Book Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Daughter of Smoke and Bone
By: Laini Taylor
Release Date: September 2011
432 pages
Buy it on Amazon or IndieBound
Audience: YA
Source: I own it

My thoughts:
I am torn about writing this review. On the one hand, I loved, loved, LOVED the vast majority of this book. The characters are incredible. The high fantasy elements are delicious. The innovation of the conflict is exceptional. This book is so very close to being the best read of my year- and is still in the top 5, easily. . . 

The problem is that, having read both of the Dreamdark books, I had some enormous expectations for this book. And this book is another animal altogether from those, so that's not fair of me. My issue is with one particular decision in plotting, which requires that the action in the present pause so the main character can go back and do pages upon pages of discovery. Hitting the brakes on the plot's momentum was hard for me; I was so very there with the characters, and then time just froze for what seemed like forever. I don't think I've been that frustrated with a book since I first read New Moon.

"But you gave the book four birdies- you must not have hated it," I hear you all saying. Exactly- I didn't hate it at all. I really did love it. See, I wouldn't have had such a strong reaction to that plotting choice if I wasn't so taken in by everything else about the book. Having compared it to New Moon is evidence; I wanted to throw it across the room the first time I read it, but I've gone back and re-read it several times because of what I did love- and I believe I'll do the same with Daughter of Smoke and Bone.

Karou, the main character, is girl power in the flesh. She doesn't need a boy to take care of her; she is perfectly capable of maiming anyone stupid enough to mess with her. At the same time, she can embrace her artistic side. She can have some girl time with her best friend, then go out and kick some supernatural butt. And all of the other characters are just as vibrant and contemporary and interesting. The best of them are tragically flawed, and the worst has his heroic moment.

For me, great character dialogue can sell a mediocre plot. With a great story like this, great dialogue is just gravy on top. It's so fresh and realistic, you could easily hear these conversations on any urban street. Sans the supernatural references, of course.

I truly hope you all give this book a try- because even though I got frustrated, I will be the first in line to pick up book 2 when it becomes available. You see, I was looking for answers, and never found them- because they aren't yet available. Laini Taylor, you'd better be writing book 2 while you're out there on tour!!

Summary from GoodReads:

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?


  1. I'm reading this book right now and I loooooove it so far. I mean, holy crap, talk about original!!

  2. I am getting excited to buy this book! I've heard such good things about it. I loved this review! It gave me some great insight into this book! Thanks for the review.

  3. Thank you both! It really is suuuuch a good book- I want to get it into all my friends' hands!


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