Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Posted by Jessi (Geo) on November 19, 2011 | 2 Comments

Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini TaylorDaughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1
Published by Little Brown (9.27.2011)
Genres: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover, 418 pages
Source: I own it
Buy on Amazon

5 Stars

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages--not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.

When one of the strangers--beautiful, haunted Akiva--fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

My thoughts

I heard good things about this book, so I was reeeaaaally looking forward to reading it. I was most certainly not disappointed.

Karou. Her name means hope.

Hope can be a powerful force. Maybe there’s no actual magic in it, but when you know what you hope for most and hold it like a light within you, you can make things happen, almost like magic.

She’s an enigma – her hair grows blue from her scalp, she collects languages, and you get basically no background about her or information about her childhood. You are left to question: who is she? What is she? The mystery was intriguing and left me eager to learn about her past. And the teeth! What are the freaking teeth all about?! That was driving me crazy. I loved how it kept me guessing right up until the end, when it finally gave answers.
First of all, I loved the random humor toward the beginning (it seemed to kind of die off as the book went on) such as insolent dimple or Papilio Stomachus (butterflies), and also:
“Don’t put anything unnecessary into yourself. No poisons or chemicals, no fumes or smoke or alcohol, no sharp objects, no inessential needles – drug or tattoo – and…no inessential penises either.”
Sounds like great advice to me baha!
It could have been a good drawing, but she’d ruined it. Her line work had darkened and lost all subtlety, finally ending in a chaotic scribble that blotted out his…inessential penis.
Blue hair: frivolous.
Erasing pimples: vain.
Wishing off the light switch so she didn’t have to get out of bed: lazy. (something I would do, ha)
Making ex-boyfriend’s cranny itch: vindictive.
I certainly wasn’t expecting the innuendos and the word usage had me laughing out loud.
There was a bit of a lull in the plot between the doorways to Elsewhere burning and the breaking of the wishbone. It never got boring, but it was just Karou and Akiva and a lot of talking. I kind of expected Karou to put up a little more resistance against him. She wants to hate him and suddenly doesn’t. There wasn’t really a transition. But there was sort of a reason for that too, I suppose.

I mentioned the breaking of the wishbone because it was a turning point for me. After that, the plot really took off. You finally get the whole background needed, who and what Karou is, who Akiva is, and the significance of the teeth – which I found fascinating, astounding, and utterly brilliant.

Taylor spun a glorious tale of forbidden love and star-crossed lovers from the past. The last 100 pages were riveting to say the least. I wanted to read as quickly as possible and at the same time I never wanted it to end. In addition to finding out the purpose of the teeth and the bodies in the basement, you also realize the purpose of the Smoke and Bone of the book’s title. I loved that part, magic and will and what it symbolized.

I must say I was very frustrated by the end. I kind of had the urge to scream, actually. Everything finally comes together, only to fall apart. The downside of reading the first book of a series before the 2nd is released. After I finished this book, I just sat there for almost twenty minutes straight, dumbfounded and staring. There was so much information and background crammed into that last 100 pages that I want to read the book again to pick up all the details. There were so many little things along the way that I didn’t realize were significant until I got that last puzzle piece and was thinking back on the rest of the book.

This is definitely one of those reads that my mind will revisit at random intervals!

Favorite quotes

Loneliness is worse when you return to it after a reprieve – like the soul’s version of putting on a wet bathing suit, clammy and miserable.
I certainly have had that feeling before.

She craved a presence beside her, solid. Fingertips light at the nape of her neck and a voice meeting hers in the dark. Someone who would wait with an umbrella to walk her home in the rain, and smile like sunshine when he saw her coming. Who would dance with her on her balcony, keep his promises and know her secrets, and make a tiny world wherever he was, with just her and his arms and his whisper and her trust.
Who doesn’t, right? But this was so beautifully put that it gave me a pang of longing to have what Taylor described.

Happiness. It was the place where passion, with all its dazzle and drumbeat, met something softer: homecoming and safety and pure sunbeam comfort.

Never repent of your own goodness. To stay true in the face of evil is a feat of strength.

Overall assessment

Plot: 5/5
Premise: 5+/5
Originality: 5+/5
Writing Style: 5+/5
Characters: 4/5
World building: 5+/5
Pace: 4.5/5
Feels: 5/5
Cover: 5+/5

Overall rating: 5+/5 starfish


Jessi (Geo)

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2 responses to “Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

  1. I enjoyed this book, too, although I wasn’t as happy with the ending and I wanted to be. I will definitely read the next book in this series.

    I like your review a lot. I’m a big fan of using quotes from a book to review – I think it’s a good way to draw readers into the story.

  2. I have had this book on my wishlist for awhile now after seeing excellent reviews for it all summer. I found it on sale really cheap for my Kindle last week and couldn’t resist picking it up and will be starting it tonight! I really hope it lives up to most of the hype.

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