Daughter of Smoke & Bone - Laini Taylor 3.75 STARSShe knew of a scribe dressed all in white who penned letters to the dead (and delivered them), and an old storyteller who sold ideas to writers at the price of a year of their livesSee if I met that mystic storyteller, I'd willingly sell my high school years maybe throw in year 2000 for that gift. I'm wondering how many years of one's life would it cost to come up with a story that assaults the senses with imagination and creativity as thoroughly as this book. A book that makes it so very difficult for me to hop back into the saddles of "Contemporary Romance" (ugh) and so rightfully deserves 5 stars and both moons of Tatooine Loramendi……if not for that goddamn wishbone.Yeah, I'm Team Anywhere Else But Loramendi. This was a very common complaint among DoSaB's readers and I couldn't help but agree. I think the charm and grace rendered by Laini Taylor's prose in the early, urban fantasy half of this book was masterful. I've never been so besotted with words strung so craftily into a story that's a chimaera in its own: part archetypal fantasy and part forbidden love story. The usual suspects of YA-PNR are here but the enchantment of the narrative made everything else easy to digest. I loved the shroud of mystery behind the early push and pull between the MCs. Karou and Akiva were just wonderful characters to be invested in and I was even anticipating this book to unseat Angelfall as my ultimate Angel-fantasy book. I was just getting comfortably warm and fuzzed out with the first 60%Then Bullfinch happened.Followed by Loramendi.Ugh, Everything that happened in Loramendi should've just stayed in Loramendi.While the prose was consistently powerful throughout this novel, when the genre shifted midway through, I felt it didn't serve the story anymore as well as it did pre-shift. Suddenly it started to become predictable, the words sound self-indulgent and a bit of an overkill that I wasn't as captivated as I should be.Like the readers who couldn't give this the perfect rating it so rightfully deserves, I couldn't bring myself to care about the idealistic, near-perfect Madrigal as much as I did the strong-willed and flawed Karou. She wasn't offensive to me as a reader and the latter half of that stretch of scenes were quite brilliant, but I like my flaws in my heroines. And I like the nicks and cracks and empty spaces in them and their struggle to fill those spaces up with family, love and hope. All of which were present in Madrigal, true, but was somehow tamped down by her screaming perfection that towards the end, I found myself missing Karou more and more with ever page turn.But don't let this deter you from picking up this book. It IS a great book. The underlying theme of hope and family just blew off all most of my disappointment. Brimstone and Zuzana are personal favorites but the secondary characters in this book, both the good and the bad, have kept the story from dragging. The world where all these characters existed and its encompassing turmoil and strife is a character in itself that rivals the MCs in holding your interest. So yes, all the stars I'm giving this belongs to Brimstone and Karou... none for you, Akiva (whose besotted rumination post-wishbone just grated on the feels).I heard Days of Blood and Starlight have less Akiva-Karou more Akiva-Madrigal moments. Terribly excited for the former, the concept of the latter... i find this side of terrible.