Friday, January 27, 2012

Review: Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor

Publisher: Little, Brown BFYR
Publication Date: September 27th, 2012

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?
(Courtesy of Goodreads)

WHY did I wait as long as I did to read this amazing book?  Seriously.  The reviews have been fabulous- everyone who has read this has raved about it- so why did it take me more than three months to get around to reading it?  Two words.  The cover.  I know a lot of people loved the cover of this one, but I didn't.  It looks cheap to me, and being the cover whore that I am, I just couldn't bring myself to put this ahead of prettier books.  Yes, I know what they say, and I know it sounds shallow, but it is what it is.  I totally regret my judgement, because I LOVED this book.  I want more. NOW.

If you're looking for something completely fresh and beyond beautifully written, look no further.  Laini Taylor's writing takes individual threads and weaves them into a tapestry that takes your breath away when you see the final product.  She creates a fantastic world, with characters so bizarre and gorgeous, that they will invade your dreams.  This was one of those books that I wanted to read quickly to know what would happen next, but at the same time, I wanted to slow-read it to savor the exquisiteness of her writing.  It's a gift to be able to create art with words, and Laini Taylor has that gift in spades, but writing alone doesn't make a book.  A book needs a story...

This story grabbed me from the beginning.  I was instantly intrigued and enamored by Karou.  She is such a great character and I only grew to like her and respect her more as her story unfolded.  I found myself becoming fond of Brimstone and Issa despite the fact that they were "monsters".  I was utterly absorbed in the mystery of why the teeth were so important, and completely taken aback when I found out the reason.  Then there was Akiva.  Good?  Bad?  Can angels even be bad?  Is it ever that black and white?  There were so many facets to this story that I cannot even begin to unravel it here.  What I can tell you is that they come together beautifully in ways that are both unpredictable and sensible.  You will come out of this story satisfied, but wanting more, if that makes any sense.

If I had gotten around to reading this book in 2011, it would have, no doubt, made my Top Ten list.  I will be all over book #2, Days of Blood and Starlight, when it releases in September.  If you haven't read this book yet, get on it.  You won't be disappointed.

My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★+++

Grade Level Recommendation:  There are a couple of tastefully done, non-graphic sexual encounters, and there's so violence, including a beheading, but otherwise this book is pretty clean.  I would recommend it for grades 7 and up (ages 12+).


  1. I certainly don't have this book on my list because of the cover. It really doesn't do anything for me. But the rave reviews have allowed me to look past that and some day I WILL get to this one!

  2. I couldn't agree more! Fantastic review! I said pretty much the same in my review of the book. Looking forward to Days of Blood & Starlight this fall. ;)


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