BOOK REVIEW: Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, #1), by Laini Taylor

Date(s) read: October 24 – 27, 2012
Genre: YA Fantasy

Daughter of Smoke and Bone (#1) Amazon | Goodreads
Days of Blood and Starlight (#2)

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?

My Thoughts
There are lots of times where I buy a book because EVERYONE is reading it. This was one of those books. Naturally, that meant that the book had to stay on my shelf for a long while until the hype died down. In fact, I didn’t even read any reviews of the story, but did see a lot of high ratings for it. This both excites me and worries me. Naturally, I want to love the story, but there is the odd time where I read it and feel kind of ‘meh’ about the whole thing.

Luckily, this was not the case with Daughter of Smoke and Bone.

From the moment I started reading the story, I was in awe of Laini Taylor’s writing. The funny thing is that the whole story felt like it was taking place in another place or another time, but at the same time it felt very real and very now. The life that Karou leads felt so fantastical, yet things also felt like they do now: she goes to school, she has quirky friends, and a crazy ex-boyfriend.

I think that’s what I loved most about the story and that’s what dragged me in from the beginning – that sense of both real and unreal. Also, I had been having very bad luck with angel books and was pleasantly surprised to really like this story about angels and demons. In fact, it didn’t even feel like I was reading about angels or demons; they were just characters I came to know and love.

I’ve already mentioned Karou, but I also loved Susanna, Brimstone, Izzy, Akiva, and all of the other characters that Laini Taylor created. I also enjoyed the setting of Prague (since so many books are set in America these days). And the best part – the BEST part! – was the idea of wishes. It was fun and kind of hilarious at certain times, and Karou’s naïveté about the wishes was so childlike and innocent. The more the story goes on, the more depth we get about Karou’s world and about the characters she’s come to know and love. They’re her family, but they’re not what she expected.

Laini Taylor is a wonderful writer and I’m happy to have FINALLY read this story. It hooked me from the first pages and didn’t let go until the very end. After I picked the pieces of my jaw and my heart up off the floor, I immediately wished for the next book in the series. Unfortunately, I didn’t have anything to make my wish with – like what Karou would’ve done — but hopefully I’ll get my hands on it soon.


© 2012, Reading In Winter. All rights reserved.


34 thoughts on “BOOK REVIEW: Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, #1), by Laini Taylor

  1. Gah I wanted to love this one so much, but I am definitely the odd man out here. I really enjoyed the beginning and I absolutely loved the end (you know when stuff was actually happening) but the middle was just so chunky and boring. I hope to have better luck with Starlight since most of the world building is (I hope) finished. Great review! I’m happy you had better luck with it than me!

  2. I completely agree with the real yet unreal idea, and I loved that part of the book! The whole idea of our world being the key to this other war is a classic idea, but the the way that Taylor spun the story was so fresh 😀

  3. Great Review Kristilyn!! I bought this one way back when it was first released, but I still haven’t read it!! (I also have debated buying the second one, without having read the first… LOL!)

    I’m glad to hear that it’s not just an over-hyped book and that the writing is both unique and griping!! I think maybe this will get bumped up on my TBR list!!

    -Jac @ For Love and Books

    • Yes! I do love it when an author really makes the place they’re writing about sound so real — especially for people like you who have been there and would know! I can’t wait to try the next book. 🙂

  4. I took a while to read this story too, and now the second books it out so we can go straight to it soon 🙂 I loved the wishing system and all the characters and the world the author created, I thought I wasn’t going to like it alt all when I got it from the library though.

  5. I don’t read many hyped books either. I am totally with you. I don’t like to read what everyone else is reading. Of course, that keeps me from having some probably great book discussions, but I just can’t bring myself to do it. Funny that you chose to read this one when you did because I will be reading it soon also. Probably in December. Yes, I am planning that far ahead.

    Anyway, I am glad you enjoyed it. I am looking forward to this awesome writing I keep hearing about. Great review, Kristilyn!

  6. I personally felt like something was.. wrong? I’m not sure. And I’m also not sure if perhaps these days I’d enjoy the book a lot more. The writing was fantastic and up until the romance aspect I ADORED reading it and and.. things. Yes. I’d like to try rereading it and see how I like it now.

  7. Yay — so happy that you liked this one. (I mean, if you didn’t, we could still be friends.) Laini Taylor’s writing is so beautiful and these characters have become so real to me. I hope you’re ready for Days of Blood and Starlight!!

  8. I haven’t read this yet but I plan to soon. It’s such a hyped about book so it’s good to see that your a new fan of the series and that you enjoyed it as much as you did. Great review 🙂

My home is where my books are. - Ellen Thompson

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