Saturday, July 5, 2014

Review ~ Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor

Series: Daughter of Smoke & Bone #1
Genre: YA fantasy
Pages: 424
Publication date: September 27th, 2011
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Goodreads Description: 

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 hairactually 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 beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery 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?
Source: purchased

Daughter of Smoke and Bone was . . . interesting. I have mixed feelings--there were parts I really liked, parts I thought were uninteresting, and parts I was quite intrigued by--but the writing and the concepts convinced me that this was a very, very good book.

I DNFed this the first time I tried it. There's just a part halfway through the book where I just felt bored. It was a little after Akiva and Karou meet and it's like . . . it's like some of the story's magic was lost. I wasn't very interested in what had been going on at that time, and I wasn't anymore interested the second time through. However, both before and after that point, the story was fascinating!

Laini Taylor's writing is beautiful. Her descriptions were vivid and the world she created was so wonderful and magical and unique and I just LOVED it.
"It was cold, and it was dark--in the dead of winter the sun didn't rise until eight--but it was lovely. The falling snow and the early hour conspired to paint Prague ghostly, like a tintype photograph, all silver and haze."
Beautiful, right? Here's another:
"Her thoughts had flown outward, darting and dipping with the hummingbird-moths that flocked by the thousands to the lanterns hanging overhead, as she wondered, with a wild timpani heart, where her angel had gone."
The concepts of the seraph, the chimaera, the teeth, the wishes--everything--were incredibly creative and done so well. The setting, the characters, the weapons, the mythology, the romance gave the story a certain richness that has the ability to captivate a reader. Yet, at the same time, it had a very grimy feel to it. Grimy in a very "smoke and bone" sort of way. This quote captures that feel well:
"Prague entranced you, lured you in, like the mythic fey who trick travelers deep into forests until they're lost beyond hope."
Karou was an awesome heroine. At least, most of the way. Towards the end, she didn't seem to have that same Karou attitude as she had before she met Akiva. She was funny, mysterious, and had some seriously cool blue hair.
"'I don't know your customs, but here, if you don't want to frighten someone, you don't go looming over their sleeping body with knives.'"
Akiva was okay. He was very serious and romantic, but also a bit on the boring side. I'm hoping he impresses me more in the sequel. I'm also hoping to see him with more imperfections. He had a couple, but mostly he was too beautiful and perfect for my taste.

Zuzana was an entertaining best friend! I want to see more from her because I always liked the scenes she was in.
"She was fierce, ready to scold, but when she saw him, she faltered. Her expression warred with itself--ferocity with awe--and awe won out. She cast a sidelong glance and Karou and said, in helpless amazement, 'Oh, hell. Must. Mate. Immediately.'"
Now, for the not-so-good. This book was soooo sloooow. While I loved the world, the writing, and concepts, they did weigh down the pace for me. There was a lot of details to soak in and, as I said before, there was a portion of the book that bored me. I trudged through that part. The last 20-ish percent went much quicker because the story (the Madrigal parts) got really interesting. That part and the first section, before Karou meets Akiva, were my favorite parts. They're the ones that interested me the most.

The ending made me very curious about what happens next in the story. I have questions that need answers!

Overall, I definitely liked this book. It was a pretty different and, for the most part, quite fascinating read and I'm glad that I gave it another try. I'll be reading the second one, for sure! If you're looking for book with incredible writing and with unique concepts, this is the one for you to read.

What do you think of those quotes?


  1. I absolutely adored this book!! I'm glad to hear that you gave it a second chance and even some parts were a lil boring to you, you enjoyed the book after all!!

  2. I agree with you! As soon as Karou meets Akiva, it felt like the tone of the story somehow shifted, and Karou didn’t seem as intriguing anymore as she did before. I had to put the book down for a couple of weeks after reaching that part. But I absolutely love the idea with the teeth, the dark and mysterious setting in Prague and the writing style.

    I think I read DoSaB at the end of 2012, but I still haven’t picked up the second book because I was a bit sceptic of the second part of the book ... But I’m hoping to get around to it later this year!

    1. It's such a shame that happens after they meet. :( She didn't seem the same after that point!

      I hope to get around to the sequel later this year too. :)

  3. I absolutely agree with you. Karou lost a lot of her spark when she met Akiva which is one of the reasons why I didn't love this book like everyone else did. To me, this book was gorgeous but at the same time both Akiva and Karou failed to impress me which was the biggest downfall of this book for me as a reader. I didn't have the same problems as you did with Akiva but for me, I hated some of the things he did which was why I refused to wrap my head around him as a love interest. I was so angry and disappointed in him after finishing the book but as more time has passed, I've come to peace with his actions which is why I want to give this series another shot.

    I am glad that on your second try you managed to enjoy if not love it.

    Fantastic review, Kaitlin!! :)

    Rashika @ The Social Potato

    1. I was a bit disappointed with Akiva after finishing the book too. His decisions definitely didn't make him look good.

      Thank you!

  4. The first time I read this book I wasn't very into the book at all and just got really bored when it got to the Madrigal bits. I gave it a second chance though and I absolutely adored it enough to devour the second and third book.

    And let me just say, while DoSaB is beautiful, Days of Blood and Starlight gets a whole shift in tone. DoSaB really sets up the rest of the series. I hope you do read and enjoy Days of Blood and Starlight!

    Ri @ Hiver et Cafe

    1. I hope I enjoy it too! I'm very curious about the sequel.

  5. I'm definitely going to have to reread this book (and series). When I read it two years ago, it became one of my favorites, but now with all the other interesting reads I've have, I'm not so sure anymore. BUT at least you didn't DNF it this time! I'm glad you enjoyed it!

  6. I absolutely LOVED this book when I read it, but hey I was not expecting THAT to happen near the ending! I also thought the romance took over for a brief period of time, but the writing was absolutely gorgeous. Glad you enjoyed it!

    1. I actually liked it when the romance took over near the end. :D

  7. I was considering buying this, your review just might have convinced me! Love the quotes you picked out, the writing is gorgeous!


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