October 11, 2011 at 04:00 AM EDT

In a literary landscape teeming with all things supernatural, it’s an impressive feat for a YA fantasy book to come along that feels thrillingly fresh and new. But that’s just what Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone does. The smartly plotted, surprising, and fiercely compelling read will hook you from its opening pages. (Seriously, cancel all plans once you begin; you won’t want to put it down.) Our heroine, Karou — an azure-haired 17-year-old art student in Prague — speaks dozens of languages and can kick major butt in a fight, talents that come in handy when she’s running errands for her guardian, Brimstone (a chimera with a ram’s head, a human’s torso, leonine legs, and talons). In Taylor’s richly imagined universe, angels are not always good and wishes come from pain, but teenagers are reassuringly the same. Bring on book 2! A-

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