I went into this one completely blind- I had never read any of Laini Taylor's works, and I didn't know what this novel was about. I was blown away. The story was so deep and rich and different than anything else I've read in a long time. Technically it's urban fantasy, but it's so complex and multi-leveled that you forget that it's actually set in the real world and in the current time period. Karou is selfish, but also caring, and brave, headstrong and loyal. She is a real person with many layers- not like so many other manic-pixie-dreamgirls you find in YA nowadays. She speaks many languages. She's got multiple tattoos. She has blue hair and runs errands for a Chimera. Taylor throws us right in the deep end in this novel, so quickly that I needed to slow down to absorb the world she was weaving. Her story is punctuated with reveal after reveal, and I was just along for the ride. I was so enthralled with the characters that even though I was on vacation, I was waiting for downtime in the evening to get back into it. Akiva is a boy angel with a tortured soul. Yes, it sounds cliche. But Taylor takes this trope and builds on it- she fleshes him out so well that we aren't sure whether we love him or hate him, even though he's the main love interest. Taylor made me feel like I wasn't sure which side should win the war that has been raging between the Seraph and the Chimera- they are both made out to be relatable. They both have their strengths and flaws, their right causes and wrong. No one side is 'the bad guy', which is normally how things go. There are sympathetic characters on both sides, and that makes it harder for us to choose who we want to triumph. Daughter of Smoke and Bone leaves us on a doozy of a cliffhanger- and I'm so glad that I have the next one in my hands, ready to go.