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Daughter of Smoke & Bone - Laini Taylor This book started out as a high four-star rating but ended as a three-star read for me. I thoroughly enjoyed the author's unique world-building and sense of humor, but the "love/lust at second sight" element made me slap my forehead. I simply don't find romance between "ridiculously perfect" beings all that compelling, despite what dire external obstacles are placed in their paths. Regardless of their history together in Karou's (Madrigal's) past life, at this point the relationship between Akiva and Karou is too superficial for my emotional investment, as it's so strongly (and exclusively) based on physical attraction. I feel it was unfortunate that the romance holds center stage so predominately and so early on -- it just unfolds much too quickly for me to climb on board with it.

As others have mentioned in their reviews, the first and second halves of the book feel like separate novels, which was a little off-putting. My preference was definitely for the former, but the controversial ending to Daughter of Smoke & Bone has intrigued me; I am eager to see this new wrinkle in the plot explored. While I complain about the romance, the author has an engaging and artistic writing style, and I have begun reading the sequel, Days of Blood & Starlight, to discover where her story takes me next.