Sunday, January 29, 2012

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

"She had been innocent once, a little girl playing with feathers on the floor of a devil's lair."

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. 


I'd seen this book pop up on blogs and on the library shelf a lot, and I ordered it on a whim. Possibly just because of the epic feather mask. Yeah, mostly because of the mask.

You come across a book, every once in a while, where the writing can only be described as beautiful. Daughter of Smoke and Bone was one of those books. I had to stop every couple of sentences to re-read a particular line because I loved how the words came together. Language-wise, it trumps many of my favorite books.

Karou and her friends and her enemies were all so real. Each of the characters stood a purpose, and they all had personalities that made them as real as anyone I've ever met. When I was reading, I felt the relationships between the characters. I could feel how much Karou cared for the people she cared for, how she was genuinely concerned for her friends and loved ones. Karou is a great and complex character, and I loved reading about her throughout the book.

One thing I personally adored was the setting: Prague, capital of Czech Republic. With pretty much all the books I've read being set in America and my lack of a passport, it was something I'd never experienced. It's kind of like someone opened a door I hadn't ever seen before: it was something new; something unexpected. Karou visited a lot of other places throughout the book, and I really liked the peek into the different worlds.  

There isn't an aspect of this book that I don't want to rave about. I was frustrated and intrigued with Karou on all the mysteries of her life along with her: Where did she come from? Why wouldn't the people who knew, tell her? This book has a world that's masterfully created, with wishes you can spend, creatures unlike any other, and a plot that kept me reading the entire way through.

I could have done with a little more explaining.

I've come to the conclusion that I like facts; absolute truths. Whenever I read a paranormal book,  I want to know the facts about the mystical/fantastical/magical creatures and how they work. I want to know the laws of the society and the do's and don'ts. When someone in a story mentions a tribe of certain magical beings, I want to know how many tribes their are and how they differ. There were parts of the story where I wanted the characters to slow down and explain how things worked. There's a lot of a world to take in this book, so that's my little complaint.

This is a great book. The ending hit me completely by surprise, and I'll be waiting to see how it's continued in the sequel. Don't miss this one: it passes all the tests.

Read more reviews for Daughter of Smoke and Bone at:


  1. I think for a paranormal (though I think I'd prefer to call this one fantasy over paranormal...) book, DoSaB does a better job of developing the world and creatures than other books that kind of assume you know how the system works just because of the many similar angel/vampire/werewolf books out there. Karou's world is also a lot more complex which is why I think I give the author more leeway in taking her time to develop the story.

    I totally agree with you about the setting though. I want to visit Europe soon! I wish it was as easy as Karou's method.

    1. I thought of it as a fantasy, too. For some reason, it doesn't seem like a paranormal. But I see your point about Karou's world being complex.

      Haha, yes. Having Paris, for example, a walk through a doorway away would be nice, I completely agree.

  2. Karou is a lovely, strong, mysterious heroine. Mysterious to everyone, including herself, which makes for a really amazing character. She is in search of answers, and the reader searches with her. I saw pieces of myself in every charcater, but mostly in her. She has a feeling of emptiness which she is constantly trying to fill -or pretend it doesn't exist- but she doesn't learn how to begin to face it, because she doesn't know who she is. By the end of the book, she has done some impressive progress and has grown a great deal.

    1. You're so right! I don't think Karou can be explained better than that.

      Thanks for comment. (: