In the final part of Daughter of Smoke and Bone, I am screaming.
Bring Your Daughter…
Everything comes together in these final chapters, and not only in the sense of a full-circle plot. Karou/Madrigal ends up going back to where it began, true, but along the way there have been so many little hints and signs of Madrigal coming through in Karou. From Madrigal’s throwaway wish for blue hair, to Karou’s love of flight and her fondness for those knives, to the sense of having found – and lost – a real family with Brimstone and the others at the shop/in the tower. I ate all of that up, and one thing I’m really looking forward to in the next book is how these two characters become the one, complete person again. And for all that I ship her and Akiva, I’ll admit it’s a relief to have that to look forward to rather than the book letting more of the plot’s weight rest on just a romance, however epic it might be.
On that note, let’s talk about that bomb Akiva dropped, shall we?
I don’t buy it. Not for a hot second, because WE DIDN’T SEE IT HAPPEN SO IT OBVIOUSLY DIDN’T. Right? That said … Damn it, Akiva.
I don’t blame him, exactly. He had a job to do, and this would have all happened before the onset of Sweeping Epic Romance. But. DAMN IT.
The guilt, though. Oh god, my poor boy’s guilt must be crushing him. What is he going to do now? It looks, at the very end, as though he and Karou have gone their separate ways (also not entirely buying that it’s over for them), but though I’m eager/excited/nervous to follow Karou through that portal … What about Akiva?
All of the focus on hope as a theme here isn’t just about Karou’s life, past or present, or her own future. I see it as being about Akiva’s as well. Madrigal wasn’t the only one who had her heart of hearts set upon peace. Can she even achieve that without her warrior beside her? And if he doesn’t go with her, or at least follow her … What’s going to become of him?
… To The Slaughter
(Yes, I quoted an Iron Maiden song. No, I have no regrets.)
Speaking of taking on a huge task alone.
Karou has gone home, finally – but she’s done it without Akiva, in the company of a fallen seraph who CLEARLY CAN’T BE TRUSTED KAROU DAMN IT, and “home” is where she might find her very angry former executioner and … no family. I don’t believe Brimstone is dead, but I know how this goes. If he is alive, despite Akiva’s claim, then no doubt Karou is actually going to have to find him, before Thiago finds her.
This is fine. Everything is fine. She’ll be fine.
It doesn’t help that I’ve been informed (minus any spoilers) that Book 2 is darker than this one. Now that’s probably to be expected if Karou is flying herself straight into the place where her original incarnation was executed, and will presumably be at risk of running into the person who ordered the execution and, for all I know at this point, might already be looking for her. I’m fully here for a bit more darkness, because I got the message about the one thing that’s stronger than any magic that can grant a wish.
There’s hope. There has to be. Right?
On that note, I’ll end here with my favourite line from this book, and the best one I’ve read in a long while.
“We need a happier myth. Let’s make one up.”