Apr 27, 2013

Book Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone - Laini Taylor

Title: Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1)
Author: Laini Taylor
Release Date: September 27th 2011
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: Bought
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 languagesnot 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 strangersbeautiful, haunted Akivafixes 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?
As I type this, it's been more than three hours after I'd wiped away my tears and put down this book, but only one word resonates in my mind to describe it: WOW. Beautifully unique and moving, Daughter of Smoke and Bone is the best book I've read so far this year, and I totally regret not picking this up sooner.

Right from page one, I was entranced by Laini Taylor's exquisite writing. I knew I should've prepared myself for severe writer envy. Her prose was solid but lyrical, and the way she described everything and everyone made it very easy to immerse myself in the story. With just a few adjectives and native handicrafts or landmarks, I was transported to Prague and Elsewhere and everywhere Karou's journey towards discovering herself had brought her to, and I actually felt like a tourist. I'd give up my own teeth for a bruxis if that would mean being able to write like her.

Now for our main characters. I loved Karou; she was wise, strong, brave, and unabashedly curious, which put her in a handful of pinches. But underneath her feistiness and sharp tongue, the hollow feeling that was one of the few constants in her life didn't prevent her from having a good heart and a soft spot for animals. Akiva, on the other hand, was a tough one both inside and out, thanks to his grueling childhood and, well, let's just call it "previous experiences" with devils. But even if the first glimpses at his character were of him being merciless, I immediately fell for him, his perfect face, and the mystery that had shrouded him.

I loved how the book was written from both their perspectives, but the third-person POV hindered the deep emotions in the story quite a bit—quite a bit, I repeat, because I still felt every thrill and melancholy that these two wounded characters felt. I was also surprised by how unrevealing the blurb actually was, but that just added to the suspense because everything in this book—especially the author's take on angels and demons—was so fresh, I had absolutely no idea whether to expect more action or some downtime when I could finally stop being on the edge of my seat.

But Daughter of Smoke and Bone didn't come without faults. First there was the almost two hundred pages of backstory before the ending. I enjoyed it for a while, but soon it just felt too long and, because it started right after a "big moment", I couldn't wait for it to end. It turned out to be entirely necessary, though, and now I've realized that the story couldn't have been told in a better way. Second, the ending felt lacking because it merely answered the question of Karou's origin—or maybe I'd just been preparing myself for something like the mother of all wars. Either way, it didn't provide enough character development.

I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in this, but I self-harm with books, and, oh man, is this book one of the best tools. It was painfulparticularly the romance, oh good heavensbut it's the kind of pain that I yearn more of. And more pain I got, sure enough, when I learned that the third book in this series will be released in 2014, which means I won't be able to pick up Days of Blood and Starlight any time soon because I can't handle waiting that long for the next one.

MY FAVORITE PART was Zuzana meeting Akiva XD

(cover and blurb from Goodreads.com)


  1. Great review Kazhy and I totally understand, I am also waiting for a time when the release of the 3rd book is closer so I can peacefully read it, or maybe I'll just wait until the third book is out and bench read them :P

    1. Thanks! Hmm, now you've given me an idea for a read-along before the third book's release :))

  2. Hee. I loved when Zuzana met Akiva. ;) I'm SO glad you liked this book! It's one of my favourites, though I do think the sequel is even better. WOW was pretty much my first thought after finishing this too. Laini Taylor has a wonderful way with words, right? I hope she has more books planned after this series. Awesome review, Kazhy!

  3. Ah! Awesome review Kazhy. Honestly, reading your words made me want to pick this one up and go through all those feels all over again! I'm really happy you loved it as much as you did and I can't wait to see what you'll think of Days of Blood & Starlight! :D Book 3 can NOT come out fast enough! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows


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