Review: Daughter of Smoke & Bone

15 February, 2013 / 16 Comments

book review

Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #1) by Laini Taylor

My Copy: Paperback, 418 pages
Publication Date: September 27, 2011
Publisher: Little, Brown
Source: Purchased

She had been innocent once, a little girl playing with feathers on the floor of a devil’s lair. She wasn’t innocent now . . . .


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 grows dangerously low.
And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war.
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My Review

Okay, so I know that I’m a little late on reading this fantastic book.  And there have been so many rave reviews about it already…well, here’s another one!  First, I want to talk about the writing of Laini Taylor.  The first word that comes to my mind when thinking about her writing is: beautiful.  Taylor has this certain way of writing, and a uniqueness in the way she writes that makes it wonderful to read her words.  Her descriptions are beautiful and wondrous.  You know, I’ve read reviews before where the reviewer used the term “lyrical” to describe an author’s writing style and I never truly understood what exactly was meant by that.  I thought, how could a book’s writing style be lyrical?  What does that even mean in a book?  But, now I understand.  Because Taylor’s words are just that, lyrical and beautiful and wondrous to the point that it makes any writer (or anyone who has ever dreamed of becoming a writer) totally and completely jealous.

The story is unique, creative, dark and light, mysterious, and captivating.  It’s about a girl, named Karou, who does secret work for the man/creature who raised her.  She doesn’t know who she is; she doesn’t even know 100% who/what they — the people who raised her — are.  One day, she meets an angel named Akiva.  This angel is the most beautiful boy she has ever seen and he turns her whole world upside down…but, not necessarily in a good way.  The reader is taken through a mysterious journey in order to find out who these characters really are and what exactly happened to make them who they are today.

The characters of Karou and Akiva are lovely characters whom I adore.  Oh, and I love their names!  Just say them: Karou and Akiva… Aren’t they just awesomely awesome names?  I think so.  Anyway, both Karou and Akiva are very well-developed and interesting and memorable.  I loved them both.  Karou is strong, yet vulnerable in certain ways.  She doesn’t know anything about her past, where she came from, or how she came to be raised by these creatures.  Akiva is beautiful and mysterious, and he happens to know the secrets to Karou’s past…but how long will he wait before revealing them to her?

Now, I loved these characters…but I’m not sure that I really bought the love story between them.  It felt too insta-love for me and I just didn’t really get it.  I actually preferred the past love story to the current one.  I’m hoping I will hop on board more with their relationship in the second book (which I also own now, thanks to my wonderful husband!).

Overall, I really enjoyed this novel.  My favourite part was the writing and my least favourite was the relationship between Karou and Akiva (which is disappointing because I love a good love story).  But, it was a very good read.  It’s also told in third person narration, which I usually don’t enjoy as much as this.  I found it easier to connect with the main character in this story than most other third person narratives.  So, if you are like me and don’t normally like third person, I would still recommend this one to you!  Oh, I also loved how this novel incorporated a touch of fairytale-like elements within.

Once upon a time, a little girl was raised by monsters. 
But angels burned the doorways to their world, and she was all alone.  

So, I would definitely recommend this book!  To everyone!  🙂  Oh, and I loved this too:

Love is an element . . .
Like air to breathe, earth to stand on.

4_5 stars blue

A Peek Inside:
Enemy. Enemy. Enemy. The knowledge pounded
through her on the rhythm of her heartbeat: the
fire-eyed stranger was the enemy. His face — oh,
beauty, he was perfect, he was mythic — was
absolutely cold. She was caught between the urge
to flee and the fear of turning her back on him.

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Posted 15 February, 2013 by Sam in Book Reviews, Books / 16 CommentsTags: , , , , ,

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16 Responses to “Review: Daughter of Smoke & Bone”

  1. I’m with you on the insta-love! It did feel too forced and I never really managed to believe in it, even when Karou’s past was revealed. To be fair, Madrigal and Akiva’s love story felt almost equally not-quite-convincing-enough. That was the only thing that I didn’t like about the novel, everything else was really good and I enjoyed the world-building and Taylor’s writing. I was also very relived that it was written in third person – I find first-person narratives extremely off-putting and they make all the MCs sound the same to me. Each to their own, I guess ^_^

    • Each to their own indeed. I get what you’re saying about third person, but I still prefer first. Yes, everything else was super good other than the romance aspects. Taylor’s writing is just so great! Glad you agree on that (otherwise I might have to argue with you — haha)

  2. I loved this book and its sequel but it was so heartbreaking at points. I agree, the writing was beautiful and the world building was so good I could almost imagine myself there. Loved it 😀

  3. Suz

    I loved this book too! I agree with you that the author’s descriptions are wonderful and really made the story come alive. I also thought the story idea was so original! I can’t wait to read Days of Blood & Starlight!

  4. Third-person narration seems to be a rarity in today’s young adult books; it was refreshing!

    I, too, came to this book rather late (I only read it in the last few months). But it was so good, I wish I had read it sooner!

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