Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Book Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke and Boneby Laini Taylor
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date: September 2011
ISBN: 9780316134026
Source: ARC provided by publisher

Karou lives between two worlds, one just like everyone else's, an art student in Prague with best friend Zuzana. The other world is filled with fantastic creatures, ones that humans are unaware exist, an underground world and the one Karou grew up in. But when beautiful and terrifying angels show up and shatter the delicate balance of her life, she will learn much more about her past than she ever imagined possible.

Things I Liked:
Oh how I loved the writing.  Taylor had me wrapped around that story from page one.  I fell into it and I couldn't see (nor did I want to) my way out.  I read it slowly and in bits so I could savor every phrase.  And you can tell that Taylor spends time on every phrase so that they sound just right.  I love the spooky, creepy, quirky, but gorgeous style she has for writing fantasy stories with a dark undercurrent.  The world she's created is rich and deep and you think you know about it, until you learn more and realize you haven't learned much.  The story was not original in itself, but the way she's created the world, the characters (I adore Zuzana and Karou and Issa and so on and so on), and the cultures is so fascinating I couldn't stop thinking about it.  I'm even more excited to learn there will be more adventures in store for Karou.  A detailed and dark story that will lure you in.  I adored the details about Prague too - I spent only two days there, but Taylor brought it to life for me again. Here is some of the good:

The streets of Prague were a fantasia scarcely touched by the twenty-first century - or the twentieth or nineteenth, for that matter. It was a city of alchemists and dreamers, its medieval cobbles once trod by golems, mystics, invading armies.  Tall houses glowed goldenrod and carmine and eggshell blue, embellished with Rococco plasterwork and capped in roofs of uniform red.  Baroque cupolas were the soft green of antique copper and gothic steeples stood ready to impale fallen angels.  The wind carried the memory of magic, revolutions, violins, and the cobbled lanes meandered like creeks.  Thugs wore Mozart wigs and pushed chamber music on street corners, and marionettes hung in windows, making the whole city seem like a theater with unseen puppeteers crouched behind velvet. p 24-25 of ARC
The first time she'd come to Prague, she'd gotten so lost exploring these streets.  She'd passed an art gallery and a few blocks later doubled back to find it, and...couldn't.  The city had swallowed it.  In fact, she never found it.  There was a deceptive tangling of alleys that gave the impression of a map that shifted behind you, gargoyles tiptoeing away, stones like puzzle pieces rearranging themselves into new configurations while you weren't looking.  Prague entranced you, lured you in, like the mythic fey who trick travelers deep into forests until they're lost beyond hope.  But being lost here was a gentle adventure of marionette shops and absinthe, and the only creatures lurking around corners were Kaz and his cohorts in vampire makeup, ready with a silly thrill.  Usually. p 185 of ARC
His eyes were hypnotic, his brows black and velvet.  He was copper and shadow, honey and menace, the severity of knife-blade cheekbones and a widow's peak like the point of a dagger.  p 195 of ARC

Things I Didn't Like:
As I mentioned, the story, if you stop and think about its bare bones, is not that original.  The telling and the wrappings and the life Taylor breathes into it brings me hope for more fabulous angel stories.  It is also not something I could devour in a few sittings, it requires time and thought to fully appreciate it.  Even if I felt it lagged a bit in the middle, I never could put Karou quite out of my mind.

Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr

Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor
Demon's Lexicon series by Sarah Rees Brennan

s-factor: !@
pretty regularly, though not overwhelming

mrg-factor: XX 
it does have it, but doesn't describe the actions

v-factor: -> 
not a lot, but they do fight and kill

Overall rating: *****

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage


  1. I'm excited to get to this one. I'm trying to read some other books first but I don't know if I'll be able to hold off for much longer.

  2. Jenny, give in! Give in! Am I helping?

  3. Looks very interesting! I hope I get a chance to read this one soon.

  4. Wade, I do too because it's really good.

  5. Now I'm curious about this one. I've seen a lot of positive reviews but fantasy isn't really my thing. But, I do love well-written book. Especially creepy ones this time of year. So maybe I should give it a chance. :)

  6. I heard a mention of this book just last week. I guess I'm going to have to read it!

  7. kathy, if you are looking for a well-written book, this will definitely satisfy. It isn't quite as complicated in its fantasy details either, so there's a good chance you'll like it.

    alison, please do! I'd love to hear what you think.

  8. For a chimera to love a seraphim is punishable by death, but the chimera have ways of saving and reincarnating their dead. Karou suddenly understands her past but can she forgive Akiva for what he has done?I loved it,and could not put it down.


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