Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Book Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

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?

Before I started reviewing I always thought writing about books I hated would be harder than writing about books I loved.  But to my surprise I found that it was the other way round.  Writing about why I disliked something turned out to be relatively easy.  I can rant and rage and write down exactly why I didn’t like it.  But putting into words how I feel about a book I really loved is difficult because I know that no matter what I write it will never do the book or the feelings that book invoked in me justice.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone is one of those books; it moved me, engaged me and threw me head first into a world full of magic.  I do not stand a chance of conveying to you how much I loved and adored this book, but I am going to try.

The storyline was original and interesting, it was set in the modern day but there was a dark gothicness to it that made if fell more like historical fiction then modern fiction, but that worked really well.  What helps is Lani Taylors writing, which does have its faults but I found it mostly rich and creative.  The atmosphere this book creates is one of its highlights and I loved that it took a darker route instead of the lightness most YA books take.  The world building is impeccable and I could envision everything in perfect detail.

Taylor also managed to create characters that were diverse, interesting and individual.  I was able to identify with Karou immediately.  She was different and likeable.  I also loved Akiva, he wears his heart on his sleeve and does the right thing even though he knows it will cause him unbearable heartache.   The romance between them was spellbinding; I loved them together even if it was angsty, which normally I hate.

The only fault I have is that the last quarter is not as free flowing and interesting as the rest, with exception to the last chapter/few pages which made me want to throw the book at a wall and sob into my pillow, somehow I resisted, instead I just sat there once I was finished in awe. 

Daughter of Smoke and Bone is frankly one of the richest and most exciting YA books I have ever read, it was outstanding and if you have not read it yet, please do, I hope you love it as much as I did.

5 stars

Published August 5th 2012 by Hodder Paperback in the UK & September 27th 2011 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers in the US.  A free copy was provided for review. Image courtesy of Goodreads

Review by Kate Phillips


  1. I think amazing books and 'crap' ones are hard to review. I have her debut and need to read before I move on to her newest, but glad she has been a successful new author.

  2. Definitely agree that it's easier to write reviews when you can point out what didn't work rather than why you loved it so much. Hope you get the second book soon to enjoy!

  3. I haven't read this book yet, but I know I need to. All I ever see is stuff about how amazing it is. I completely agree that it's more difficult to write about books you love than books you don't. It much easier to pick out faults than perfections. Great review!

  4. I like that cover..I've not seen it before. Great book, great review!

  5. OOOOh I haven't seen this cover! I likey mucho!!
    This is one of my favorite books EVA! I love seeing other people like it too! And I totally agree with you, harder to write review for books I love then books I hate.


Thank you for commenting!