Ever read a book that does something so right it kind of works against the rest of it? That was this one for me. Overall I really enjoyed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, but I liked several aspects of it more than I liked others. For the good parts, I really, really loved the writing. It could go either way with a reader; it’s very flowing and lyrical and flowery, and I personally loved it. But other readers will likely find it overwrought and a little too purpley; it really just depends on your preferences. I thought Taylor’s way of describing things was beautiful and her prose always flowed and never once felt the least bit clunky. Her dialogue is good and her characters are clearly envisioned and shine through as actual people, even the characters who, well, aren’t human. The plot is magnificent and it kept me guessing at every turn. It's very expertly crafted. One of the things that stands out the most to me, though, is the world building. Holy god is the world building in this book awesome. The world of the seraphim and the chimaera is beautifully detailed and described and it’s obvious work and thought were put into it. It’s very much like a real world. Prague and the various cities Karou visits during the course of the book come to life wonderfully as well, so much so that you can easily imagine yourself standing there with the characters. It’s very immersive. The other thing that stands out to me--the thing that works against the rest of the novel--is the family relationship between Karou, Brimstone and the three other chimaera she lives with. Their relationship is beautiful and the little tidbits we get in the beginning about her life with them are incredibly sweet. It was done incredibly well and I was invested in them; I wanted to see more of them and their workings as a family. I would have loved this book if it’d just been about Karou’s chimaera family. I honestly wish we had more of them and less of, well... Akiva. Don’t get me wrong. I like Akiva as a character, I really do. He’s interesting and complex, as all the other characters in the novel are, and I enjoyed reading the bits of the story that he narrated. But once he and Karou met and stopped being enemies, man, my interest flatlined quickly. I’ve read other reviews that say this is the “love at first sight” trope done rarely right in YA. In a way, I agree. There’s an actual reason and thought process behind the love Karou and Akiva share at first sight, and that made it easier for me to swallow. But I just couldn’t get invested in them as a couple. There’s a lot of reasons why they work--Akiva actually trusts Karou enough to tell her things instead of hiding them from her, like most major YA love interests do. He treats her well enough once they get past trying to kill each other. There’s even a sweet little scene near the end of the novel that made me “awwww” aloud. He has his issues at times but overall I wasn’t insulted or offended by him like I am some other YA love interests. Once I found the reason why they loved each other at first sight, I was able to accept it a bit more easily than I was in the beginning. But I still didn’t really go wild over them, and I wish I could have. I honestly think my interest in Karou’s family and my love for them worked against my liking for Akiva and his storyline with Karou, which is deftly weaved into the overall major plotline of the book and his presence certainly works. It definitely has meaning to the story and he isn’t there just to be the pretty angel boyfriend. But whenever he and Karou were together all I was thinking was “I really just want more of her family and less of you right now.” That’s a personal preference in the end, though. Like much about this book, it’ll be up to the reader to see how they respond to him and the love story. I sort of hope Karou doesn’t forgive him in later books, though, since he does some majorly unforgivable things (and speaking of that, I was rather uncomfortable with the underlying message that he did he things he did and became what he was because of losing a person he loved. It shifted the blame onto her and I wasn’t entirely happy about that.) Or if she does forgive him, they part ways on civil terms but don’t become lovers. But again, that’s me being picky about my romances. Overall I really enjoyed Daughter of Smoke & Bone and I’ll definitely be looking into the sequels. Everything else is done so right in this novel that I’m excited to see what else Taylor has to offer.