Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor Book Review

Thursday, August 2, 2012 12:46 AM
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
Release Date: September 27, 2011
417 pages, Daughter of Smoke & Bone #1
Ratings: 5 stars
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble

“Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love. It did not end well.” ― Laini TaylorDaughter of Smoke & Bone

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? (Goodreads)

My Thoughts
I cannot express how much I loved this book! I am not exaggerating in the slightest. I had heard such good things about Daughter of Smoke & Bone, and I was not disappointed. This book was so wildly imaginative, I found myself envying the author for coming up with this story instead of myself. It's one of those books that you read and you think, "Darn, why didn't I write this?" 

The world building left nothing to be desired, and I found Taylor's word choice so brillant and poetic. There was something hauntingly beautiful about every scene Taylor described, from Karou's cozy little flat to another world layered on top of Earth. You journey with Karou to different cities, from Morocco to Paris to Prague, and you get a heady taste of each culture and every place is so alive and magical. Prague especially comes to life with Taylor's words, taking on a otherworldly feel with its castle and hidden cafes and cathedrals. Its vampire tours and narrow streets. I wanted to step into the book and visit Prague, to see what was being described. 

I loved Karou! She was sweet and fiery, strong but so vulnerable when it came to matters of the heart. I sympathized with her heartbreak in the beginning of the book. We've all been there, and her heartache shows a softer side of her, and her wish for companionship and longing for love. It really pains the reader to see her suffering. She is so eccentric and lovely in her oddities. With her tattoos and passion for art, she becomes such an intriguing character. Her creativity was endless! I found her artistic ambition and imagination wonderful! She has so many secrets to reveal, most of them ones she herself doesn't even know. She seems like such a delightful character, searching for happiness and something to fill her emptiness, and the reader wants her to find that fullness and happiness. 

This book offers a friendship that surpasses the friendships of other books. Zuzana is hilarious, and I found myself laughing out loud whenever she talked. She was so outspoken and so little, but amazingly fierce and loyal to Karou. It was so nice to finally see a strong friendship that was touching, especially since she was Karou's only friend. Karou's and Zuzana's banter was amusing, and their conversation was fascinating. I loved some of Zuzana's allusions, such as to Narnia. Her endless questioning and concern was adorable. She was so lovable. 

Akiva was endlessly fascinating. Taylor's description of him seemed fitting for an angel, with his fiery eyes, tattooed knuckles, and scarred skin. He never came off as simply some hot hunk but actually a fierce power to be reckoned with, so devastatingly beautiful it almost hurt to look at him. I found him to be endearing and sweet, but also fearsome and intriguing. He even had moments of hilarity, where he offered a sly comment. He was the perfect romantic interest, and I loved the star-crossed romance that formed between Karou and him. It was so much more than Romeo and Juliet, so intricately layered and magnetic. This book really showed how love and hope carry so much power, but how both are complicated by war and animosity. 

I also have to give Taylor credit for imagining a war that goes beyond the usual battle between devils and angels. Where the seraphim don't match our biblical stories. She wove her own mythology into being, and I loved the storytelling and the other world. The chimaera really made the story because they were so different from any other devils or beasts. It was hard to really define who the enemy or beasts were, making Karou's and Akiva's romance all the more poignant. 

The story unraveled its secrets in such an original way. Flashbacks appeared in unlikely places and I felt Taylor did a fantastic job of moving smoothly between the past and the present, and between different POV's. While I've said before that I was unsure about hearing the story from the romantic interest's POV, I loved hearing Akiva's side of things. It offered a startling view from a seraph, and I found Akiva's thoughts lovely and heartwarming. Plus, it helped the story develop even more, revealing key elements. 

I would recommend this book to any fantasy lovers, or really anyone that wants a fantastic read! This has become one of my favorite books ever and I cannot wait for the sequel, Days of Blood & Starlight, which will be released November 6, 2012.

Too far away for my comfort! But actually not far at all. 

Happy reading, 



  1. Wow. EXCELLENT review! I finally read (and reviewed) Daughter of Smoke and Bone this week, and had such a hard time writing how I felt about it. It's a new favorite and I had no idea how to put my love into words, but you've done so beautifully! I feel I NEED to visit Prague now, and I totally fell in love with Laini Taylor's writing. Can't wait for book 2!

    Randi @ Cardigans, Coffee and Bookmarks

    1. Thank you so much! Yes, this book was so good and I can't wait another day for the sequel. It certainly made me want to visit Prague. She just made it sound magical.

  2. I am a little confused as to what this story is about. But if you gave this 5 stars, then I'll definitely be adding it to my tbr list! Plus the covers are simply gorgeous and I love the idea of reinventing an older sort of mythology.

    1. It's hard to say what it's about without giving away too much of the plot.

  3. Thanks for stopping by My WOW and WW. Great review. Their name are different. Look forward to starting this series. Have a great week.


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