Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

The Daughter of Smoke and Bone
by Laini Taylor

Summary: 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?
[Note: That's the UK cover, it's gorgeous in person. I'm really not a fan of the US cover at all.]

So I really liked this book, but I can't think of a lot to say about it and most of what I can think of to seems more negative than positive, so I'll start by saying I'd rate the book about 4 out of 5 stars.

The characters...I liked them a lot. Karou was a great protagonist; she's fierce and funny, and I liked Akiva and the side characters too - my feelings for them all dimmed a little as soon as I stopped reading though. While reading, it felt like they could make my favourite characters list but in hindsight, not so much. I guess what I mean is, it's one of those stories that was addictive while I was reading it but didn't linger with me once I finished the book.

The romance in the book was sweet and lovely and I was rooting for them. It was kind of Romeo and Juliet insta-love-ish, but not in that annoying way that some stories can be. Any book that can have insta-love and not make me want to toss the book out the window at the first mention of the L-word gets a big gold star from me (metaphorically, of course).

I loved the setting and the worlds in the book, that was probably my favourite part, especially the Prague parts.

The story started out feeling all brand new and original and then there was this big section in the middle that seemed like hundreds of other stories and that was disappointing, then it steered away from that a bit towards the end - but that part of the story felt kind of disjointed from the rest: one half feeling like a quirky urban fantasy and the other half having a more...Narnia/high fantasy feel to it. Parts of it were fast paced and addictive but then there were bits that were kind of a drag to get through. 

I wasn't too fond of the writing. It wasn't bad and did have some quote-able bits and I liked the dialogue; I can definitely see why people would love the writing, but something about it had me sometimes zoning out while reading and then having to go back and reread big chunks because I didn't take any of it in. I can't really pin point what it was that didn't work for me.

It may have been what I mentioned above, about the story feeling kind of disjointed...the writing style seemed to favour the bits of the book nearer the end, very fairytale-esque, but I enjoyed it less in the more urban fantasy settings (plus, I'm not a fan of description-heavy books).

Overall, the book was pretty awesome and hooked me from the start and definitely left me wanting to read more. And, as far as YA fantasy books go, it is one of the more original ones I've read. There's was a lot of hype for this book (which was the reason I read it) and while I do think it did live up to the hype, it didn't quite wow me like it seemed to with other people. 

(Apologies for the sucktastic review, it doesn't do the book justice at all.)


  1. This is a great review! You give a ton of information in it and I love it. :) I know what you mean about books that you adore as you're reading them and then later you can hardly remember why. There are so many reviews I wish I could redo because looking back it really wasn't as great as I thought it was.

    -Jessica @ Chapter Chicks

    1. Yeah, there's probably quite a lot of reviews that I'd do differently if I went back and reviewed them now - I tend to review books pretty soon after finishing them so my thoughts on them don't get a chance to...settle, if that makes sense. =/

  2. I think I can understand your feelings. Like, I thought Daughter of Smoke and Bone was one of the best books I read in 2011, I get why someone would say this is NOT the best book ever, or sure her writing style is great but NOT my favorite. So even though your review isn't one long gush fest, I totally get your feelings.

  3. it was good, but I wish it had been kept more small-scale, because the strongest parts of the story were those that dealt with the characters' daily lives, relationships and questions. In the end I think some will love this book and others will be lukewarm towards it. It is quite a matter of taste, but going into it, you should be ready for a pretty drastic change in tone and story halfway through.

  4. great review, i especially like how how you explored the good and bad parts parts of the book, I might actually give it a try. For my weekly dose of book reviews I normally listen to The Book Report, which is where I first heard about this one, give it a try (



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