Review: Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #1) - Laini Taylor

Release Date: September 29th, 2011
Published By: Hodder & Stoughton
Pages: 418
Goodreads: Add it to your reading list

Rating: 5 out of 5

Synopsis: “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.

Review: My first review to be posted on Book Nerd Reviews will the Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. Melissa is aware of my passion for Laini’s writing, and since I have publicly declared that I think Laini is a goddess, it seemed like a natural choice. But don’t worry, this was not just an excuse for self-indulgence (but hey, I’ll take it), but Melissa and I thought this would be a good introduction to my likes in books (you will have to find my dislikes in future reviews, there are none here) and to get to know me a little better. Laini is my absolute favourite author, and if I could wish one thing for all of you, it is to find your Laini – to find that one author that truly speaks to your soul.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone is darker than some YA books, but yet, the main message of this book is ‘hope’. The transition from YA to fantasy is flawless, the writing is amazing, and I UTTERLY loved it!

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

Laini has a wonderful story-telling and writing style; she incorporates uncertainty, knowledge, secrecy, strength, weakness, dark, light, happiness, sadness, torture, redemption, fear, hope and unyielding love into every chapter.

The story follows Karou, a young art student living in Prague, where she has a fantastically tiny, funny and loyal best friend, a self-involved ex-boyfriend who just doesn’t get that it’s over and she hangs out at “Poison Kitchen” to enjoy the atmosphere and to delve into her artwork. She seems like a normal teenager all around… If you can ignore the fact that she has peacock blue hair that seems to grow out that colour, her artwork is full of drawings of monsters that she insists - with a smile - are real (and what you should know about Karou, is that she never lies) and she often disappears on “errands” – sometimes for days at a time.

Karou is living two lives, half living in two different worlds, and feels that she doesn’t really belong in either of them. Karou runs “errands” all over the world for Brimstone, her father of sorts, when she is not being a normal teenager. She is devoted to her unique family, but yet, cannot introduce them to her best friend. Other than the obvious issues she faces by half-living in two worlds, Karou feels that she is missing something, but she cannot work out what it is. She wants to find this something, to find out what her mysterious family seem to be hiding from her, but yet at the same time, she desperately wants to be a normal teenager.

Karou seems to be balancing her two worlds nicely, until black handprints start appearing in doorways all around the world, and she meets a beautiful, mysterious and otherworldly stranger named Akiva – the only problem is she unsure if Akiva wants to kill her or if he actually likes her. After meeting Akiva, both her worlds start to unravel, and she has to struggle with her desire to be a normal teenage girl, her love for her family, her desire to find out what she is “missing”, and her growing feelings for the damaged person who scares her the most – Akiva.

As you get to know Akiva, your heart will break for him. He is so full of grief and anguish, he is truly tormented, and yet you cannot help but understand why Karou is so conflicted about her feelings for someone she thinks she shouldn’t trust. He will intrigue you, and his past will devastate you. And as his past and present intertwine, you cannot help but feel his complete and utter helplessness.

As well as dealing with her conflicting feelings for Akiva, Karou is flung situations that she never comprehended could be possible. As her worlds begin to collide, and destruct, Karou becomes determined to find out more about herself, her past, her family and her worlds, but what will happen when she does? And what will be the cost?

Daughter of Smoke and Bone is truly original. Pure magic. Story telling at its best! The words will dance of the pages and the world that Laini has built will float around you and engulf you in its beauty! Here is a world where you will second guess the definition of angels and demons, good and bad, and make you wonder when there is no clear line between right and wrong, who is fighting for what is right?

You really have to read it for yourself to comprehend the awesomeness of this book. It is a devastatingly beautiful treasure hunt as you go along the journey in this magical, exquisite place to find the clues that lead to the mind-blowing ending that will leave you totally devastated but wanting more.

This book INSTANTLY went to the top of my favourite pile! It book pulled me in right from the start. The marvellous descriptions, the beautifully written scenes that were totally mesmerising, a strong female lead who has strengths, weakness, conviction, and is witty, scared, loyal and curious all at the same time. The secondary characters are absolutely fabulous, where even the unbelievable are believable. The writing is filled with beauty and terror, intrigue and heartbreak, but most of all – HOPE.

Now my question to you is why are you still reading this review and not reading Daughter of Smoke and Bone??? Go get the hardback, the paperback, audiobook or ebook – I beg you!


What do you think?

  • I loved this book! I’m so glad to see you did too. The prose was so beautiful and the concept really turned the whole demons v. angels thing on its head! I didn’t see how Karou and Akiva were connected until the wishbone scene. Then when Akiva confesses what he did at the end…? My mind was blown. I can’t see how they’ll connect again, but I hope they do! And Laini is such a sweet and fun person.

    Great review!

    • Kristy says:

      I agree completely Kim. The demons vs angels thing was original, and I loved that (and I cannot even explain how much I love Brimstone).
      Laini does seem like an amazing person - it is my ultimate dream to meet her (fingers crossed that it will happen one day)
      I am glad you liked the review :)

  • Kaitlin says:

    Nice review! I’m looking forward to reading this book.

    I have to be honest and say that I’ve already read a good sized chunk of this book. I absolutely loved the setting and Karou. The writing was beautiful and I really enjoyed reading it. Unfortunately, I didn’t finish it before I returned it to the library (I tend to do that a lot). I know that when I do read the entire book, I’ll love it. :)

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