Fantasy, Young Adult

Review – Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #1) by Laini Taylor

DoSaBDaughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (5th June 2012) – originally published in 2011

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 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?

Whenever I make a trip to somewhere, whether it’s a shopping centre or a train station, you can never pull me away from the lure of a bookstore. Kevin not visiting a bookstore is a travesty. I’ve seen Laini Taylor’s books in the bookstores around Malaysia one too many times but I wasn’t compelled to actually pick them up. I have no idea why but I might have taken a moment after finishing Daughter of Smoke & Bone to berate myself for depriving me of such magic. One of the most talked about books among my bookish friends in MyBibliomaniacs, Daughter of Smoke & Bone was such a thrill for me. It was an escape to a world where angels have eyes that could melt your soul and beauty that knows no bounds and their enemies, the chimaera, who are beastly but not without their own beauty.

On one very fateful day, I stumbled upon a copy of Daughter of Smoke & Bone AND its sequel, Days of Blood & Starlight in an inconspicuous bookstore in the main train station in Kuala Lumpur. Such a rare find and they were only RM10 (about $2.50/£1.50) so I had to get them. I’ve checked the reviews Daughter of Smoke & Bone got from my fellow blogger friends and bookish community and there’s nothing but praises sung for the Daughter of Smoke & Bone series. I was intrigued.

How does one write a review on a book that has received so much love from its readers? Daughter of Smoke & Bone is nothing less of a story that dazzles you with its little secrets that entice you to race to the end of the book after you’ve read the first words and what a way for Laini Taylor to open a trilogy.

Once upon a time, an angel and a demon fell in love. It did not end well.

Daughter of Smoke & Bone is one rare gem that made me love the fantasy genre even more. I never thought that I would love the book so much, especially when I got it but I do. When I’m reading it, I get lost in a world Laini Taylor masterfully crafted with beautiful, lush descriptions of the surroundings and funny, heartwarming characters.

Daughter of Smoke & Bone follows the tale of a young art student, Karou who lives in Prague and is raised by four chimaeras. Now, you might think it’s a bit funny or odd that a seventeen-year-old girl has beasts as her family but that’s the best part of the book! Right from the start of the book, I could feel, just feel that I would enjoy the book. Karou is a protagonist you would root for, cheer for her when she triumphs and fails. She’s bright, full of life, flawed but strong. Then, she meets Akiva, a seraph, one day and their paths crossed and sparks fly and their love is forbidden because.. The seraphim and chimaera are enemies. (Think Romeo & Juliet but with horns and wings!)

Laini Taylor, being an absolutely talented storyteller, weaved so many layers of textured and different fabrics that made the story come to life and jump out of the pages and straight into my heart. Karou’s background might come off as a mystery at the beginning of the book, but the great unveiling that Laini Taylor wrote has made every moment of guessing and coming up with theories worth it. So well-written with incredibly wholesome and rich prose that you will take a moment to soak up all the beauty of the words as they paint a glorious, ethereal world in your imagination. I am still in awe because the world building in Daughter of Smoke & Bone is enriched by the most lyrical prose and I fell in love with Laini Taylor’s writing even more. When I was reading Daughter of Smoke & Bone, I was transported to a different world. When I wasn’t reading, this haunting, evocative book was all I could think of.

Daughter of Smoke & Bone is wildly imaginative, the romance in Daughter of Smoke & Bone is sweet, passionate, lush and beautifully written and with descriptions of the world they share that could make you swoon, this book is perfection. Richly crafted with the perfect blend of romance, suspense and magic, get ready to be taken to Elsewhere in an epic and spellbinding adventure.

Daughter of Smoke & Bone is out now. If you’ve read this brilliant book, please let me know what you think! I would really love to talk about it!

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