Please note: My “Reading Reflections” are not reviews. They are simply my thoughts in response to certain passages.
Andy and I happened to be in the car when I finished Daughter of Smoke and Bone. After reading the last words, I closed the cover, took a deep breath, turned to him with tears in my eyes, and said, “This book devastated me.”
But it’s true! Karou and Akiva (and Brimstone — oh, Brimstone!) broke my freaking heart. Laini Taylor is so talented and so, so cruel.
I knew from Lips Touch that Laini was a masterful writer, but her elegant, unpretentious prose still took me by surprise. Took me on a journey. Made me tingly with emotion. Made me green with envy.
(Bottom line: I would pretty much murder someone to write as well as Laini does.)
So these “Reading Reflections” are going to be fairly light on the Reflections. They’re basically just the passages I swooned over. Oh, and while the US cover is fine, I used the UK cover for this post because I think it’s positively gorgeous.
Karou wished she could be the kind of girl who was complete unto herself, comfortable in solitude, serene. But she wasn’t. She was lonely, and she feared the missingness within her as if it might expand and… cancel her. She craved a presence beside her, solid. Fingertips light at the nape of her neck and a voice meeting hers in the dark. Someone who would wait with an umbrella to walk her home in the rain, and smile like sunshine when he saw her coming. Who would dance with her on her balcony, keep his promises and know her secrets, and make a tiny world wherever he was, with just her and his arms and his whisper and her trust. (70-71)
Swoooooooon. We’ve all felt that longing, haven’t we?
(Just in case that passage gives you the wrong impression: Karou is an extremely strong heroine, in every way. But she’s human too, with all the complex emotions and desires that go along with that.)
“Have you ever asked yourself, do monster make war, or does war make monsters?” (123)
A good question indeed. One that many individuals (and societies) throughout history probably should have asked themselves. One that we still need to be asking.
“There are things bigger than any wish.”
“Most things that matter.” (144)
“I hope, child, but I don’t wish. There’s a difference.”
She turned this over in her mind, thinking that if she could come up with the difference, it might impress him. Something occurred to her, and she struggled to put it into words. “Because hope comes from in you, and wishes are just magic.”
“Wishes are false. Hope is true. Hope makes its own magic.” (144-145)
“Hope can be a powerful force. Maybe there’s no actual magic in it, but when you know what you hope for most and hold it like a light within you, you can make things happen, almost like magic.” (290)
One of the central themes in this book was magic, wishing, and hope — the distinctions and the overlaps between those three. Many of us use those terms interchangeably (magic and wishes; wishes and hope) but I think Laini really teases out the nuances of the words.
As a reader and writer, I’ve always thought that nuances are what make language so lovely. And powerful.
“Love is a luxury.”
“No. Love is an element.”
An element. Like air to breathe, earth to stand on. (365)
Siiiigh. That is some serious crack to romantics like me.
There was almost always something to take delight in, if you were trying. But this was different. It couldn’t be contained. She sometimes imagined it streaming out of her like light.
Happiness. It was the place where passion, with all its dazzle and drumbeat, met something softer: homecoming and safety and pure sunbeam comfort. It was all those things, intertwined with the heat and the thrill, and it was as bright within her as a swallowed star. (399)
First, I like the idea that there’s always something to be happy about. Not so much in the silver lining sense, but more like… just having a bright outlook. Appreciating the small pleasures in life instead of only seeking or being satisfied with the big ones.
Second, I know that kind of happiness, and I feel lucky to be able to say that.