Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor
Book One of the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy
Published on September 27, 2011
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Buy this book from Amazon

I interchanged between listening to the audiobook through Audible and reading it in hardcover.


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?


Universal Studios acquired the rights to Daughter of Smoke & Bone in December 2011.  (source) The most current news is that a draft was written by the screenwriters who wrote The Fault in Our Stars and Laini Taylor herself has submitted a draft as well.  (source)


This, she thought, isn’t just for today.  It’s for everything.  For the heartache that still felt like a punch in the gut each time it struck, fresh as new, at unpredictable moments; for the smiling lies and the mental images she couldn’t shake; for the shame of having been so naive.

For the way loneliness is worse when you return to it after a reprieve–like the soul’s version of putting on a wet bathing suit, clammy and miserable.” pg. 21


The Young Adult genre has been inundated with book series and after being disappointed with Mockingjay and HATING Insurgent, I was more cautious about trilogies and the like.  I just didn’t feel like spending the time and effort in waiting and waiting for the next book and then just being let down by crap-tastic sequels.  But like I said earlier, YA thrives on the “series” life, and I couldn’t very well shy away from 80% of the hot YA reads.  So I decided, I’ll try to only read book series in which all the books have been released to appease my desperation for immediate gratification and quell my expected wasted enthusiasm.

Cue in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series by Laini Taylor.  In the past year, I began proactively looking for new books to read.  I typically only read books my sister (hi, Biz!) recommended but I wanted to change that.  I wanted to tailor my choices to my exact taste.  I came across Laini Taylor’s books quite a few times, marked it Want To Read on Goodreads but moved on.  I even bought the entire trilogy on ThriftBooks half a year ago but let it sit on my bookshelf, untouched.

It was only until I was scheduled to come back into the office, with a two-hour commute looming over me, did I decide to turn off the Spotify app (EDM music does not help your mood when you’re stuck in traffic, believe me) and open up the audiobook of Daughter of Smoke and Bone through Audible.

After running a red light and almost getting into an accident because I was so enraptured by the story did I realize, holy crap–this is goooooood.


5stars
5 OUT OF 5 STARS
Where to begin…

This book is just–WOW.  I love Daughter of Smoke and Bone.  In fact, I absolutely do not have any qualms whatsoever about this book; thus, the 5-star rating.

First of all, I’d like to say, FINALLY!  A female protagonist that I like.  More than like even.  Because Karou is everything I believe an individual should be–fiercely independent with a longing to find a place in the world, making mistakes and learning from it.  She has a sense of humor, artistic, loyal, and what I liked the most, edgy.  But not to the point of trying too hard.  You just got the sense that she was comfortable with who she was despite the fact that she didn’t know enough about her past.

When I told a friend of mine (hi, Karen!) that this book was at the point of becoming a 5-star rating and is probably even better that Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha trilogy, she exclaimed, “whaaaat?!”  And I proceeded to give her an analogy to explain the differences, which I’m glad I can expand on here.  If the Grisha trilogy and Daughter of Smoke and Bone can be compared to works of art, Leigh Bardugo’s books would be of the Francisco de Goya masterpieces and Laini Taylor’s would be of Andy Warhol’s.  Both artists are obviously considered one of the greats but their paintings evoke an extremely different type of mood.  And right now, I am definitely in the mood for some pop art.

It’s not just the cover that exudes an Andy Warhol feel, but the words.  Laini Taylor’s rich and vibrant world is brought to life by her choice of words that so vividly paints a picture.  And on top of that, it’s beautifully written.  I found myself stopping mid-page, just to soak in what I had just read–because as much as you want to know what happens, you also want to feel what happens.

If this book was a road trip, I would never catch myself asking, “are we there yet?” because I never want this journey to end.  It takes a genius writer to create a world of so much detail and mystery, all the while, keeping the audience enthralled every step of the way.  Laini Taylor is that writer.  With characters you can’t help to either love or loathe, a love story that runs soul deep, and the classic battle between good and evil and the grey areas in between, this book is a great introduction to the world Laini Taylor is luring you into.

Because Daughter of Smoke and Bone is the perfect YA/fantasy book.  There were no lulls with plot development or corny romantic moments that warrant a major eye roll.  Just pure artistic genius.  The only downside of writing a book this good is the expectations that are now attached to the sequels.  Because believe you me, Laini Taylor, you’ve set the bar for how Young Adult books should be written.


On Laini Taylor’s blog, she recommends a recipe for goulash, a quintessential Czech dish mentioned in the book 🙂

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