Daughter of Smoke & Bone
Book #1 of the Daughter of Smoke and Bone Series
by Laini Taylor
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company (Sept. 2011)
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Format: Paperback and ebook (417 pages)
Source: Just won in a giveaway and got a digital copy from Books4Review.
Purchase: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository
Rating: ★★★★½ (4.5 stars)
Around the world, black hand prints 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 grows 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? ~ Add to Goodreads
At A Glance
Daughter of Smoke and Bone is not like any other book I have read before. The writing and imagery is beautiful and the premise is completely unique. I die a little inside every day having to wait for the second book to come out.
Here’s the Story
Karou has a unique life. Her days consist of drawing fantasy scenes in her sketch book, learning language through wishes, and collecting teeth for her monster friends. She was raised by monsters, nice monsters who have cared for her since birth and now have her collect teeth for a mysterious reason they have yet to reveal. It’s a lonely life sometimes but at least she has some sort of family. Then everything changes when winged strangers mark certain doors around the world. These marks change Karou’s life forever. Now separated from her family, Karou finds solace with one of the winged beings who hates the monsters she’s involved with but loves her for everything she can’t remember.
A New Favorite Author…
The biggest thing I want to gush about is the beautiful writing. It was so descriptive and lyrical. It flowed flawlessly and rhythmically almost like a poem. I could picture everything in my head to precision. I almost feel like I had just watched a movie because all the pictures and scenes are still running through my head. Taylor knows her way around words, that’s for sure. She built up the mystery and suspense in a way that made it hard to put this book down. And she is perfection when it comes to showing instead of telling. I can’t wait to read more of Laini Talyor’s work.
Karou, our blue-haired artist, was everything I would want in a protagonist. She has a mysterious past, she is smart, funny, and strong, and she has depth beyond imagining. I was drawn into her world and her role in it. I knew there was more to her than meets the eye and when all is revealed it is both heartbreaking and mesmerizing. Her part in the supernatural war is far more important than anyone can guess. Well, that’s what I think anyways.
Akiva is on the opposing side of the war. But even though being with Karou is against all the rules, he can’t help himself. He is drawn to her, it’s a pull that goes soul deep. He just has to convince her that she is more than just Karou. Akiva has many up hill battles ahead of him. His life is closely tied to Karous but he is hiding things that can ruin everything they ever had together. I feel bad for Akiva because I believe he is a great person but he has done some unforgivable things. But I have hope for him and Karou.
Zuzana is the Sh!t…
I had to give Karou’s best friend, Zuzana, her own paragraph. I just love everything about her. She is my favorite best friend character in all of bookland. She is beyond hilarious, she cares without prejudice, and…and…did I mention she was hilarious? I actually couldn’t wait for her to come on the scene. You have to experience her to get what I am saying, it’s hard to explain her because I can’t do her justice with just words, that’s Laini’s job.
This is a SPOILER:
I have to mention why I loved this story so much but it will spoil the surprise for some people who have yet to read Daughter of Smoke and Bone. You have been warned: I loved the concept of this story. Two races, the monsters below and the monsters above, call them demons and angels if you will. They both fight a war for war sake. They do not discuss compromises because neither will yeld to the other. And thousands are dying for reasons barely remembered. One side sees the war through gilded eyes and the other wants freedom but at the price of their souls. Neither will stop to see reason, which means this war is far from over. Is there ever really a winner when a society sacrifices it’s own to win a war?
Only a few things to mention here. First, the POV shifting took me a little while to get use to but in the end I barely even noticed it.
When I thought back to this book after reading the last page I realized not a lot happens for a portion of the book. The first half is amazing, descriptive and beautiful, then the second half focuses on Akiva and Karou and them doing…nothing. Bad, bad pacing on Laini’s part. The whole point of this book is finding out who Karou really is, which we only find out in the end. When it comes to action and story climaxes, it lacked a little in the second half and then was awesome again at the end.
There is definitely some yummy chemistry between Karou and Akiva. I like how deep their bond went, even farther than any of us could have imagined. It felt pure and…right. Any sexual activity or mention of it is YA-ish, so it’s pretty safe for the teenager crowd. But it is still very hot and romantic. I love everything about Karou and Akiva being together.
I enjoyed almost everything about Daughter of Smoke and Bone. It has mystery galore, it has a romance like no other, and we get left on a cliffhanger that was actually very exciting and not annoying like so many other cliffhangers I have read. This might just be my next favorite series. Highly recommended.
“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 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.”
“It is a condition of monsters that they do not perceive themselves as such. The dragon, you know, hunkered in the village devouring maidens, heard the townsfolk cry ‘Monster!’ and looked behind him.”