Saturday, July 28, 2012

Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Hi all!

Here is a review of an awesome book and an awesome start to a great YA series.

Author: Laini Taylor
Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1
Release date: 27th of September 2011
Reading level: FICTION – JUVENILE: YA, Romance, Supernatural, Fantasy
Pages: 417 in Hardback
Source: Bought from The Book Depository


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?


The plot of Daughter of Smoke and Bone rushed forward at full speed like the fastest, grandest, most exciting ride towards a mysterious, gorgeous, it-will-leave-you-breathless-from-fascination destination. Unfortunately, it hit the breaks and lost a lot of its steam half way. Despite that, this book is still incredibly imaginative, different, attention grabbing and you can’t put it down, definitely a start of an awesome series.
Everything left me breathless the whole first half of the book. The whole mythology was intriguing, original – just plain awesome. Along with Karou I was trying to figure out the mystery behind her family of colorful, scary but warm “monsters” who seemed a loving and caring contrast to the tasks Karou was supposed to complete for them. The setting in Prague (I love Prague, so it was an added bonus to imagine the places in the book I have also been to), the secrets (what are the teeth for?), the excitement for what is actually going on or what will happen next (who or what is Karou?), the interesting characters (take your pick) – a great set up for a mesmerizing read.
However, as mentioned some of the “magic” was lost the instant Akiva became a prominent person in the story. My issue wasn’t really with Akiva as a character, but when he took over, other priorities came to the foreground and a lot of the action, nail-biting-excitement and mystery was left in the background of the relationship of Karou and Akiva. The connection between them gained the spotlight. I’m the first to claim that I adore a great romance, but I have to admit, to my own surprise, that I loved the action and previous storyline focus a lot more.
Karou was an incredibly likable heroine. She was tough but vulnerable, unique but relatable, mischievous but serious, a big puzzle but real, basically, a heroine I almost have no complaints for, but since we live in reality, I still found two. I couldn’t connect with her “past side” which at least to me was too cliché and sugary perfect. I also must scold her on her relationship with Kaz, he was just a narcissistic douchebag I so badly wanted to punch, luckily, Karou took care of him quite classily at one point and quite brutally at another. Hope to never see you again Kaz, tata! Otherwise, Karou rocked, a great heroine for a great book.
Akiva as a character remained somewhat distant to me as a reader. Yes, he was hot, cool and tough but I feel as compared with Karou we only managed to scratch the surface of his potential. We were provided with a lot of information regarding his past, but I feel it still remained on the surface and there should be a lot more hidden behind his stoic hard face. I honestly hope the author allows him to develop and my hunch that “still waters run deep” in his case will be applicable when the story continues. I did, however, love his fearlessness to go for something he desired risking everything and anything. That was very un-angel like but thoroughly appreciated.
Angels: now these are some badass, frightening, cool angels. Wings full of fire, one more gorgeous that the other, serious and strong fighting machines. Nevertheless, I’m hoping the author introduces us to more “human” or not so perfectly cold angels. I’d love to meet a truly classical “angel-like” angel, I’m curious as to how the author would depict him/her. Despite this, I really like how they are not too soft or pure, it gives them more depth and authority.
Monsters: While angels completely filled in their position as powerful otherworldly but not so holy beings and as expected, monsters I felt had some itsy bitsy room for development. The concept is impressive and original, it’s just that I didn’t feel as intimidated by them as I did with the angels. I also felt that they represented the “good guy” role instead of the “bad guy” role in the clash with the angels a little bit better once you got to know about the conflict. Nevertheless, I expect the author will have me changing my mind and wondering who is right and who is wrong through the series. And I have to say that I can’t wait! What I also found extremely sweet was Karou’s family, especially Brimstone, he was such a loving father figure to her, he was so caring but not overbearing and he gave her independence and let her make her own choices. There were a couple of scenes with Karou’s family that made my eyes a little wet and I never cry while reading a book, so that to me proves how good the story really is.
This book is must read! It’s pure young adult awesomeness at its best that everyone can enjoy. While it did slow down during the second half and I lost some of my enthusiasm, it’s still a compulsory book. I, myself, just can’t wait to read the second book to come out if not for any other reason, which there is a billion, but to see what happens after the cruel cliff-hanger in the end.

4 stars!



Post a Comment