October 19, 2011

Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor

Release Date: September 27, 2011
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
Pages: 420
Series: Daughter of Smoke & Bone #1
Review Source: For review from Hachette Book Group Canada (@HBGCanada)

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
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.

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:
It’s almost nerve wracking to start a book that everyone in the blogging world seems to adore. It’s tough for books to measure up to the hype that’s been building for months, so perhaps some of those expectations coloured my reading of ‘Daughter of Smoke & Bone’. I think I can understand why people fell in love with this book, but it didn’t quite grip me like it seemed to grip everyone else.

There were definitely parts I did enjoy, though. I absolutely adored Karou. She’s funny and artistic and I identified with her feelings of loneliness and wanting to find a place to belong. Everything about her life and her background were completely fascinating, and I loved the way Laini Taylor wrote about Karou’s double life. Brimstone and all the characters from “Elsewhere” were intriguing, as was Karou’s life in Prague and arts school. I really enjoyed the first part of ‘Daughter...’ and I couldn’t wait to see where things went.

Unfortunately I found the way things went to be a bit cliche. Everything about this book was so imaginative in the beginning that it disappointed me when I basically predicted where the plot line was going. There were still some very creative aspects, but the larger plot began to bore me, especially the very lengthy flashback chapters that occurred toward the end. However, Laini Taylor certainly knows how to spin a beautiful phrase, and her lush, descriptive writing alone makes this one worth picking up. Those who usually enjoy paranormal tales of angels and demons will likely enjoy this one, as will fans of stories involving starcrossed lovers.

The Cover:
Pretty & memorable, but I love the UK version even more.


Find Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor on Goodreads, Book Depository, & Amazon.


  1. Oh, I completely agree -- sometimes, I even cringe at the thought of picking up an over-hyped or super-adored book! (I still cave, most of the time...) Still, Karou was awesome and I can't wait to see what's up next (even though I wasn't a huge fan of Akiva. He might grow on me.). Excellent review!

  2. I'm very likely to pass up books that have been hyped a lot as they usually just let me down. Not say that I've agreed with some of the hype sometimes - like with Supernaturally, for example - but I usually wait for ages before I read a hyped book.

    Anyway, I'm actually one of the few who isn't planning on reading this book, I think. It just doesn't sound like something I would particularly enjoy and I got a ton of stuff to read already :D

    But I appreciate your review, it made me feel better about not reading it, as it confirmed some stuff I thought already.

  3. Awww, that's too bad... I still haven't had a chance to read it yet so I was hoping you would love it like everyone else seems to be. The plot really does sound cretive, even if it begins to become more predictable as the story progresses. Thanks for sharing your review, Ashley!

  4. We ADORED this book, but even while we did, we totally thought, "Yeah, not everyone is going to love this." And that's cool. Glad you could say it openly, because we think that's helpful to others who might also fear the hype or feel like they "aren't getting it."

  5. Like you, I absolutely loved the first half of this, but it kind of lost me in the second half, I found myself bored and uninterested by the end. I really enjoyed Karou as a character too, she was wonderful. But the direction the author took the plot in the second half of the book didn't really work for me at all. Great review!!

  6. Yes! Overhype can be a bad egg that spoils my reading sometimes! UGH. That's why sometimes I've stopped reading reviews of books I really am excited about. I don't want to hear OMGOMGOMG it's the best book ever and then be disappointed! Just a downside of blogging I guess..hearing so much about books alll the time!

    Thank you for the honest view about this book. I'm really excited about this one but I'm glad to see a review that isn't OMGOMGOMG about this book.

  7. I adored this one, and I never wanted it to end. But we all have our own opinions! I'm proud of you for not 'going with the hype' and posting an honest review :)

  8. I actually just received this from the publisher this week! I have hear pretty good things about it so far so I am pretty excited to read it.

  9. I know what you mean, it's kind of scary to read a book that's been hyped up. I did love this book but the flashback parts were the part that was a little hard for me. I felt myself kind of losing interest. However, I can't really imagine how it could be done any other way. Maybe been a bit shorter? Just picked out crucial details? I don't know. But the first half of the book was definitely my favorite as well. I was a little surprised with her going a little bit toward the cliche. I mean the whole star crossed lovers and the angels and stuff, because her other books are SO different. So if you liked the uniqueness factor and her writing style I HIGHLY recommend Lips Touch Three Times and even her upper middle grade faery books. They have the creepy unique tone to them. Plus they are illustrated a bit and the illustrations are GORGEOUS.

  10. I really hate when I read a book that has a lot of hype and don't find that I feel the same. It makes me feel especially bad, but I'm so glad you were honest. Definitely a more helpful review. Thanks!

  11. Thanks for the heads up, Candace! I've heard such good things about 'Lips Touch' that I definitely want to check it out. Plus I didn't even know she had written MG books! Awesome. =)

  12. Also, Happy Booker -- glad someone agrees with me!! It's always weird when you feel like you're the only one who thinks something about a particular title.

  13. I hate books that are cliche. This is the pick for one of my book clubs this month, but I'm not sure if I want to read it. Thanks for sharing your honest opinion! :)


Thank you so much for taking the time to comment; I appreciate each one!


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