her lapis lazuli hair color makes her stand out, but also brings us how young she is.  A mere 17 who has been sheltered from another world.  She also does not who she is exactly.  All she can remember is being with the chimaera.

Akiva is the downtrodden seraph who finds himself drawn to Karou when he decides that killing her is foolish.  As much as I should hate and detest Akiva, I just couldn't.  I understood that he was beautiful, it's pretty much crammed down our throats, but as a seraphim, you expect beauty and fierceness.  The slow burn of the relationship between Karou and Akiva is thrilling and I want more.

I felt the story dragged a bit with the backstory of Brimstone, Madrigal, Thiago, and Akiva.  It seemed to drone on and one, but it is extremely important.  I was reading an advance copy, so it's possible that it has been tightened up on the final copy.  I'll have to take a quick peek at a copy (which I am buying!).  I absolutely, highly recommend this book to take you away to a foreign land, foreign world and for a thrilling ride.


  1. I keep hearing such great things about this book, but haven't yet gone to pick it up. Don't know what my hesitation is, but maybe I need to take a page out of your book (pun intended) and listen to when books speak to me and go ahead and give Daughter of Smoke and Bone a try.



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