Saturday, August 13, 2011

Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

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 has 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?
This is a story about a girl that's more than she seems, a story about a war pitting angels against demons, a story about star-crossed lovers.  You may be thinking it's all been done before, and sounds so familiar that perhaps you may want to pass this one by, but I implore you, don't.  Please don't.  This book is so much more than readers can imagine from the jacket copy.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone is the magical story of seventeen-year-old Karou, an orphan with a yearning for love and a  “normal” life.  Raised by Brimstone in his secret shop in Prague, she knows nothing of her origins.  She travels through portals gathering teeth for him for reasons he won't reveal. Often she feels she should be doing something else, be someone else.   While running an errand in Djemma El Fna, the marketplace in Marrakech, the powerful seraph, Akiva, glimpses her, and suddenly her life is in danger.  Who is Akiva, and why does he want to kill her?

                                                                             Karou by Jim DiBartolo

Karou is a sympathetic character; we can relate to her immediately.  Terrible ex-boyfriends have a way of doing that, but she doesn’t lose herself in her heartache.  She’s strong, intelligent, and a little vindictive, but who can blame her?  Zuzana, Karou’s best friend, is the perfect funny sidekick.  It was easy to lose myself in this book because it’s beautifully written, and the characters leap off the page.  It's a riveting page turner. Oh, and Thiago… the most villainous of villains.  Taylor definitely knew how to make us hate him.

The US book trailer:

From the first paragraph of Daughter of Smoke and Bone, I knew I was in good hands.  The story flows gracefully like a lover’s dance between author and reader, as Taylor leads us into Karou’s mysterious, magical world without a single misstep.  Writing good stories isn’t easy, but she makes it seem easy, effortless.  Her love of writing shows in her beautiful prose, explains her crossover appeal, and is why she’s my favorite author.  Every sentence is meaningful, and the rhythm, and evocative language turns the story into a memorable experience.

“Happiness.  It was the place where passion, with all its dazzle and drumbeat, met something softer:  homecoming and safety and pure sunbeam comfort.  It was all those things, intertwined with the heat and the thrill, and it was as bright within her as a swallowed star.”  (I have never read a better definition of happiness.)

“Karou with her wry smile and crazy imagination…creamy and leggy with long azure hair and the eyes of a silent-movie star.  She moved like a poem and smiled like a sphinx.”

“For the way 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.”

“Ah, Zuzana.” (Oh, Susanna?  I couldn’t help but smile and wonder.)

The UK book trailer is brilliant!  Love.  Love.  Love.

 Daughter of Smoke and Bone is crazy imaginative, extraordinary and smart, and I loved every delicious word of it.  It's not just a story about love and self-discovery, but also about the tragedy of war, of hope when life is tragic, and the strength to fight for what you believe in.  No one writes like  Laini Taylor.  The only problem with the books is that I devoured it.  My eyes couldn't move fast enough when I really wanted to slow down and savor every exquisite sentence.  I rarely say a book is phenomenal, but Taylor's novels are a combination of everything I look for in a good book: originality, well developed characters and plot, tight writing with beautiful language, believable actions and dialogue.  The only book Daughter can be compared to is the author's own Lips Touch Three Times.  Epic love.  Read it while you're waiting for the release date: September 27th.

Young Adult
432 pages
Advanced Readers Copy
Release date:  September 27, 2011
Publisher:  Little, Brown Books for Young Readers


  1. Yay! So excited to read this one. I love a good villain so I'm really looking forward to hating Thiago:)

  2. I'm excited to read this book too! It's on my TBR List and I hope to get a copy as soon as possible :)

    New follower,
    April @Books4juliet

  3. I want this book SO BAD! I LOVE Laini Taylor and I'm sure I'll be devouring this one the very second I get it in my hands. She just has a way with words that is just amazing. I've met Laini and I'm sure will go to her signing for this book if she has one (she's local to me) so I'm hoping I can get it before then! So glad you loved it!

  4. Daughter of Smoke and Bone is the first book in a new(ish) series by Laini Taylor. This is a fantasy story about a teenage girl named Karou, who attends an art school in Prague. She lives a fairly lonely existence. The only people she has in her life to call family are Chimaera, otherwise known as monsters.


Thanks for the feedback. Be well, and happy reading!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Blog Design by Use Your Imagination Designs Lost Atlantis kit by Irene Alexeeva