Customer Reviews for

Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

30 out of 34 people found this review helpful.

Absolutely perfect

This is a rich, imaginative tale of magic and monsters, war and heartbreak. The world-building in this novel is breathtaking, the backstory a tapestry woven with strands of legend and otherworldly secrets. Laini Taylor's style is beautiful and intelligent, bewitching in...
This is a rich, imaginative tale of magic and monsters, war and heartbreak. The world-building in this novel is breathtaking, the backstory a tapestry woven with strands of legend and otherworldly secrets. Laini Taylor's style is beautiful and intelligent, bewitching in its elegant flair. The pacing is perfect with never a dull moment, whether the intensity comes from the heat of battle, the awe of discovery or the mystery of Taylor's monsters.

Taylor's imagination knows no bounds. This is the most creative, original story I have ever read. Daughter of Smoke and Bone is a book that cannot be easily defined. It is a long history of war and senseless hate, otherworldly races and ancient magic. It is a fantasy and a tragedy and a romance. It is all these things and more. The descriptions are lush and vivid, the characters terrifying and oddly compelling, the lines between good and evil hopelessly blurred. It is a tale of self-discovery and irrepressible love, a coming-of-age story like no other.

Karou is such a compelling heroine, the kind of girl that shouldn't be crossed. She is quirky and mysterious -- from her naturally blue hair to her bullet-scarred belly -- a complex character who is alive and engaging from page one. Her mental life runs deep as she struggles with a lifelong sense of emptiness, and the constant frustration of vague answers from the only family she's ever known. Karou is smart and skilled, and she knows there's more to the story than she's been told. She is fearless when she needs to be, but vulnerable at heart. It's impossible not to fall in love with this one-of-a-kind heroine.

Her relationship with the chimaera who comprise her family is a complicated one -- full of loyalty and love, but also the betrayal and pain that plagues every family. Yet their deep-rooted bond is one of the most heart-warming aspects of the book, and is crucial to the impossible decisions Karou must make. Though they are repeatedly called "monsters" or "devils", Taylor takes care to show that nothing is so black and white. Karou's unconventional family fiercely loves her, and even when it's not always clear, they're acting with her best interest at heart.

A major part of what makes this tale so engrossing is the setting. Prague is a beautiful, enchanted place with cobblestone streets and macabre pubs -- anyone who reads this book will want to hop on a plane immediately. Taylor brings the scene alive for readers, making them feel the majesty of the city's beauty and the sting of the wind's sharp bite. Prague is timeless, full of hidden nooks and dusty secrets, the perfect setting for a tale of star-crossed love and forbidden magic.

Taylor perfectly balances drama and action with wit and passion, the kind of read that tickles the imagination and seeps into the soul. Readers will delight in the mystery of the devil's teeth, the brutal war between worlds and the truth of Karou's identity, never knowing where this colorful saga will take them next. Taylor's storytelling is stark and exquisite and lyrical, but also haunting, dark and sometimes tragic. When the many strands come together to reveal a stunning and heartbreaking truth, readers will never know what hit them. This is a fast-paced and high-soaring adventure that spans continents and worlds, generations and families -- but ultimately it all comes down to one girl, one special, strange girl with a secret sadness and a forgotten past.

~Review from the

posted by The_BookishType on October 3, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

12 out of 30 people found this review helpful.

Interesting, but incredibly "out there"

This book was poetically written and had me hooked for about the first 75 pages, but then the story grew increasingly bestial and weird. A good read for anyone who is into hardcore fantasy, but anyone who prefers more realistic and humanized forms of paranormal (aka. Tw...
This book was poetically written and had me hooked for about the first 75 pages, but then the story grew increasingly bestial and weird. A good read for anyone who is into hardcore fantasy, but anyone who prefers more realistic and humanized forms of paranormal (aka. Twilight fans) might find the characters difficult to connect with. Definitely more powerful than Hush Hush, Fallen, and Personal Demons, but too "other worldly" and "out there" to really be considered a portrait of the human soul.

posted by 9000215 on September 29, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2012

    Fantasy meets faith

    I loved it because it was an original spin of some ancient ideas.....creepy,, compelling and engaging. There was a twist that i did nit expect about midway....anxiously awaiting the sequel....

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 28, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    A must read for fans of urban fantasy and high fantasy alike.

    Black hand-prints are appearing on doors all over the world, burned there as if by magic by strange soldiers with winged shadows.

    In a dark shop that exists outside the realm of conventional doors, a Devil's supply of teeth is growing dangerously low.

