Book Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Laini Taylor, I bow at your feet.  Your mastery of the written word leaves me in awe.  This is the second book I have read by you that left me mesmerized, and I will now read anything you write.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone
by Laini Taylor
Read on Kindle
Genre: Fantasy

***I was careful not to include spoilers in this review***

Karou’s double life has been filled with secrets.  One life she is an art student in Prague, and her other life she bounds from portal to portal collecting teeth for a monster named Brimstone.  When she encounters an angel with eyes of fire, her life is ripped apart and she learns the secret of who she really is.

What I loved:
Laini Taylor’s writing style is captivating.  Her imagery, similes, and use of sensory details are unmatched by any other YA author I’ve read.  Her writing kind makes me pause mid-chapter and think “Beautiful.”  But it also makes me cry a little on the inside because I’d have to work for an entire lifetime to be able to write like that.  It’s so clearly Laini’s calling to be a writer.  She’s gifted.

World building.  The world she’s crafted is enchanting.  The attention to detail and unique settings left me wanting to book a plane to Prague and step through a portal to a ball in the streets of a chimaera city.  More importantly though, her fantasy world worked.  As in, there weren’t gaping holes in her logic.  I wasn’t left wondering about the magic, “well if they can do blah-blah, then why can’t they zap and get out?”  Some recent fantasy series I’ve read had logistical issues in how the world worked, but Laini’s world was full of balance and counterbalances.

Plot.  I would be in total utter shock if someone said they predicted everything in this book.  Laini created an elaborate puzzle where readers were given many intriguing pieces with no foresight as to how they would fit together.  The ending is immensely satisfying (despite the cliffhanger) because the pieces and stories have come together in such perfect harmony that you wonder how Laini managed to hide what now seems so clear.  I’m impressed at how she was able to weave three different POVs so seamlessly, and how she decided to reveal bits of information at just the right time.

Characters.  Karou, Zuzana, Brimstone, Akiva, Madrigal all have a little corner of my heart.  Each character had strong motivations behind their actions.  Karou wants to feel whole and discover what’s missing inside her.  Zuzana wants to be trusted by her friend.  Brimstone… well, I don’t want to spoil that one.  Same with Akiva and Madrigal.  But as I’m looking back on the book, I’m realizing that every early action and characterization fits in with each character’s greater purpose and makes perfect sense now that the puzzle is solved.  *sigh*  Total satisfaction!

My Rating:
Definitely 5 stars.  I loved it.  Will go on my all-time favorites shelf.  Anyone who enjoys fantasy should read this.  I’ve really lucked out in my book choices lately.  Between this book and Divergent, I’m curious if the next book I read could possibly live up to such high standards.

Content Warnings
Some mild references to sex and some violence.  Would recommend to ages 14 and up.

7 comments on “Book Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone

  1. elena says:

    I really love Laini Taylor's writing too, I think it's very exquisite and draws you in. I know some people aren't fond of this book but they do appreciate the writing! I love the world she built too. I think everyone wants to visit Prague after this book, haha. Hopefully the next book you read is just as great too!

  2. Sounds amazing! Thanks for the recommendation.

  3. LHughes says:

    My next book is going to be Liesl and Po by Lauren Oliver. I've heard great things about Lauren Oliver, and this will be my first book by her. I'm hopeful it'll be great 🙂

  4. Susan says:

    I've heard so much about this book that I just had to buy it. I haven't gotten around to reading it yet, but I will one of these days …Glad to have found your blog!

  5. tridgeman says:

    Read this based on your recommendation – really liked it, especially the plot "twist." But was bummed that it was only the first in a series!! I have been to Prague and that really helped me picture the setting. She definitely had Prague pegged and described its medieval streets well.

  6. LHughes says:

    I'm so glad you liked it! I loved the plot twist too! That's so cool that you've been to Prague! I'm so jealous! And I like hearing that the author managed to describe Prague accurately! The next book will be out this fall and is titled "Days of Blood and Starlight."

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