Review: Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor

Title:  Daughter of Smoke & Bone
Author:  Laini Taylor
Series:  Daugher of Smoke & Bone #1
Publisher:  Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.
Publication Date:  September 27, 2011
Pages:  418
Format/Source:  Hardback/Purchased

Age Group/Genre:  Young Adult/Fantasy

Around the world, black hand prints 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 grows 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? (Cover and synopsis from Goodreads)

Long Overdue…

One of my friends in my book club raved about Daughter of Smoke & Bone soon after it was published, back in 2011, and I bought it at some point in 2012, but didn’t read it until December.  It’s one of those where I wished I had read it earlier so that I could have been caught up in all the hype.  Luckily my book club is reading Days of Blood & Starlight this month, so we’ll be able to talk about both books!

Great Storytelling…

My aforementioned friend wrote one line in her Goodreads review of Daugher of Smoke & Bone:  “Now, this is storytelling.”  And I can’t agree more!  Laini Taylor created such an intricate world with such fascinating characters that really placed you in the story and made you see, feel, and smell everything going on in each scene.  And I spent most of my time jotting down great lines from the story, because Taylor just has a knack with words.  But I’ll get to those great quotes later.

One thing I really liked about DoS&B was that it started out with the main character having an ex-boyfriend.  Not many YA books that I’ve read start out that way, and it was a nice, fresh beginning to the series.  I mean, her ex really didn’t have much to do with the story overall but it was a nice subplot.

And I really liked the characters, especially Zuzana and Brimstone.  Zuzana was hilarious and Brimstone was fascinating.  And Taylor totally gets some bonus points for the game that Karou, Mik, and Zuzana play called “How much would your life have to suck to want the Apocalypse?”  And MAJOR bonus points for the fact that one of the answers in that game was “That you know all Celine Dion’s lyrics.”  Ah, I kid.  But really.  Major bonus points.

Great Quotes…

As I said before, most of my notes are full of beautiful quotes taken directly from the pages of this book.  It was really hard to narrow them down, but here are just a few of my favorites:

“For the way loneliness is worse when you return to it after a reprieve–like the soul’s version of putting on a wet bathing suit, clammy and miserable.”

“It was like stepping into the pages of a book–a book alive with color and fragrance, filth and chaos–and the blue-haired girl moved through it all like a fairy through a story, the light treating her differently than it did others, the air seeming to gather around her like held breath.  As if this whole place were a story about her.”

“Again his memory failed to conjure her face.  It was like trying to call up a melody while another song played.”
“The sun climbed above the hills and she watched as its glow herded night into the shadows where it gathered, all the darker for its density–all of night crowded into the slanting places beyond the reach of the dawn.”

My rating for Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor:

Actually 4.5 stars.  I really, really enjoyed this story but I didn’t really fangirl over it which keeps me from giving it that fifth star.  But I’ll definitely be reading the rest of the series, along with anything else written by Laini Taylor.

Find it:  Goodreads │ Amazon │ Hachette Book Group
You may also enjoy:  GracelingFinder Pure
Disclaimer:  I purchased this book myself.  I was not compensated in any way for this review.


  1. Kate Midnight Book Girl

    January 11, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    I'm glad you liked it, but I totally fangirl all over this book. It's just so well written and the characters are all so compelling, and it made me feel all the feelings.

  2. Monica

    January 11, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    I'm really glad you liked this book! I agree with Kate, I'm one of the fangirls when it comes to DoS&B as well. It was definitely one of my favorite books for 2012. Its magical world and characters completely fascinated me. I can't wait to read Days of Blood and Starlight, too!

  3. Andrea @ Cozy Up

    January 11, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    This is one book that I so badly want to read, but there is so much hype around it I can't bring myself to pick up a copy yet. I think I'm going to wait until the series is complete and then read them all together. I'm glad you liked it, and I can't believe with all the talk around it that I still haven't read it! >_< Great review!

  4. Sarah Elizabeth

    January 11, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    I got so confused by this book! I instantly loved it when I started reading it, and then somewhere around half way, things started getting a bit more complicated and I just could not keep track. Even having finished it I'm not really sure what happened. I've read loads of good reviews about the second book in the series, but I'm still not sure if I want to read it or not.
    The fact that so many people like it so much gives me hope that I might get it if I re-read it!
    Great review :)

  5. Kay

    January 11, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    I enjoyed this book, but not as much as most. For some reason the first half of the book made me slightly bored. On the other hand, I love Brimstone, such a unique and complex character, and that game they play is downright awesome. Great review!

  6. LHughes

    January 14, 2013 at 1:42 am

    I'm so glad you enjoyed this book! I adored the beautiful writing, unique settings, fascinating characters, and intricate story.

    It's been so long since I read this that I completely forgot about Zuzana and the ex-boyfriend til you mentioned them! I loved Zuzana! As soon as I finish Raven Boys, I plan to re-read Daughter of Smoke and Bone and then devour Days of Blood and Starlight. I'm so excited!!!!

    Lauren @ Hughes Reviews

  7. fakesteph

    January 14, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    Ahhh yes, I love this one SO MUCH! I want to reread it.

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