Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor: Review

Posted January 16, 2012 by Emily in book review, Uncategorized / 20 Comments

Daughter of Smoke and Bone
By: Laini Taylor

Karou is a promising young art student who fills her sketchbooks with imaginative drawings of monsters, demons, and otherworldly things. Only they aren’t from her imagination. Karou is the courier for Brimstone, a demon who collects teeth, and Karou’s only family. When Karou meets Akiva, all the things she thought she knew about her past and her world are about to be torn apart.

Ah, Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I got my copy at BEA last year and was almost afraid to pick it up. When I finally did, I only got a chapter and a half in and put it down. The beginning of this novel is about the worst introduction I’ve ever read. I only say that because after I got past the first scene or two, what followed was an incredibly intricate story and world that was so unlike those first two chapters as to be unrecognizable.

The setting is unique for most of today’s modern fantasy, as much of the story either takes place in Prague, or another realm completely different from our own. So, even the sort of mundane earthly setting has a unique flavor to it, being set in a European country that is full of mystery to a very ordinary American like myself. And I really think that the world building is what shines in Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Each species of demon and each setting is so carefully thought out, which makes it so much more engaging. I expect this book could have been much longer with its glorious descriptions, but as it is, there is just enough to make the entire book feel well-formed.

And, the love story. Karou and Akiva’s first meeting isn’t pleasant. But, they very quickly discover that there is some sort of connection between the two of them that is incredibly compelling. And mysterious. In fact, Akiva just might hold some of the secrets that Karou has been longing to know her whole life. But, when it comes down to it, does she really want to know?

This is a great book for older teens. There is a good deal of mature content, mostly sexual, and the general tone of the book is a little more mature. This is a good example of what I’d like to see with the New Adult genre. With that said, I’ll definitely continue on with the series.

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20 Responses to “Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor: Review”

  1. Jac

    I have yet to hear a negative review on this, and thanks for yours! I really need to get my hands on a copy of this one.

    I'm also glad to know about hte pacing of this story, that the first chapter or two are a little bit rough but the rest is fabulous.

    -Jac @ For Love and Books

    • In hindsight I should have just skimmed past that first part. All you really need to know is she had a jerky boyfriend and is feeling remorseful because she had sex with him.

  2. It was so weird. When I started reading, I couldn't figure out what all the hype was about. But, I definitely enjoyed it by the end.

  3. Oh, oh, oh, yay! I actually did not even read your review. I have Daughter of Smoke and Bone in my book bag right now, and there's been SO MUCH HYPE around it that I've been trying to not read any reviews so that I can form my own opinions first. But I'll be back as soon as I finish reading!!

  4. I really enjoyed this book. It was incredibly creative, definitely unique when compared to so many other urban fantasies, and had a lot going for it. It had its flaws, certainly, but overall I found it a very strong novel and I'm interested in seeing the sequel when it's released.

    • That's how I feel. I felt like the opening was by far the weakest part. I loved the world development though, and can't wait for the sequel.

  5. Like you, I had a really hard time with the first few pages, but by the end of the book I was a complete believer. It was definitely one of the strangest books I've ever read, but one of the books I was most emotionally involved with of last year.

  6. It was a little strange, wasn't it? I kept thinking while I was reading, who comes up with this stuff? But, it all worked really well.

    • It was incredibly atmospheric. I just wasn't impressed with all the guilt over sleeping with some jerk that really doesn't have any other part in the story.

  7. Yay, so glad you enjoyed reading this! It's one of my favorite reads last year and I can't wait to read the sequel. Laini Taylor's writing is beautiful.

  8. I find it interesting that the first couple of chapters bothered you so much. I really got into this book because of the beautiful language and descriptions, but I had a little trouble with the way the romance was presented. You're so right about the world-building, which is amazing!

    • I just thought that it wasn't anything like the rest of the book. And it didn't mesh with Karou's character to be so hung up on some jerk. I'm glad it didn't last long though.

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