Review : Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke and Bone
The Daughter of Smoke and Bone might be the best written paranormal romance I've read in a while. Let me put it like this: Laini Taylor's prose is magical. She can bring to life the twisting, tangled streets of Prague or the noisy hot squares of Morocco with about as much ease as most YA authors portray American high schools. To better get this review done, let me break it into segments.
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?


Karou. Is. Effing. Beautiful.
I hate it normally when authors go for incredibly beautiful people in books and I confess I had some trouble with the omniscient third person narrative of Karou's description, but the way Taylor has described her heroine is just BEAUTIFUL. Lapis hair, dark eyes, tattoos. To someone who's a total sucker for body art, this is just the literary version of true eye-candy.
The amount of work that must have gone into Karou's characterization must have been huge, because I could picture her. I could almost feel her. I could see the whisper of her footsteps on the streets of Prague, and picture her in her orange dress in Morocco. The sounds, the smells, the SETTINGS...Taylor does it all right with the eye of an artist (which she is).

Akiva, the hero, is standard YA material: hot, glorious, powerful, haunted. But you know what? I like heat better than marble-cold heroes anyway, and HEAT has a great new meaning in Akiva. SMOLDERING has new meaning in Akiva. No, literally, because he has wings of fire and all. And you know what? He isn't a sappy YA angel hero. Taylor's prose is what remedies the over-gorgeousness.

The mentionable thing here is that the secondary characters all are lovable. Let me especially mention Zuzana, Karou's tiny scary friend, who I loved, and the strange story of Izil, which freaked me out. All of Karou's strange "family" is interesting too.

But most of all, it was the prose that really, really sucked me right into the book. It deserves praise so glowing that the praise is neon-orange. Some of the metaphors are just delicious. It's like eating the best ice cream flavor imaginable. The otherworldly settings possess an almost unbearable beauty. Taylor, I have to say this, is a seer.


For what should have been a glowing, beautiful book, the Daughter of Smoke and Bone did disappoint me on certain occassions. There's a lot of TELLING and not SHOWING.

Why does Brimstone need the teeth? Well, that was the question I kept asking myself but I thought it could have been revealed better. And there is insta love. I DO NOT like insta love. (For those who read this book: We are not talking about the Karou-Akiva love story, we're talking about the BEFORE.)

 I didn't know what kind of a mystery I was expecting the book to be, but it was definitely not up to my expectations. I just didn't connect with the plot, although I did connect with the characters. I think I would have been happy just to see Karou and Akiva fly around, and draw the other, and have angsty conversations, and kiss. The plot, I thought, sort of lacked a little. Nice, but not exceptional. And that's a pity, because the other aspects of this book is just so wonderful.

Again, was it overdone a bit? Everyone is too beautiful. Karou, Zuzana, Mik, Akiva, Hazael, Lazric, Issa. EVERYONE. WHY, why, why does every YA author do this? :(

I guess, totally, the good stuff triumphs easily over the bad stuff, and I'm a sucker for great writing as well. The cover is TERRIBLE. Okay, maybe it's a nice color and all, but please. Bad books have some awesome covers. This is a book written so well that it deserves a cover that really represents its essence. Magic, cover artist, MAGIC. There's so much magic in this book it doesnt't go on to the cover, and that's a terrible tragedy. Because I'm an artist as well, and I would have wanted my book to look better.

I wish Taylor would write a better sequel, one with a plot that has more substance that mystery+ hot guy+ flying around+ fire+ mystery solved. Although the plot did pick up at the end, I thought there should have been more, or a better one.

But will I read everything and anything Taylor ever writes? Absolutely. I've fallen for her magic pen.


“Hope can be a powerful force. Maybe there's no actual magic in it, but when you know what you hope for most and hold it like a light within you, you can make things happen, almost like magic.” OVERALL SCORE:
"She craved a presence beside her, solid. Fingertips light at the nape of her neck and a voice meeting hers in the dark. Someone who would wait with an umbrella to walk her home in the rain, and smile like sunshine when he saw her coming. Who would dance with her on her balcony, keep his promises and know her secrets, and make a tiny world wherever he was, with just her and his arms and his whisper and her trust"
“Happiness. It was the place where passion, with all its dazzle and drumbeat, met something softer: homecoming and safety and pure sunbeam comfort. It was all those things, intertwined with the heat and the thrill, and it was as bright within her as a swallowed star.”

“Hey! My body may be small, but my soul is large. It’s why I wear platforms. So I can reach the top of my soul”

7/10- pretty damn great, with points chucked off for the cover, for the not-well-carried plot, and for the overdone beauty. Sue me if I'm being unfair.



  1. Love the quote in your header....falling in love with words is awesome. :)



  2. Sometimes I wonder, what's the difference? I'm not sure what line divides the mythical genre from the paranormal. I supposed the attraction to paranormal is the fact that these creatures are often considered beautiful or sexy. I just can't feel myself connect with a character that has antlers and hooves on their otherwise human looking form. Oddly enough, I can connect with characters who turn furry every full moon. But...moving on...


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