Just to prefaces this, yes, I am an adult. Yes, I do have a job. I am actually married (for #? years now!) Yes, I am mature…sometimes.
But, I also love to have a good time. Just got this piece of “evidence” for that in from Shanella, with whom this past Halloween got a little YA crazy…and that was after our Lit-themed Halloween party. (Click here for the down-low on my “costume.”)
Had to giggle at this. Too funny not to share.
Crazy, Wacked-Out, YA Halloween November 5, 2011
Halloween, YA Lit Style November 2, 2011
It was Halloween. I wanted something that would stand out without a LOT of work. (As much as I love dressing up, I just didn’t have time to dedicate this year.) I also wanted to go with a literary theme, you know, for obvious reasons.
My requirements were simple: I wanted to be a character that I 1) really liked 2) from a well-written book 3) of which I was a big fan. (A costume is a big commitment!) I was actually in the middle of a very bad book, which made it all that much more important to choose a good one.
Now, it’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Laini Taylor. So, when the idea hit me, I couldn’t figure out why I hadn’t thought of it sooner:
What better way to do all of the above than with blue hair?
Here’s my take on Karou, from Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone.
(Sorry for all of the narcissistic head shots. The top of the wig was atrocious, so the only good photos were close-ups!)
(Click here for my review of the book.)
I combed the book for references to her appearance, clothes, jewelry, scars, tattoos, and weapons. Then, I manufactured what I could and bought what I couldn’t. The Chinese crescent-moon blade was a last-minute, at-my-desk, cutting-cardboard-like-mad addition. I had an artistic coworker of mine help with the hamsas on my palms.
The only things that I thought of but didn’t do were acquire a sketchbook/artists portfolio fast enough, and create a t-shirt that said “I met an angel in Morocco and all I got were these lousy scars.” It had just snowed here in the city, and I just wasn’t up to short sleeves.
I admit, it’s not quite Hollywood-grade. But, as you can see, I had quite a bit of fun getting into character…though I never have been good at maintaining a serious face while acting silly. I guess that’s on my to-do list for next year.
Ingredients for a kickin’ Karou costume:
1 bright blue wig
1 multi-string necklace of random beads
1 black sharpie + 1 artistic friend = 2 hamsas
sweater, jeans, boots, coat, and scarf
wicked (fake) crescent-shaped knife
artist’s portfolio or sketchbook
too much blue eyeshadow
awesome fake eyelashes (just don’t leave them at home, like I did!)
1 “YA Saves” button for your lapel
#LainiLove – Smoke & Bone UK Book Trailers September 2, 2011
Enter elsewhere, the world of Karou,
girl with the lapis blue hair…
…and meet Brimstone,
the one who holds all of her secrets.
Release Date: Sept 27, 2011
Publisher: Little Brown
“Once upon a time,
an angel and a demon fell in love.
It did not end well.”
–Daughter of Smoke and Bone, part I
Usually, I won’t do this – preface a review this way (or, who knows? maybe I will?) – but Laini Taylor deserves some introduction. She is, hands down, my favorite YA author. And for good reason.
There are many YA books that fall into the category I like to call “cotton candy”: they look pretty, taste pretty, but melt in your mouth and are gone. (Not to mention that a steady diet of them will give you a stomach ache…)
Laini Taylor is not one of those.
If I were to give her work a flavor, I’d call it chocolate, deep and luxuriant, with surprising, biting, hidden flecks of sea salt. She intimately wields the thrill of YA, but weaves it with a visceral poetry that much of YA lacks. It is a style that is clearly her own. It shines through all of her works like a thumb print. And it swallows you up.
Her latest (or should I say, forthcoming) book is no exception.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Karou, Karou. Girl with the lapis blue hair knows very little about herself except that her name means “hope.” Oh, and that her life straddles two worlds: the human, and the elsewhere. She has tattoos of eyes (hamsas) on her palms, may or may not have imagined the creatures that appear in her sketchbooks, and is filled up with a strong sense of emptiness – as if her world were not complete.
When a painfully beautiful seraph is pulled into her life – wings like living fire – however, he brings with him a glimmer of otherness, of wholeness and fullness…of love?, of the path to elsewhere, and the scent of…war.
As the story unfolds, it becomes increasingly clear that Karou is more than what she seems. But when she discovers it for herself, it may be too late, and the road back to the only family she has ever known will cost her dearly.
Fraught with elegant and bittersweet romance, this action-laced page-turner is a hands-down work of art. It is the YA we all love – thrilling and exhausting, brimming with suspense – but skillfully so, so you almost won’t even realize that the secrets have been spilled until you are already lapping them up. Taylor’s teases and revelations aren’t abrupt; they are elegant, seamless, and utterly satisfying.
And, though it is only Part 1 of a trilogy, never fear: all of your burning questions will be answered by book’s close – just in time to realize you’ve got a whole aching slew of new ones.
This book, much like her previous Dreamdark and National Book Award-Nominated Lips Touch: Three Times, is signature Laini. Just what that unmistakable style is (delicate? steely? sensuous? ephemeral? lithe? dark? iridescent?) you’ll have to discover for yourself.