Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor


Title: Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Author: Laini Taylor

Publishing Information: September 27, 2011 by Little Brown Books for Young Readers

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance

Series information: Book 1 in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series

Format: Hardcover, 424 pages

Source: Borrowed from my local library

Recommended For: Readers looking for a beautiful novel of love and redemption.


Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love.

It did not end well.

I have been struggling with this review for days. Not because it wasn’t awesome, it totally was, but because I fear that by raving about the sheer amazingness of this book I will spoil some extremely important and mysterious plot lines. I have decided to provide the summary from Goodreads so you can get the gist of what the novel is about and then I will do my best to explain just why this book was SO SO SO good without any spoilers.

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?

How good does that sound? Let me just tell you, that summary? NOT EVEN CLOSE TO HOW AWESOMELY LAYERED THIS BOOK IS!! The book starts off and you’re thinking okay so this is some supernatural love story about a “devil” and an “angel” who fall in love. Ohh if only…let’s delve right in.

First, the plot of the story was near perfect. I absolutely gave up sleep to read this book because I had actual need to find out what happened next. As I said before, it is nearly impossible for me to say what I loved about the plot without giving away too much. Just know it had politics (the good kind), hate, jealousy, rage and all forms of love. As the story progresses you see how the past and present come together and my heart was literally breaking at more than one point. I had to read the last few pages multiple times because I could feel the overwhelming feelings Karou must be feeling as she discovered the truth. At first I had a hard time with the love between the two characters because it was so instant and “I have to know her” on Akiva’s part that it paralleled so many other paranormal romance novels out there. However, as the plot unfolds you realize there are serious reasons as to why this love is so instant, and so overwhelming.

Second, the characters are so great and so layered with their pasts that intertwine and they make you love every flaw, scar and tear. Karou was this strong female character who starts off as a (somewhat) typical teenager attending art school and going on frequent errands for her adopted family who just happen to be of a secret race of Chimera. Her world is suddenly torn apart and instead of acting like an immature teenager saying boo hoo how do I handle this she takes her problems head on and finds ways to act and move toward her goal. Then there is Akiva, the Seraphim who is of course, unbelievably gorgeous while also brooding and overly dramatic. In time the reader finds out why he is so brooding and I can understand his reasoning so I can’t blame him for being that way and I still kinda love him a lot. I loved Brimstone, and the rest of Karou’s “family” and Madrigal, who I can’t say too much about, was also a very strong and near perfect character.

Finally, the brilliance in Laini Taylor’s writing is found in how lyrical her words are…

Karou right after she sees Akiva for the first time:

“Into kohl-rimmed eyes in a sun-bronzed face. Fire-colored eyes with a charge like sparks that seared a path through the air and kindles it. It gave Karou a jolt – no mere startle but a chain reaction that lashed through her body with a rush of adrenaline. Her limbs came into the lightness and power of sudden awakening, fight or flight, chemical and wild.

Who? She thought, her mind racing to catch up to the fervor in her body.

And: What?

Chapter 44:

Rushing, like wind through a door, and Karou was the door, and the wind was coming home, and she was also the wind.
She was all: wind and home and door.
She rushed into herself and was filled.
She let herself in and was full.
She closed again. The wind settles. It was as simple as that.

She was whole.”

Ahhhh how is it that this author can write the simplest sentence and still make me want to scream and laugh and cry?! This book was just pure awesome, I am literally recommending it to everyone that comes into my library. When they ask: “Do you have it here?” I say “Yes, but it’s checked out. Go buy it, seriously.” That is how good this book is. I hugged it when I finished, I went back and re-read random parts. I obsessed over Laini Taylor’s website and I NEED it to be time for the sequel now please!

In a nutshell: Go read this book right now, and you’re welcome.

Once upon a time, there were two moons, who were sisters.
Nitid was the goddess of tears and life, and the sky was hers.
No one worshipped Ellai but secret lovers.

6 thoughts on “Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

  1. YES! I was so so happy when you read this because I too was in absolute love with this book. It is so lyrically crafted, and just downright awesome. I want to speak all those languages and live in Prague and grow blue hair! And that doesn't even scratch the surface of the story, which is so creative it's astounding.

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