In the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy, the reader may originally assume that the story is about angels (good) and demons (bad). However, it soon becomes apparent that this is not about angels and demons as we understand them but rather about two races who are locked in a deadly struggle for survival. As their war escalates and the fight for survival becomes more desperate, it appears that they have tapped into the world of humans for resources.
We meet Karou, the beautiful blue-haired orphan girl who lives alone, attends art school, and disappears on mysterious errands. Her only human friends are Zuzana, a tiny, fierce girl and Mik, Zuzana’s boyfriend. Although they express concern about Karou, they have learned that there are certain things she won’t (or can’t) share. They provide both comedy and comfort in a trilogy that could have been dark and desperate instead of an inspiring and rewarding read.
Karou appears to consort with monsters and have an angel for an enemy. Akiva, the angel hunting her, appears to be haunted by his past and lost love. He is tortured by his past and a desire for revenge, she is determined to save her demon friends. It soon becomes apparent that the demons are not entirely demonic nor are the angels completely angelic. They are two separate races who despise one another. Karou and Akiva’s relationship is the source of unending heartbreak in the past and blossoming hope for a future.
It is this relationship that is the driving force behind the books. Karou is strong, intelligent, and brave, never whining or fearful. Although Akiva’s personality is originally dark, brooding and somewhat vengeful, it becomes lighter, as though he comes back to himself, through his renewed contact with Karou. Even in times of tears and pain, the author manages to portray a relationship that is well developed, building upon a tender back story with hope for an uncertain future that they are struggling to create together.
Throughout the trilogy, the author takes the reader on a journey that destroys assumptions and opens the mind. This is not merely a love story between two otherworldly creatures. This trilogy is about longing, forgiveness, understanding and redemption. We come away believing in the world that the author has created. A highly recommended teen read that adults will love.