Monday, 12 May 2014

Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (#1 in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series)
Format: Paperback
Published by Hodder & Stoughton on 29th September 2011 (first published 27th September 2011)
Pages: 418
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Add on Goodreads
Errand requiring immediate attention. Come.

The note was on vellum, pierced by the talons of the almost-crow that delivered it. Karou read the message. 'He never says please', she sighed, but she gathered up her things. When Brimstone called, she always came.

In general, Karou has managed to keep her two lives in balance. On the one hand, she's a seventeen-year-old art student in Prague; on the other, errand-girl to a monstrous creature who is the closest thing she has to family. Raised half in our world, half in 'Elsewhere', she has never understood Brimstone's dark work - buying teeth from hunters and murderers - nor how she came into his keeping. She is a secret even to herself, plagued by the sensation that she isn't whole.

Now the doors to Elsewhere are closing, and Karou must choose between the safety of her human life and the dangers of a war-ravaged world that may hold the answers she has always sought.
Oh my god, this darling, beautiful, upsettingly lovely book, how do I even begin to talk about it?

Daughter of Smoke and Bone is a story about family and love, about war and pain and hatred. It's a story about magic, but most of all it's a story about hope – hope that is stronger than any magic.

I could give this book all the stars in the world and it still wouldn't quite express how much I was just enthralled, held tight in the sweet embrace of this gorgeous book for one delightful afternoon. I cried, I laughed, I melted.

It's taking every last drop of my self-control not to drop everything and read the sequel immediately.

I'd read about all the hype for this trilogy. I'd heard that it would be good. But I just wasn't expecting this.

This: this lush and evocative writing style, this richly imaginative world. The prose in this book! I could kiss this prose. The language, the word choice... achingly beautiful. Every word is full of splendour and worth lingering upon. I want to go to sleep caressed by a blanket of this prose. It's just SO GOOD.

The plot was, admittedly, predictable. But the story is just so wonderfully fleshed-out that I don't care if I saw what was coming all along. I just luxuriated in the journey, in getting to know the characters, Karou above all. Karou and the mystery of her origin. Karou and her family of kind monsters. Karou and her talent for art, her deadly self-defence skills, her wonderfully funny and supportive friend Zuzana, her arrogant ex-boyfriend Kaz. Karou and her emptiness, her longing, her capacity for hope and love.

Karou and Akiva, the angel with wings of fire and eyes of molten gold.

I have to say, when you reduce the story of their love to a simple outline, it sounds clichéd and worn. I'd be sceptical too. It's very insta-love and almost Twilight-esque in bits. He kind of follows her around for a bit and then watches her sleep. But the book wove for me so perfectly the tapestry of their feelings for each other that I just fell hopelessly for the two of them and the powerful connection that they felt – astral, as the book describes it at one point. Their astral connection.

I was simply left breathless by the heat between them, and as their story unfolded and Karou began to discover who she really was, I was entranced. I hurt for them and cried for them.

Honestly, I was just so dazzled and carried away by the prose and the love story between Karou and Akiva that I can't think of anything negative to say about this book at all. I loved it with my whole heart, and I will read the sequel very soon, I think. I do not have the power within me to resist for long.


  1. I'm glad you enjoyed the book despite it being predictable. Will be reading the book soon! Great review!

  2. I hope you enjoy it! I just really fell for this particular brand of prose; it's so dream-like and atmospheric. This author could write anything as long as it's in this writing style and I'd read it.

  3. Now I'm really excited to read the book! Hope you will be reading the sequel soon. Will be keeping a lookout for your review!

  4. Ok granted you rated it five stars but hey your comparison to Twilight kind of scares me haha. I still just bought the whole set!

  5. PS - I crochet too! I adore crochet amigurumi! What other little critters do you make? do you instagram? I put some of the ones I make up there.

  6. I didn't make my jellyfish, sadly! There's a link to the Etsy shop which my boyfriend got them from on my About Me page, so I give credit where credit's due. I love amigurumi so much, I just look at cute ones on Etsy all the time and yearn to buy them all, but I think I would probably be terrible at crochet myself, since the one time I tried knitting was disastrous.

    It's been aaaaaages since I read Twilight but I mean, the whole "watching her sleep" thing just stood out to me, I guess. But it's much better written than Twilight. God, the language in this book makes me swoon. And the insta-love sort of has a reasonable explanation. Sort of. Also Karou can take care of herself a lot better than Bella can. It's good, I promise! I hope you enjoy it.

  7. Oooh, I checked out your instagram. The amigurumi you make are adorable! I love the mermaid one. So pretty! (:

  8. I put Daughter of Smoke and Bone on my "maybe, someday" list about forever ago (since everyone loves to talk about how much they LOVE this series) but I'm still not sold... That following her around thing does sound very Twilight-esque (though I didn't mind that at the time). But honestly, my biggest worry is that I rarely enjoy YA fantasy. Great review, though! You've managed to nudge me a bit closer to put this book on my actual tbr :)

  9. I know, right? All the hype! I was so worried I would be disappointed, but I really wasn't at all. In fact it exceeded my expectations.

    You rarely enjoy YA fantasy? o: Why is that, do you think? I practically live for YA fantasy, it's definitely my favourite subgenre within YA, so it really surprises me to hear that!

  10. I don't know? I do like urban fantasy a lot, but real fantasy (high fantasy) is just not my cup of tea. I'm more of a contempory kind of girl :) I did enjoy Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings (though that's not YA) and am a huge fan of Game of Thrones (the tv show) but other than those? I just can't seem care for them...

  11. Ah, well. Daughter of Smoke and Bone is pretty urban fantasy, so. (I mean, it takes place half in our world and half not, and when it does take place in our world, it's very much set in interesting cities like Prague and Marrakech.) You might enjoy it!

  12. Beautiful, beautiful review! Oh, my love for Karou and Akiva - and this trilogy - knows no bounds! But just you wait until you read the next book, and then the next! This book focuses mostly on those two, but it gets SO MUCH BIGGER in the next book, that their love becomes one element of many! MANY! But that doesn't diminish their story in any way, it just gives more for us to fall in love with! Just you wait! :D I so wish I was you right now :D

  13. Ahhhhhh. I've got so many other books to read, what with my MHAM schedule and the ARCs I downloaded, it looks like I won't be getting round to the sequel until at least next month, but I lent the first book to my friend two weeks ago and she's now already read the second book BEFORE I HAVE. >:( I wanna read the sequel now, dammit. I'M SO EXCITED FOR IT.

  14. Oooh, it will be well worth the wait! :D


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...