Review–Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1) by Laini Taylor


Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1)

by Laini Taylor
Summary: 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 beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery 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?

Source: I received a digital copy of the book from NetGalley.

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Wow. Daughter of Smoke and Bone was absolutely spectacular. I am an avid YA reader and I don’t ever like to put down YA (and don’t mean any harm), but this book was so good, so well written, and quite dark that I actually had to check to see if it was really YA. Sometimes I assume books are when they aren’t, so I thought I was mistaken. It was written in such a way that the main character seemed older than her 17 years. And now that I’m finished, I realize since it is indeed YA, it’s upper YA and suitable for more mature YA readers.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone was so intriguing. I say that a lot about fantasy novels and I often find plots that are unique in some way. But when I say that Daughter of Smoke and Bone was intriguing and unique, I could put 8 million reallys and verys in for good measure. I mean it. I never knew where it would go and I found Karou to be one of the most mysterious heroines. Just going through her daily life filled me with burning curiosity. Who was she? What were those? I was utterly engrossed. Did this angel and devil love story already happen? How is this affecting the life of Karou? Who is this angel? Who is the devil? I was eager to know.

Even though the book began with the words angel and devil, the plot wasn’t one that I was familiar with. The angels were unlike angels I’m used to seeing in fantasy fiction. The devils were as well. It made the entire book unpredictable.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone had amazing characters. Zuzana was Karou’s best friend and often added some comic relief to a rather dark tale. Kaz was her ex boyfriend and Karou’s feelings about him, as well as his actions in the beginning, also added some humor and helped build Karou’s character. Karou had no family to speak of, but those she called family were quite strange. I did not know what to make of them, but I could sense love in the strange mix of people, especially Brimstone himself. I couldn’t figure out if he was her employer or a father figure or both. Karou’s life was filled with secrets. Brimstone only revealed bits of information about what he did and what she did for him. She knew nothing of her origin. But with regular humans, Karou was the secret keeper who had to hide her whereabouts and adventures from others.

What sets Daughter of Smoke and Bone apart from other novels is the superb writing. It was descriptive and dark. It included Karou’s perspective as well as Akiva’s, but the reader wasn’t ever really given any extra information before Karou herself was aware. The story also jumped around in time in certain places, so as to give the reader some background when it was needed. It was done well and I don’t think the story could have or should have been told any other way. It was perfect.

The plot was suspenseful, mysterious, action packed, and thrilling. I felt like I knew Karou as well as she knew herself, so it was certainly character based and thought provoking in that sense. But it was also full of action. Battles, fights, scars, blood, gore, loss, and pain all made their own appearances. I absolutely loved the way the author handled fight scenes. I was on the edge of my seat for all of them, heart in my throat as characters were injured. Love, hope, redemption, heartache, intrigue, curiosity, and the handful of emotions felt when someone falls slowly, but oh so quickly in love were also present in the story and I love how the author handled the softer parts of the novel as well.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone is worth every bit of hype it has received. I LOVED it. It was so perfectly written. It was one of those books that I’d devour and then hold it away from me because I just couldn’t continue until I savored the scene. And then I’d rush back into the pages, eager for more. Some of the scene and perspective switches took place at just the moment where I needed to know what happened next, which gave me the right sort of frustration and ache that comes with what I’d call a good and emotional read. I absolutely recommend the novel and it is prefect for anyone who likes any sort of dark fantasy, regardless of how they may feel about YA. It’s a must read and quite possibly the best book I’ve read this year so far.


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