Earlier I published a piece about author appreciation and fanart. In this day and age, there are precious few things I take as much pleasure in as combining two of my greatest passions - art and literature - and all in an effort to give back to those whose words never fail to leave me inspired and moved, and whose work I will forever hold in high esteem.

Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy is just one such work (or... well... three such works, but that sounds incredibly awkward). And Laini Taylor herself is just one such author. At times, we connect with a novel on so personal a level, it feels as though it was written specifically with us in mind. Not that I could strictly speaking identify with Karou, the protagonist of the series. But Karou, with her blue hair, her famous sketchbook and her fierce independence, is the sort of character that invokes inspiration and sets the bar higher - both for the future protagonists we are going to come into contact with, and for ourselves. Karou's strength was of the silently empowering kind. It was not a trait which occasionally reared its head as an afterthought. Instead, it was consistent throughout, from the very first to the very last page, and it was what kept me going even when my heart was hammering in my chest, even when I was reading feverishly through the night in hopes of better times ahead for these beloved characters I'd become attached to. Karou, the daughter of smoke and bone. Karou, the one who dared to dream a world free of prejudice and violence. Karou, whose struggle is every bit as relevant in our world as it is in hers.

And it reads like a poem. 1550 pages of high fantasy read like effortless poetry - the kind that flows and whispers, and echoes long after the final page attempts to announce the official end. The ending is no more than a middle - a beautiful middle. And, in my case, the ending is the beginning of endless inspiration, for months after the fact.

So in an effort to practice what I preach - to honor my favorite author(s) through my art - I have created this piece, of Karou as I see her, of Ellai and wishbones.

I will now proceed to shut up and allow the art to speak for itself.

 Daughter of Smoke and Bone on deviantArt

If you wish to follow my artistic pursuits, you can find and follow me on deviantArt.

(My review for Dreams of Gods and Monsters is yet to come; I am yet to come up with words grand enough to convey how much I loved it. All the superlatives in my vocabulary have failed me.)

I am also unable to come up words to thank Laini Taylor for being so accessible and so there. It is an absolute horror that I still don't own this trilogy, despite my incredible love for it. During the creation of this artwork I found myself wondering whether Karou's eyes were black or if my memory was deceiving me. And, not being in possession of the books (which I borrowed from a friend to read, and which I have every intention of getting as a box set when I can afford one), I had no way of verifying it for myself. So I asked Laini herself on Twitter, and she replied within seconds. The experience left me awed. My favorite authors are tantamount to deities in my universe. So, in a way, I spoke to God the other day... and God spoke back. ♥ Laini, if you ever read this - thank you ever so much, for all your words - both the 160-characters-or-less kind, and the 1550 pages of poetry in prose.

- Lexie