Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Book #20: Czech Republic - Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

And I'm back with Round the World Wednesday! (It's still Wednesday for me. Really.)

The book for today is Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. While some of the book is set Elsewhere, the main character Karou lives and attends school in Prague, so it counts as the Czech Republic.

I love Karou as a character. When first you meet her, she's up against an incredibly annoying ex-boyfriend who descends on her in a most inconvenient situation. She has access to wishes - very small ones - and while you don't yet know exactly what the ex has done, you feel she is completely justified in using her wishes to get back at the ex. Yes, she knows it's wrong. Yes, we know it's wrong. But when she's told off for it later, you're completely on her side. And you wish you had wishes like that too.

Taylor does a great job of unfolding pieces of the puzzle and building up the picture until everything fits and makes sense. Things don't always happen in chronological order, and the clues are highly controlled - you'll read something and then realise when the next clue comes along that the first clue was actually something quite different to what you thought.

I loved hearing about Prague as if from a local's point of view - the favourite cafe, the alleyways, the actors dressed as ghosts to scare the tourists, the school with gruesome war stories. You really feel the atmosphere and vibrancy of the city.

I want to go to Prague. As I was reading the book, I was in the midst of deciding where to go for New Year. Prague was extremely attractive. The book mentions snow and fairy-tale buildings. I like snow (there has not yet been a snow-fall here, and the last time I actually had to walk in snow I was fourteen) and fairy-tale buildings. I can deal with cold, surely. It's been down to freezing level here, almost.

Going to Prague would mean buying a few more winter clothes, because I don't think my coat of Electric Blue would be up to it. Not even my Kathmandu jacket would protect me. In the end, for a variety of reasons I've decided to go somewhere slightly warmer, a very nice place with nice weather and nice beaches and nice buildings and nice people, where I will have a very nice time.

Enough about my holiday plans (mwa ha ha). Do you know and love any books set in the Czech Republic?


  1. You mean Czech books other than the book of wonderful poetry by the great Vladimír Holan, so beloved by your brother?

  2. yes, other than that. Very other.

  3. one who speaks russianDecember 31, 2011 at 3:57 AM

    I appreciate the many uses of the word nice! Prague is very pretty and stil has alot of the old world feel about it


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