Book Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor
Published in Hardcover, 432 pgs 
Published September 27th, 2011 by Little, Brown
Reading Level: Young Adult
Source: Amazon Vine

 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 otherworldly 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?

Laini Taylor manages to weave a tale of beauty, filled with creatures from high fantasy, or maybe what we may imagine could be found in the bowels of hell (monsters), as well as the angels we may imagine from heaven, until we get to know them a bit better…  It’s impossible to take sides in this fight, is either right?  Are both wrong?  Hard to say.  
We are kept guessing from the beginning, what, or who, is Karou?  Not only that, but what are the teeth for?  Why does Karou have eye tattoos on her hands?  And oh, so many other questions kept me flying through this one.  This story managed to feel completely unique while still bringing in elements we may be more familiar with in YA of today.  Laini’s writing is full of beautiful and vivid descriptions and she weaves a tale of beauty.  Never knowing what could happen next and just waiting for the next twist to happen, this is a story of family, of love, of hate, compassion and confusion.  
As with Laini’s other works, her words flow like poetry and characters are vividly drawn.  I don’t think there’s a person alive who could compare with Laini’s writing.  It’s just a beauty all it’s own.  
I loved so much in this book it’s hard to know where to begin.  Karou is fabulous and I connected with her immediately.  She doesn’t know much of anything so as things are revealed to her about things, they are revealed to us.  The things she thinks and does make sense.  Only one time in the book was I screaming ‘no’ at her and that was something I wanted to find out more as well.  So I was afraid, but curious.  So maybe more of a half hearted no?  
The romance in this book is done in a way that I would think I wouldn’t care for it if I heard that it would be like that.  But it worked.  And in the end, it really worked.  I mean, there was a reason the two of them were so drawn to each other immediately.  You just have to trust that things are meant to be.
Towards the end of the book we suddenly start seeing some back story and while in third person (like the rest of the book) we are put in a different time.  It’s very important to the story but I was anxious to get back to Karou.  I wanted to know all that information, but faster.  But to be honest, the way it was done was probably perfect.  I mean, I couldn’t have put the book down at that point if I had to!  And it was like puzzle pieces suddenly snapping into place.  And even though we are thrust into a different time and situation it wasn’t really a ‘thrust’.  It was done so smoothly that it didn’t really confuse me or upset the balance of the book.  
The ending… oh crap.  What a freaking ending!  Laini, you bad bad girl!  I will die, surely die, of needing more, like right freaking now!  Quite the cliff hanger folks!  Yes, we get the answers we need from this book, but then a bomb is dropped that opens up to more.  And what a bomb!  Man, it’s torture.  Pure torture.
I recommend this book to everyone.  Seriously.  This is going to hold great crossover appeal to adults and while maybe a bit heavy for the younger crowd (middle graders) I wouldn’t say there’s a lot of inappropriate content (not that I’m remembering anyway…).   I think I loved this one best out of all of Laini’s books, though I love her others as well and highly recommend!
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Disclaimer: I received an advance edition of this book free of charge from the publisher.  Things in the book could change.  I was not paid or influenced in any way.  All opinions expressed are my own.
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  1. Candace! What a fantastic review! I feel exactly like you and I still think this is one of the best books I’ve read in a ling time! So full of awesome – the characters the writing, the story! EVERYTHING!

    Perfect Review for this book and I’m so glad you liked it :-))

  2. Great review Candace! I was going to skip this one but then got a chance to read a couple of chapters and I was hooked! This one releases on my birthday with a couple of other biggies! I can’t wait!!


  3. Oh! I didn’t read your whole review because I saw ‘the ending’ and ‘torture’ eep! I don’t even want it to end! I just want to keep read and keep reading. It’s so beautiful!

  4. I’ve never read a Laini Taylor books (shame on me, I know), but this one sounds amazing. I don’t think I’ve heard one bad thing about it and that’s saying something. Everyone I’ve seen or know who has read it, has raved about it. Obviously I need to fly through my TBR pile and get to this one because it needs my attention.

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