Review: Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor

Title: Daughter of Smoke & Bone
Author: Laini Taylor
Publish Date: Sept 27, 2011
Pages: 418 pages, hardcover
Reviewed by: ISALYS
Reason for reading: Given as a RAK gift :)
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?
Have you ever read a book that you loved so much, that had you so entranced and so completely emotionally invested that when you were done you felt like you were struck stupid because you had no idea how to put into words how incredible the book was?  Well, that is DAUGHTER OF SMOKE & BONE for me.  I can't even attempt to write a cohesive review that includes words other than 'awesome' and 'favorite' because truth is that even though it's only the beginning of 2012, I know that this is going to be one of my favorite books of the year!

Laini Taylor is an artist of words and DAUGHTER OF SMOKE & BONE was utterly captivating!  Set in Prague, it's the story of Karou, an extraordinary girl who straddles the line between two worlds not knowing how she fits into either. Believing she was orphaned, she was raised by Brimstone, a chimera (demon) who has fulfilled the role of father-figure in her life. Never explaining who or where she really came from, Karou's life and existence have been a mystery to her.  She has lived a mostly ordinary life which includes the fickle, annoying ex-boyfriend and the hilarious best friend, Zuzanna.  During one of her mysterious trips, she encounters the beautiful Akiva who is one of the seraphim (angels) responsible for the scorch marks left on the doors that separate her two worlds.  Quiet, haunted Akiva cannot bring himself to kill or even hate the girl who by all accounts should be his enemy.  Thus begins a complicated but beautifully choreographed dance that alternates between good and evil, love and hate, familiarity and confusion.

This book does not follow a linear timeline, but rather does a backflip between the first and second half.  The first half of the book is spent getting to know Karou and her band of misfit, but kind demon pals as well as her BFF whose snarky commentary amused me to no end.   The second half of the book, however, you get to know Akiva and his trials and the story of the one he lost his heart to.  It's a bit "Pulp Fiction-esque" in that the second half provides the backstory for who Karou is and how she came to be. The only challenge for me as a reader is that I found myself missing Karou and wanting to go back to her POV.  Once I finished though, I was able to much better appreciate why Laini felt that Karou's story needed to be told that way.

With this story, Laini Taylor gives us some lyrical quotes, a varied and fascinating cast of characters, a setting so lifelike it's like you're really seeing it through Karou's eyes, incredible world building, laugh out loud humor, mystery, and war all topped off with an intense and heart-wrenching story of star-crossed lovers.
“Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love.
It did not end well.”


  1. I actually picked this book up at the library and it is sitting on a corner of my desk to be read after I get through my current reads, but after reading you review, I might just jump straight to it now and play catch up later ;P

  2. Smoke and Bone is one of my favorite books. Happy you loved it too.

  3. So many people really love this one. I know I'm going to have to pick my copy up off my shelf soon.

    I'm so glad you fell in love with this one and I love that quote!

    Thanks for the great review

  4. Loved this book! Hate the cover LOL! It was a book that I kept thinking about long after I finished it.

  5. Fabulous review Isa! I loved this book too. I can't believe I waited so long to read it. Laini Taylor is fantastic. I am listening to Lips Touch Three Times, which is an older book of hers, and it's just as captivating.

  6. This book was already on my wishlist, but, WoW, your review makes me want to go out and buy it right now! Sounds like an amazing story, one that will be re-read a lot too! Thanks!

  7. Gah!! I've heard such AMAAAZING things about this books... I'm such a #BrunetteFail for not reading it yet!

    Shhhhyea I just used a hashtag!

  8. I've heard many good things about this book. Your review has made even more that I want to read it ;)

  9. I SO need to get reading this one! Seriously! I have a copy... And it keeps CALLING to me (mostly b/c you and Shannon both loved it so much) I will get to it sometime! Hopefully soon!! :/

  10. Ay yi yi yi yi... I have this in my bookbag right now and I'm almost scared to read it b/c the reviews (like yours!) are just so full of gushing LOVE! How can it possibly live up to the hype??

  11. Every time I visit a new book blog, I search for the review (if any, ::crossing fingers that they do::) of DoS&B! I think you did the book great justice in your review! I LOVE LOVE LOVED this book and as difficult as it is to describe, you did an amazing job! : ) I'm new to the world of book blogging, recently got back into the habit of reading and only just learned about YA with DoS&B! Laini Taylor is an author I'll read no matter what! Also loved Days of Blood & Starlight! Thanks for this great review! : )


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