    And on the streets of Prague an art student named Karou is about to learn the real cost of a wish and all of the secrets of her murky past--more, perhaps, than she wants to know in Daughter of Smoke and Bone (2011) by Laini Taylor.

    Daughter of Smoke and Bone is the first book in a trilogy (which is lucky since the book actually ends with "to be continued"). It also has a pretty website with information about the book, the characters and the world.

    Broken into four parts, this book has an interesting structure. Each section begins with a short phrase that almost tells readers what to expect even if what follows is never exactly what was expected. For instance, the book begins with "Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love, it did not end well." Yet the story still entices and much remains to be revealed before the novel is over.

    The world Taylor creates in Daughter of Smoke and Bone is stunning in both its scope and its execution. In addition to evoking Karou's mystical life in Prague complete with a church that serves goulash on coffin tables, Taylor weaves an intricate story of angels and devils replete with history, myths and one very bloody war.

    Taylor artfully tells at least three stories in this one book as the focus shifts between angels and devils, Karou's present, and the near past. Though names and details come very fast in the beginning the density of the story eventually lessens as events resolve themselves into one clear, related narrative. At least until the shocking conclusion that leaves things up in the air in a very literal sense until the next book is available.

    Daughter of Smoke and Bone is a delightfully original addition to the ever-growing world of literature about angels (and devils) and a fine example of what the landscape of a fantasy should look like. A must read for fans of urban fantasy and high fantasy alike.

    Possible Pairings: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand, Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones, Dream Hunter by Elizabeth Knox, Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier, The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Unexpected Find!

    I wasn't quite sure what to make of this book...I decided to give it a chance after perusing goodreads. Now I can't sit still waiting for the next installment! I love the way the author writes...you can picture everything vividly in your mind's eye. I loved it.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2014

    Kayla

    In answer to your question: no.
    I myself am a 13 year old girl and I absolutly LOVE the kind of books you mentionted but I was dissapointed to find the book utterly boring, if not a bit complicated...But I must admit the begining was interesting.

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  • Posted July 31, 2014

    The first quarter of this book was brilliant! Action, humor, biz

    The first quarter of this book was brilliant! Action, humor, bizarre creatures, an intriguing world excellent writing...then, oh my, the writer introduced a romance which flatlined the book! Akiva's story was told in what I call a book within a book (too long). Then that gave way to Karou's endless flashbacks upon flashbacks as she learns who she really was...heaven help me. I kept hoping for the action to return and it never did. Very disappointing. I have no idea why the author interrupted the flow of an intriguing story to lapse into a romeo and juliet rip off. This is an interesting series and I will trust the other books are more lively this this one. I want to read more from this author, her writing is beautiful, even if her plot development in this book needs work.

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  • Posted July 12, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Daughter of Smoke and Bone was . . . interesting. I have mixed f

    Daughter of Smoke and Bone was . . . interesting. I have mixed feelings--there were parts I really liked, parts I thought were uninteresting, and parts I was quite intrigued by--but the writing and the concepts convinced me that this was a very, very good book.

    I DNFed this the first time I tried it. There's just a part halfway through the book where I just felt bored. It was a little after Akiva and Karou meet and it's like . . . it's like some of the story's magic was lost. I wasn't very interested in what had been going on at that time, and I wasn't anymore interested the second time through. However, both before and after that point, the story was fascinating!

    Laini Taylor's writing is beautiful. Her descriptions were vivid and the world she created was so wonderful and magical and unique and I just LOVED it.

    "It was cold, and it was dark--in the dead of winter the sun didn't rise until eight--but it was lovely. The falling snow and the early hour conspired to paint Prague ghostly, like a tintype photograph, all silver and haze."

    Beautiful, right? Here's another:

    "Her thoughts had flown outward, darting and dipping with the hummingbird-moths that flocked by the thousands to the lanterns hanging overhead, as she wondered, with a wild timpani heart, where her angel had gone."

    The concepts of the seraph, the chimaera, the teeth, the wishes--everything--were incredibly creative and done so well. The setting, the characters, the weapons, the mythology, the romance gave the story a certain richness that has the ability to captivate a reader. Yet, at the same time, it had a very grimy feel to it. Grimy in a very "smoke and bone" sort of way. This quote captures that feel well:

    "Prague entranced you, lured you in, like the mythic fey who trick travelers deep into forests until they're lost beyond hope."

    Karou was an awesome heroine. At least, most of the way. Towards the end, she didn't seem to have that same Karou attitude as she had before she met Akiva. She was funny and had some seriously cool blue hair.

