Book Review: Daughter of Smoke & Bone

Daughter of Smoke & Bone
By Laini Taylor
Published August 26th, 2011
Little, Brown & Company
Author’s Website

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?


This book… I have frequently used the term when talking about Daughter of Smoke & Bone that if a person could have a crush on a book, I would be sending this book love letters soaked in perfume.

Yes, it’s true, I *L-O-V-E* this book. And that is why I have selected it to be my first review.

If you’re a fan of YA fiction (paranormal/romance/horror/fantasy/whatever) even in the least, this is one book that you absolutely *must* read. The words, the prose, at times it’s like a master storyteller is weaving their spell with words. The environments, the emotions each character feels, these are so poetically brought to life. Some would consider this “overwriting”, I just consider it an opportunity to become even more immersed with the world and the characters.

Plot: 10
To say too much about the plot would only spoil the surprises in store for you, but dare I say, it is like nothing you have read before! Monsters, devils, angels, larger than life marionettes, oh my! And it’s all set in modern day Prague and other worlds unknown… Can you jut imagine the possibilities?

Characters: 10
What can I say about the characters? I fell in love with the lead, Karou, right off the bat. Probably b/c I can relate to her as a person, but also because she really is a very likeable and unique character, as well. Very well written and developed, especially as the story progresses. I LOVE her snarky humor and the underlying sense that she is wise beyond her years… I love her strong will, in spite of the bitter loneliness she faces everyday. And she has the most adorably fun and oh-so-supportive best friend who gets most of the funny dialogue in the book. Humor in this book comes surprisingly often, sarcastic and wonderfully silly all at the same time. Everything, including the characters and humor, blends well with the other-worldly feel of the environment. I also felt the pull of wonder toward the character, Akiva, when he makes his eventual entrance into the story. To say more about him will spoil it. But I will say this: He is totally swoon worthy. (And it takes mucho to make ME swoon.)

Setting: 9
Praque… Doors that take the reader to another land entirely… Laini has a way of making you feel as though you are inside the story. You can envision her every setting as if you were there yourself. She is quite the descriptive narrator.

Pacing:  9
The pacing. I loved it, as is explained below with regard to Laini’s writing style. Some people may be turned off by the beginning, as it almost feels just like any other YA novel as the characters are introduced and Karou goes on and on about her (ex) boyfriend… But then certain details are revealed about the main character, bit by bit…

Style: 10
I love how the telling of the story feels as though the author, Laini Taylor, is unveiling things in layers. It is a complex story in the end, but you begin with only the most general bits of information. Then, 50 pages in, you discover a bit more, and another 100 pages later more of the world is revealed, until eventually you find that you have become immersed in a world so intricately designed that you feel as though, in the end, there couldn’t *possibly* be more to discover…

Oh, but it is also BECAUSE of the ending that you KNOW there is more… much, MUCH more! THAT ENDING!!! Oh my goodness. Brilliant. Beautiful… AND SO IRRITATING that I cannot read more NOW!

Grade: 98


About Jenna (Does Books)

Working momma of a little pink princess and reader of all things YA. I'm an artist, writer and avid reader who swears that she's having a hard time letting go of the childish things... Let me read your latest YA book and let's see if it makes the grade!

Posted on January 6, 2012, in Book Review, Five Star and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. This book is one of my favorites along with the Tiger Series. Holy cow yes the end left me wanting more NOW. Great review for those that have not read it. I felt the same way about the book. Can’t wait for the next installment in the series.

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