Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Goodreads: Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1

Summary:  Karou is an art student in the city of Prague whose friends have no idea that the half-human half-creature drawings in her sketchbook are real.  But Karou has no idea who her parents are, only that she was raised by Brimstone, a “monster” who collects teeth in exchange for granting wishes.  Her two worlds collide when black handprints begin to appear on all the portal doors that lead to Brimstone’s shop and a mysterious, captivating seraph begins asking her all the questions to which she does not know the answers.

Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone is a wildly imaginative and original tale, a refreshing find amid all the young adult fantasy.  Taylor plays with the current popularity of mythical creatures, reinventing angels and demons and the never-ending war between them, and sends them on a journey across our world and back to their own—which looks nothing like you think it does.  Her writing brings to life a vivid picture of love, loss, and magic like no other story currently on the young adult market.

The characters, too, are far from cliché.  Karou is a blue-haired art student (not another book-loving protagonist!) who is fiercely independent but still longing to uncover her past.  Her friend Zusana is small, feisty, and amazingly loyal.  Her family is a group of chimaera who are part animal, part human, and completely mysterious.

There is also Akiva, a angel who was bred for war but dreams of peace between his people and the demons.  He is a pretty good love interest, a combination of  strength, protectiveness, and romance who seems an excellent match for Karou.  Unfortunately, the two suffer from a case of love at first, and although there is an explanation for this later in the book, it is not entirely convincing.  Readers will probably be able to overlook it, however, as Akiva and Karou do work together and eventually develop a relationship with substance.

The book also includes a fairly lengthy flashback, which is a beautiful story in both content and style and is just as engaging as the main story.  The information included is also essential to the plot, but readers who are not fond of flashbacks should be forewarned.  The characters do react to the flashback once it concludes, which helps tie it nicely into the book instead of being awkwardly isolated.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone deserves the majority of praise it has received.  Readers who enjoy fantasy and want something creative and readers who like paranormal romance and want a book with substance should pick it up.

Published: September 2011

4 thoughts on “Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

  1. The Drifting Bookworm. says:

    All right, all right, I bite, ha ha! I will read that book. I’ve been seeing endless amounts of reviews popping up and they’re mostly very positive. Also, in regards to “Matched”… a lot of people’s critique comes from the bland narration. I took it as a sign of her brainwashing. She was raised to NOT be revolutionary, to NOT be bold, so of course her thoughts (for the most part) shouldn’t be. She is an unreliable narrator. I think if you think of her like that, you’ll enjoy it. 🙂


    • Briana says:

      I wasn’t quite as thrilled with the romance as some reviewers, but it deserves all the praise it’s getting for originality.

      That’s an interesting thought that I’ll have to keep in mind, Right now it looks as if I’ll be putting Matched off until summer. I did join a dystopian reading challenge, however, and it’s on my theoretical list.


  2. Kelly House says:

    Thanks for the review! Glad to see another positive one. I bought the book shortly after hearing about it on my favorite show The Book Report. I have only read a few pages so far, hoping to have more time to read later in the week. Go to http://www.bookreportradio.com to have a listen, I find it useful when creating my monthly reading list.


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