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Customer Review

67 of 78 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars So much promise. So little fullfillment., December 28, 2011
This review is from: Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone) (Hardcover)
Pow. Pow. Pow. That's me shooting holes in this book in frustration and disappointment. There is nothing worse than an entertaining, well-written, interesting story that goes SPLAT half-way through.

And that's what happened here. The first 50% is wonderful. It's the tale of Karou - a seventeen-year-old art student in Prague who moonlights traveling the world though magic portals to collect teeth (human/animal/reptile/etc.). Karou and her friends (in Prague and inside the magic portals) are unique and fun. I really liked her and them. I loved the central mystery of the story - who is Karou (she doesn't know herself) and what happens to the teeth after she collects them (she doesn't know this either).

Add to that an arch-enemy who is marking all the magic portals for unknown reasons and trying to kill her. She comes up with a plan (an interesting, scary, fun plan) that I assumed was going to drive the rest of the plot.

That's the first 50%. Like I said, it's great. 4.5 stars great (I was evening thinking I might round up to 5 stars). And it's well written. The author has a great way with words. Her metaphors are beautiful and more than once I stopped to reread something because it was just so well said (How often do I say that about a novel? Almost never!)


Second half of the book. Spoiler Alert: I won't talk about plot details, but I am going to discuss the story structure.

The immediate action completely stops. The second half of the book is backstory as Karou and her new-found love interest discuss (shown in lots and lots and lots and lots of flashbacks) the answers to the story questions and kiss each other. Occasionally they change locations and there's one battle, but that's maybe 5% of the pages. Really... It's all backstory (and backstory and backstory and backstory - 200 some odd pages of it) and lovey-dovey moments and more lovey-dovey moments.

(The problem with backstory is that I already know the outcome. Thus the backstory is all immensely boring with no tension or suspense. I would have preferred it all to have been summed up in ONE flashback so that the plot could move forward in the present time.)

It was awful (but still well-written awful). I never liked her love interest. His personality never seemed to mesh with his history and their `romance' was based more on magic than any real connection between them (or at least I never felt it). I was also annoyed that EVERY single character was stunningly beautiful (well almost, there were a few old people and a few envious young people). Karou and her love interest became Mary Sues of the worst kind - too, too perfect in every aspect of themselves, including their lack of awareness of their own beauty.

Still, I held on thinking that eventually we'd get back to Karou's plan and the more interesting stuff. At the 80% mark, I was down to 3.5 stars but still hopeful of a good ending.

There was no good ending. The flashbacks and kissing continued until I turned the page and the next chapter said, `Epilogue.'


No black moment. No climax. No fulfillment of the promises (aka the plan) made earlier in the book. And the last line of the entire tale? (This would be where I went hunting for bullets) `To Be Continued...'

Now don't get me wrong. I'm all for series (I LOVE series!). But each book needs to have a complete story of its own - A Three-Act Play (stealing the format for movies) of its own. This book does not. If anything it feels like set-up for a story that's going to take place in books down the road (books I will not bother to read, thank you very much).

One more thing... There are places in the book (and not the entire thing, just certain chapters, it seemed) where the author goes hog-wild with colons: She overuses them. There are paragraphs that have three, four colons: It's distracting, annoying, and pretentious. What makes it even worse is that the author isn't even using this form of punctuation correctly. How this ever made it past an editor, I have no idea.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 3, 2012 8:25:19 PM PST
none says:
Mary Sues! that sums the romance up perfectly, and the To be continued is pretty much unforgivable. To bad since some parts of the writing were lovely.

Posted on May 24, 2012 5:23:27 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 24, 2012 5:23:44 PM PDT
Janine says:
What you are saying is that she does not have the three-acts. You are quite right. Every story must have three acts. Broadway is filled with first acts.

Posted on Jan 13, 2013 8:28:58 PM PST
I was about to write this exact review, but found that it had already been written. I will only add that the revelation of Karou's origin completely undercuts the coming of age aspect of the story, and in the process, makes her a much less interesting character to me.
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