Monday, November 12, 2012

Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Title: Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1)
Author: Laini Taylor
Published: September 27th 2011
Add It: Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository

Around the world, black hand prints 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 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?

Daughter of Smoke and Bone is an absolutely incredible fantasy novel with unique plot and writing. It captivated me from the very first sentence and held my attention until the very last one. Words "to be continued..." have never been so frustrating for me to read. Also, have you seen the cover? It's absolutely stunning. That alone is enough for this book to have a secure place on my bookshelf.

“Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love. 
It did not end well.” 

The plot. The best things about this novel were the world creation and writing style. I feel like Taylor has built a very unique world which definitely stands out among other angel-demon books. I’m not usually the one to be all excited about too much description, I’m more egaer to read wicked and great dialogue, but this book was written so uniquely that it didn’t bother or tire me at all. I was intrigued by the fact that our heroine was brought up by demons, therefore, angels really seem like enemies at first sight, but over the time we see that everything isn’t as black and white as we thought. Their history is painted bloodred by betrayals, death and war. What I found the most fascinating was the society of Chimaera aka the Monsters. It was all so very complex and surprisingly fresh take on demons.

The characters. There were 4 of them who caught my attention as soon as they were introduced.  Karou is strong, independent, compassionate, loyal and sarcastic (which always adds an extra point in my book). Akiva is the other protagonist and when we first meet him, he is blinded by rage and cruelty, but beneath that façade is a beautiful tortured soul, he is strong and been through a lot. Brimstone was such an interesting character and I wish there would have been more of him. I’d like to see a novella of him or something, because this just wasn’t enough. I feel like we didn’t get to see that many shades of his personality and I’m eager to learn more about him as a character. Thiago was probably the one I should've hated the most and I did, sort of, but I’m intrigued by how he got to the point where he became so vicious and vindictive.

One thing that stood out while reading this book were the names of the characters. Like with Peeta and Katniss - you just can't mix them up with characters from other books. Karou and Akiva are the two names I liked the most, they're unique and different. There are enough Noras, Wills, Janes etc so it's quite refreshing to see something new and interesting. Whether you're a fan of these names or not, you must admit there're probably very few books, if at all, with characters named like this.

On the other hand, while I though this book was pure awesomeness, I kind of guessed some of the plot twists. It’s always great to play bingo and see what moves you can guess, but there’s nothing better than a book keeping me on the edge of my seat and surprising me when I least expect it. I figured out the huge reveal about 100 pages before it even happened, therefore, I was a bit disappointed by that.

“Oh, it’s not magic. The wishes don’t really come true.” 
“Then why do it?” She shrugged. 
“Hope? Hope can be a powerful force. Maybe there’s no actual magic in it, but when you know what you hope for most and hold it like a light within you, you can make things happen, almost like magic.”

In the end I was extremely satisfied with the amazingness that is Daughter of Smoke & Bone and I’m eagerly looking forward to receiving my copy of Days of Blood & Starlight which was luckily dispatched last week so it should arrive soon. Yay! So.. Do I recommend? Umm.. Yes! It was definitely something fresh and original and that’s something I always enjoy tremendously.

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Meet the author

Oh, and it's got a beautiful trailer, it's one of the prettiest I've seen where there aren't actors involved, just art and drawings. Simple, yet stunning!


  1. WOO HOO!!!! I so loved this book too, it just blew me away. I can be really dense when I'm reading, so I did not guess any of the plot twists at all, I knew something big was coming but couldn't quite get a grasp on what. You are clearly more observant than me:) I can't wait for Days of Blood and Starlight!

    1. Haha, YAY! I'm always scared to read these famous and huge books that people have enjoyed so much, because even though I understand we can't love all the same books, I'm still afraid I won't end up liking it as much as the others did. Oh, haha. I wouldn't call myself observant, but I do like to predict what happens and see if I'm right. Sometimes I have these CRAZY theories and if they turn out to be right I can be all "told ya sooo!!". I can't either ;)

  2. So happy you loved this one so much. I read it recently too (my review goes up sometime this week) and I just didn't get as into it as you did. I freaking loved the ending though, and what you pointed out about the character's names is so true, they definitely stand out. Fantastic review, Sirtsu!

    1. Well, at least you liked the ending, so maybe you'll end up reading the sequel and love DoB&S. That'd be amazing, because I don't know how I'd give a book with a cover like that a bad rating. My heart would bleed if I had to give 1 or 2 stars, ha. And they do, don't they? I haven't come across names like this in any of the books I've read. Thank you so much, Jenni!

  3. I've been meaning to read this for the longest time, but the blurb has never really interested me. I think I'll read this soon though since you loved it so much - hopefully I don't predict the plot twists like you did... Oh, the names of the characters are really not run-of-the-mill!

    Great review, Sirtsu! I just followed you via GFC, by the way. :)

    Lyra @ Defiantly Deviant

    1. I like to predict some of the plot twists, but in the end I like to be surprised. However, if my crazy-ass theory is somehow right, I'm all excited. This one I saw coming and it wasn't that crazy, I kind of hoped I was wrong with this one.. And if you do end up reading it then I'm very much looking forward to reading your review. Always great to see what others think of the books I like :) Thank you, Lyra!!!! x :)