This review might be closer to a... 3.5? However I don't do half ratings so a four it is. Because I'm nice like that. I've been told to read Daughter of Smoke and Bone a lot since it's been released and I've seen a lot of reviews talking about how it's the best thing ever etc etc, however I didn't go into this book thinking that I would feel the same way and approached it the same way I do with every book - a blank slate.
I did love it for the most part, particularly at the beginning. It's so refreshing to read a book that isn't set solely in the USA and I've started looking out for those because surprisingly, the USA isn't the only country in the world. Yes, the beginning was awesome. I loved Karou as soon as she made her exes crack itch in a life drawing class and I knew there would be a lot of anger between the two. I loved the vivid descriptions of the city and I really felt like I was there and I really, really loved Karou's backstory and how she grew up.
I would be lying if I said I didn't find any faults, however. Kazimir, the jealous ex boyfriend, was used more as a plot device than an actual character. Karou thinks about him often but he only appears in maybe four scenes and doesn't say very much when he's there. I never got a feel for his character or understood why Karou dated him in the first place.
The second one almost made me rate this down to 2 stars because I was so irritated. Insta-love. She fights with Akiva when she first meets him, granted, but she falls in love with the guy who's injured her (mild term) and who is supposed to be her enemy so quickly and so passionately that I threw up in my mouth a little. On top of that we get the bs explanation about why they fell in love so quickly that I really didn't appreciate. And then there's being told about how hot Akiva is on pretty much every page in every scene he's in. In one scene her friend goes on and on and on about how much she wants to f*ck him which set my jaw on edge.
However, the romance between Madrigal and Akiva really worked for me, even if the Romeo and Juliet tale was obvious. I understood why they were attracted to each other and I was really invested in their story. I would have happily read a longer section about them and their world but I guess that's for another book.
The world building was excellent, the characters varied and memorable and Laini's writing flows beautifully. As long as it isn't too heavy on the romance I am looking forward to reading the sequels very much. There's lots of things that I'm hoping will happen in the next book!