Thursday, December 29, 2011

Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Genre: Paranormal

Laini Taylor's novel Daughter of Smoke and Bone, begins the story of 17-year-old Karou, the foster child of a mysterious creature named Brimstone. The world of her family is a far cry from the "normal" world in which she lives. Karou is sent, for the most part unwillingly, on errands around the globe for a reason she does not yet understand. Karou must learn to balance the two worlds she loves while she struggles to discover who is she and her place in life. It gives new meaning to the phrase 'ignorance is bliss.' 

There were several aspects of Taylor's creation that captivated and drew me into her world. The first, and arguably the most important, are the characters. Simply put--I love Karou. I connected to her on an artistic level, and appreciated her humor. She is strong and independent, yet craves for a person she can confide in, a person she can be vulnerable with, someone she can love. In this sense, Karou is very relatable to the independent women in our modern society. Her maturity speaks to both young and older audiences. 

In regard to the other-worldly characters, I was impressed with her chimaera. They held all the animalistic qualities of their physical counterparts, as well as the humanesque feelings typical to families and sentient beings. I enjoyed the combination of Greek mythology with Christian tradition. Taylor made a point to illustrate that both sides contained good and evil. One cannot exist without the other. I found myself wishing that the past came more in glimpses rather than several consecutive chapters devoted to flashbacks, but Taylor's writing is still engaging. I look forward to the next installment with enthusiasm. 

Tasty Tid-bit:

"Yearning for love made her feel like a cat that was always twining around ankles, meowing Pet me, pet me, look at me, love me. Better to be the cat gazing coolly down from a high wall, its expression inscrutable. The cat that shunned petting, that needed no one. Why couldn't she be that cat?"--p. 71

Here is the book trailer for your viewing pleasure:

Rating: 4 out of 5 owls
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Friday, December 23, 2011

Searching for a more intimate relationship with words

The power of a word is undeniable. Verbal and written communication is an essential driving force behind all great civilizations. To say a person does not possess an intimate relationship with words would equate to branding the poor soul a specimen lower than primitive--basically declaring them animalistic. While such a person may exist, they are not common to structured society.

From the time of infancy, words--the oral and visual symbols of language--become a thing of thought. That is to say, words begin to define our thoughts as they give shape and texture to our cognitive development. In short, it is impossible not to have an intimate relationship with words simply because all words in one's vocabulary eventually come to embody a set of experiences and feelings so strongly attached to our psyche that the two cannot, without extreme difficulty, be separated. For example--think of the word mother. In the flash of an instant a lifetime of memories, both good and bad, are played like a filmstrip through the mind. For myself, I think of the bond between a daughter and her mother. The fights and the friendship. The punishments and sweet rewards. Of baking cookies on Sunday and cuddling up to watch movies. I think of the quiet conversations, of secrets revealed. It is a word that I consider with fondness and contentment. However, others may have a set of negative feelings tied to the word. This case is true with most words, as each person will have an attachment unique to their own life experiences.

Though I recognize that an intimate relationship with words is something I already have, I want more. My passion for language and the artistic qualities of the written word have led me on a quest for a more intimate relationship with words. Where this will lead me, I do not know, but I will search for meaningful texts, quotes, and textual images that speak to my emotions and instill meaning in my life. I invite you to share this journey with me, and share your own discoveries.
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