Last Friday night Laini Taylor was in Seattle promoting her new book, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and I was lucky enough to score an invitation to a dinner in her honor hosted by Little, Brown. Laini was friendly and outgoing, not to mention very gracious and down to earth, which was especially impressive given this was the last stop on a long national tour. She spent the entire dinner gamely table-hopping, talking with librarians and book sellers all night before rushing to the airport to head back to her family in Portland.
If you were in New Orleans for ALA last month, you’ll know the buzz around Daughter of Smoke and Bone started early and didn’t stop. Advance copies of the book were gone by the time I hit the exhibit floor on Saturday morning but I saw them in the arms of many happy teens and librarians all over the city. Once I finally got my hands on the book and cracked it open, it was immediately evident that the buzz was well deserved.
Taylor has a history of writing complex fantasy that rewards readers with gorgeous language and rich characters and her latest is no exception. This is not at all surprising, considering her last book, Lips Touch Three Times, received universally rave reviews, was a finalist National Book Award in 2009 and made YALSA’s 2010 Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults. I find myself constantly reaching for her books to give to readers looking for something a little unusual because Taylor somehow manages to strike just the right balance of tragedy, hope, devastation and romance, all laced with a heavy dose of seriously creepy. If you haven’t had a chance to read any of her work yet, start with her first novel, Blackbringer.
-Summer Hayes, currently listening to A Red Herring Without Mustard: A Flavia de Luce Novel