Thursday, September 15, 2011

Review: Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor

From the Back Cover:

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.

My Thoughts:

I was blown away by Laini Taylor's impeccable writing style. I'm talking pitch-perfect, let me reel you in slowly, immerse you in the beauty of an Old World city, drown you in the loneliness of a heartbroken girl, tantalize you with glimpses of a world that can't possibly exist, and deliver it all with gorgeous, honest, evocative language, all while ensnaring you in a story so imaginative and heart-felt that it grabs you and never lets go.

Meet Karou, a lonely art student with blue hair and a collection of carefully selected tattoos, including one on each wrist: True and Story. She has two more that she didn't ask for, an open eye in the center of each palm. She was born with them. She draws fantastically monstrous creatures in her beloved sketch books; they are chimaera: creatures made up of a mish-mash of body parts from different animals. She creates fantastical stories about them. Her friends think Karou's on her way to becoming the next great manga artist, but Karou hides a big secret. The creatures she draws are real. Not only are they real, they are her family. True Story, remember?

She's a child of two worlds, and she lives on the fringes of both, never sure of where she belongs, or even who she really is. She's always felt like she's been missing a part of herself, that something is not there that should be. Keeping the existence of an alternate magical world a secret is taking a toll on her. More and more frequently her foster father is sending her out on missions around the globe to buy teeth in underworld black markets. She brings back all kinds of teeth, which he then takes into his secretive workshop. She doesn't know what he uses the teeth for, she doesn't understand why he's growing more distant, and the rest of her family is not forthcoming with answers either. When scorched black handprints begin appearing on doors all over the world, rumors start flying of angel sightings and signs that the acpocalypse drawing near. But it's not until she comes face-to-face with one of these angels in a back alley in Marrakesh that Karou realizes the enormity of what is happening. Why does this angel look at her as though he knows her, and why does she feel an irresistable force pulling her to him, as though her soul has been looking for his all along?

I don't want to let any spoilers slip, because a lot of secrets are revealed and the plot gets twisty, so forgive me if I seem a little vague for I'm going to stop right here where the story really starts to heat up, where Karou gets drawn into an epic battle between "good" and "evil", and gets caught between her love for her family and her love for her soulmate, who happen to be on opposite sides of a looming war. I've already told you how much I love the way this book is written and I fell really hard for Karou. But I have to admit I was disappointed in a couple of directions the plot took as the story progressed. I was so wrapped up in the first half of this book, so excited to have found such a wildly original and gorgeously written story, that I felt a bit let down to discover this was yet another angel book, one of many appearing in today's young adult market. I just hadn't been expecting that. But don't get me wrong, this book is VERY different from the rest of the angel books out there. This is more fantasy than paranormal, and I like that.

My other disappointment stemmed from Karou discovering who she really was. I had grown so attached to her, I thought she was such a phenomenal character, and I felt like a little bit of that got taken away from her. From that point on I felt like I was reading about a whole other character and I just wanted my Karou back. And the ending came about so quickly and left off so abruptly, I was thrown for another loop. But there are two more books to come and I will definitely read them. Overall I thought this was one of the best written YA books I've seen in a while, and I have not seen my disappointments echoed in other reviews, so don't put too much weight on them. I've already seen this book on a ton of lists and the attention is well deserved. This is an offbeat, engrossing read and the kind that stays with you long after you've finished.

My Rating:  4 Stars out of 5

*Please note: This review references an advance review copy received through the Amazon Vine program. Though I received this book from the publisher, these are my honest and unbiased thoughts, and I was not compensated in any other way for reviewing this book.


  1. Oh, I think I will need to read this one. I love the cover! It sounds impressive. Great post!

  2. I see some buts there, but if it still gets a 4,5 then it must be good


I love comments! Getting feedback on my posts makes my day! Thanks for being here!