    "'I don't know your customs, but here, if you don't want to frighten someone, you don't go looming over their sleeping body with knives.'"

    Akiva was okay. He's very serious and romantic, but also a bit on the boring side. I'm hoping he impresses me more in the sequel. I'm also hoping to see him with more imperfections. He had a couple, but mostly he was too beautiful and perfect for my taste.

    Zuzana was an entertaining best friend! I want to see more from her because I always liked the scenes she was in.

    "She was fierce, ready to scold, but when she saw him, she faltered. Her expression warred with itself--ferocity with awe--and awe won out. She cast a sidelong glance and Karou and said, in helpless amazement, 'Oh, hell. Must. Mate. Immediately.'"

    Now, for the not-so-good. This book was soooo sloooow. While I loved the world, the writing, and concepts, they did weigh down the pace for me. There was a lot of details to soak in and, as I said before, there was a portion of the book that bored me. I trudged through that part. The last 20-ish percent went much quicker because the story (the Madrigal parts) got really interesting. That part and the first section, before Karou meets Akiva, are my favorite parts. They're the ones that interested me the most.

    The ending made me very curious about what happens next in the story. I have questions that need answers!

    Overall, I definitely liked this book. It was a pretty different and, for the most part, quite fascinating read and I'm glad that I gave it another try. I'll be reading the second one, for sure! If you're looking for book with incredible writing and with unique concepts, this is the one for you to read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2014

    Not Your Daughter's Young Adult

    Girl meets Boy. Check. Boy is mysterious with a tragic past. Check and check. Boy may or may not be an Angel but he has wings. Check. Girl and Boy should be enemies. Check. Instead they fall in love. Check. I know what you're thinking. I would be too. Luckily I read this without any idea what it was about. And I'm glad I did. Yeah. Its a teenage love story with more than a passing resemblance to everything from Romeo & Juliet to Twilight. But - it gives the old story a new twist that I absolutely loved. The writing is beautiful. And the world within the book is just gorgeous. Our world but more. Every page is magical. Highly recommended to the young and old alike.

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  • Posted December 29, 2013

    I absolutely loved this book. I can't even think of the words to

    I absolutely loved this book. I can't even think of the words to describe it. It's just phenomenal

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2013

    Great book

    Very interesting I couldn't put it down.

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  • Posted October 22, 2013

    This was a WONDERFUL introductory book. I cannot wait to read t

    This was a WONDERFUL introductory book. I cannot wait to read the next book in the series. The characters are very engaging and the plot quite unique. All I can say is, it is going to be on EPIC love story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2013

    Pretty good.

    I liked it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2013

    good book

    quick fun read I am actually looking forward to the next book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2013

    For teens

    Unlike the typical vampire forbidden same old love story that is for sure. It starts off pretty slow and you are pretty confused with their backstory but around the middle of the books things start moving along quickly. It is a good book and a quick read. I would recommend this to my friends.

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  • Posted April 4, 2013

    This book is something else, entirely. It really puts one'sĀ imag

    This book is something else, entirely. It really puts one's imagination to the test. It's a good story, I really enjoyed how Taylor plays around with time. It was a fun and interesting to read. It's take a while to get used to the world Taylor has created but once you're comfortable it's a very intriguing plot.   

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2013

    Great. The mystery and tragedy and love...it all came togther

    But the end was bittersweet...I hope there is more happiness in Karou's future

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  • Posted February 27, 2013

    Page turner

    I couldn't stop reading. I can't wait for the next book in the series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2013

    Love it

    Fantastuc story telling leaves you wanting more of Karou & Akiva

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2013

    love the book

    can't wait to read the next book. this book is awesome.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2013

    Good book......

    Its okay, but really confusing!!!!!!!!

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  • Posted December 30, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Mysterious

    This book starts off very mysterious. Brimstone is a wishmonger who will exchange wishes for teeth. Karou is Brimstones errand girl, collecting teeth all over the world via portals into varying cities. Karou doesn’t know what Brimstone does with the teeth collect but not for lack of trying. All of the mystery starts to unravel when Karou meets Akiva. And you’ll never guess what everyone has been hiding.
    This book has a Romeo and Juliet star-crossed lovers foundation with a fantasy twist. The world building is really good and the pace is of the book never drags. Every paragraph is meaningful and important to the storyline. Overall, this is a really great story and well written. I will definitely be reading Days of Blood and Starlight to find out what happens next.

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