Saturday, December 22, 2012

[Review] Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

(#1, Daughter of Smoke and Bone)
Daughter of Smoke and Bone | Days of Blood and Starlight

Laini Taylor
Publication (dd/mm/yyyy): 01/07/2012
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (Hachette)
Pages: 418 +extras
Source: For review (thanks Hachette!) & Bought

Violence Sexual ContentProfanity
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My Rating:

My thoughts

Note: I tried. This review is severely disjointed... it's been too long since I read this book and it's just too hard to write what I feel for it.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone has been recommended to me time and time again and every review that I’ve seen for this book has been nothing but positive. So of course I was wary and my expectations were immeasurably high by the time I’d gotten to picking up a copy. Thankfully, I was not let down in the slightest. Laini Taylor’s debut novel has a deeply engaging and unique story, written in delicate prose that just blew me away. Too many times I’ve been let down by paranormal books (with some exceptions), and I’m so pleased to say that was not the case here.

The writing in Daughter of Smoke and Bone is phenomenal. Every passage feels like it has been coated in snow-dust, lyrical and atmospheric and magnificent. With astounding success Laini Taylor crafts the world ‘Elsewhere’ that is so vividly imagined that readers are allowed to be immersed in it. It is near impossible not to lose yourself once you start this book.

Mystery enshrouds the blue-haired teenage girl named Karou, and it will take a while for you to even get an inkling of an idea of her true identity. On the surface, Karou is an art student in Prague where she leads a fairly normal existence. She does not know how she came into Brimstone’s keeping. Brimstone collects teeth from far and wide; he sends Karou to tend to these errands. Her family consists of different mythological creatures, each with unique and quirky characteristics. All throughout this book you’ll be left guessing how everything connects in her world, and Taylor gives us the experience of joining in Karou’s exploration of self.

As for a side character I absolutely loved, the award has got to go to Karou's best friend, Zuzana. I just adored the relationship that she shared with Karou, and her personality and artistry allows her to stand on her own. She has her own story arc and romance arc, so I got the feeling that she mattered, that she wasn’t just “the best friend”, a story mechanic, a means to an end, a necessity for the story.

A paranormal fiction title would be nothing without its romance and both fortunately and unfortunately Daughter of Smoke and Bone is positively full to bursting with it. This is just my personal preference, but there was just too much of it, not to mention that there was more insta-love than I could handle. I’m pointing fingers at you, Karou and Akiva! Their love just felt baseless, only stemming from a mutual physical attraction to one another. I know, I know. As you get further along it makes sense, but it still disturbed me, and for that I just wasn’t swept away by it, simply because it didn’t feel real to me. If you love your paranormal romances sexy, eternal and mysterious you won’t have a problem with it at all.

Another issue I had was with the perfectness of some of the characters, but again that seems to be a personal issue I have. In the case of the story, it just makes sense, because this book is about angels. The main thing is, DESPITE all this, I still loved this book and would readily recommend it to anyone looking for a great story.

Everything is gripping, everything is real and new and exciting – Taylor’s debut is simply stunning and I need to continue the story! No more words need to be said. Read this book!


First lines: 
"Walking to school over the snow-muffled cobbles, Karou had no sinister premonition about the day. It seemed like just another Monday, innocent but for its essential Mondayness, not to mention its Januaryness. It was cold, and it was dark - in the dead of winter the sun didn't rise until eight - but it was also lovely. The falling snow and the early hour conspired to paint Prague ghostly, like a tintype photograph, all silver and haze."


He stood slouched, breathing hard, one hand holding his neck as he stared at her with his tiger's eyes. She felt pinned in place, and for a long beat she could only stare back. He looked pained. Puzzlement drew a crease in his brow, like he was divining a mystery.
     Like she was his mystery.
(p. 188)

'To stay true in the face of evil is a feat of strength.'
(p. 406)


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I have received this review copy in return for an honest review.

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