Sunday 18 September 2011

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laine Taylor

Pages - 420
Published by Hodder and Stoughton in September 2011

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 lovely. The falling snow and the early hour conspired to paint Prague ghostly, like a tintype photograph, all silver and haze. 

Goodreads Summary
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 grown dangerously low.
And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly 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 opening sentences of the book were descriptive and hypnotic, as the melody of the words transported me to the snowy sights of Geneva. The author's attention to detail is extremely thorough. Her use of imagery evoked a sensory journey into a world we believe to be similar to ours.  I was smitten from page one. 

Reading this book is like falling through the rabbit hole alongside Alice into Wonderland. You are happily reading the book, thinking you have an idea where this story will lead, then the author whips the carpet away from you and you keep falling down a hole into a completely different story. Literally half way through the book you will repeat the following words:


You don't believe me do you? Just trust me on this one. 

Once you learn more about Brimstone and what is hiding behind the door, you will answer your questions over Brimstone and his incessant need for teeth!

The way the author writes has me reminiscent of a Charles De Lint book I once read. The way her characters can tread from one world to the next with ease. Laini Taylor makes fantasy believable. 

This book is full of changing relationships where you struggle to work out whether Karou's family and friends are good or bad for her. Each character has a dual dimension and you are not sure if their actions are for the greater good or evil. There is an element of Romeo and Juliet to the book, which pulls the whole story together.

My favourite character has to be Kishmish. Oh how I cried! 
Karou is a sassy little lady, who looks all sweetness and light, yet can get you in a headlock in seconds. She is not to be messed with. She is clever and determined, not stopping at anything until she finds out how to reach the only family she has ever known. 

I am struggling to not tell you anything about this book, because you really have to read it. It isn't like any book I have read in ages. So much of it, is so unexpected, leaving you wondering what will happen in the next book. 
Just go read it and come back and talk to me when you have finished!


  1. I cannot wait to get my hands on this book. I totally believe you about how good it is and I'm already excited about it. Great review!

  2. amazing isnt it? I couldn't put it down, it was exactly the thing that all fantasy should be! Cant wait for more from Laini Taylor

  3. LOL. I love books that surprise me like that. This one sounds like a must read!

  4. Well if you loved it then I guess I better read it ASAP.

  5. Lol, I love those words you repeated :D That sure makes me understand and want this book

  6. Your review makes me want to read this one Viv. And such a pretty cover too.

  7. Wonderful, enthusiastic review, Vivienne! It amazes me how many books you read and review. And so many of them sound fantastic, like this one!

  8. I MUST read this one. Great review and makes me want this even more. x

  9. My review is up tomorrow and I'm not telling much either. I wrote it some time ago, perhaps I should go back and check that it's not all incoherent ramblings of a mad woman obsessing over a book lol

    I loved Kishmish as well! Aah, the heartbreak is back now.

  10. I added a link to your review in my own :) It wasn't up yet when I wrote mine originally but it deserves to be there so people can be persuaded to read this book :D

  11. oh I can't wait to read this! Great review, this book is top of my 'to be acquired' list :-)

  12. Excellent review! This is one I still need to read but I've put it off. Too many positive reviews make me wary I'll admit but I'm glad you enjoyed it!


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