Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Published by Little, Brown and Company in September 2011
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble
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 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 beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery 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?
New favorite book alert!
HOW ABOUT THAT THING I TOTALLY CALLED IN THE VERY BEGINNING. FUCK. I KNEW IT. NOOOO.
I need to address certain parts of my progress updates ( but this isn’t spoilery). Before going into this book, I didn’t know that it was a romance. Sure, I figured there would be some romance, it’s YA after all, but I didn’t know it was literally a romance story. Once I figured that out I didn’t mind the romance aspect at all and I actually found myself really invested in it. So don’t let that scare you if you don’t like romance, it’s not your standard at all. Because damn, it was gripping once you got into it. Also I’m sorry I shit on you, Akiva. I love you, you’re great, you just seemed a bit random to begin with. This book talks about your beauty a lot (a bit too much) but other than that you’re wonderful.
Anyway. This is some imaginative shit. Woah. And this book is magic and fairytales and glorious, majestic creatures and I’m way too into it. Something about the writing in Daughter of Smoke and Bone feels like magic. Cheesy, but true. This is how I want my fantasy. I’m looking at you, A Darker Shade of Magic, with your chalk dry and lifeless writing. Be ashamed. Be very ashamed.
I’m just going to mention everything I loved now.
Laini Taylor doesn’t seem to underestimate her audience. I mean, the book is young adult, but it doesn’t seem held back or simplified in any way. It demands your attention and I really enjoyed the complexity of it.
Just the Chimeara alone are amazing and I can see them perfectly in my mind with just a short description. They’re all beautiful. I loved their world and their customs and their magic system that consists of wishes.
I also really love Karou and Zuzana, her best friend. I loved their friendship and the characters as individuals. Karou is a great lead and if I was here I’d wish for perfect skin and blue hair too. Zuzana and her boyfriend are adorable too.
And the setting is stunning, I have to add that too. It takes place in Prague, Marrakesh, and “Elsewhere”, which is the world of the Chimaera. Everything is very visual, it comes alive in my head and I don’t have to strain myself to imagine anything, not even the absurd-looking Chimaera.
And how interesting is Razgut??? I imagine him kind of like the shriveled up Voldemort in the last Harry Potter movie, just redder and even more gross-looking, with wing-stumps and non-functional legs. Super creepy.
There’s some preeeeetty heavy instalove in this book, between Akiva and Karou, I’ll have to mention that. Like, “I’ve known you for literally a day but I love you and I’ll betray my entire species and family for you.” It annoyed me a great deal until it was revealed that it actually has an explanation and a meaning, it’s not there just because the author couldn’t be bothered to develop her romance. So fine, I can get behind that special case.
But then again, Akiva and Madrigal are very insta-lovey too. At least insta-super-attraction. But I’ll forgive that too, because I actually really, really love them together.
The middle part was where it slowed down a little because of the romance that seemed very sudden at the time, but even then I still enjoyed myself a lot while reading. The world is so rich and there’s a lot to be seen. It soon picked right back up and then it went bananas, like a roller-coaster ride. I loved it so much and I kept reading even though I was about to fall asleep.
I want to talk about my theories too, because I had a lot of fun trying to figure out what’s so special about Karou. My mind went in all kinds of different directions while reading. I had hundreds of theories throughout, none of them right. Awesome.
My theories in chronological order:
- Karou is an angel. Brimstone is protecting her and keeping her safe from the whole conflict after she somehow fell into his care as a baby.
- Maybe he killed her parents (angels)! Maybe he wanted to kill her too but wasn’t able to because hello, a cute and innocent baby. Like a nicer and less creepy Frollo. Maybe he had to tear the little baby’s wings off to disguise her omg the angst.
- Karou is an angel who is also somehow important to the whole war situation, maybe a princess. Let’s hope not because ‘lost princess’ is boring
- Karou is AKIVA AND MADRIGAL’S DAUGHTER. Oh my god, that would be hilarious and very soap-opera-y. Would explain why he cried into her lap
- Okay Karou is definitely not his daughter because if she is then this turned real creepy real fast
- She is definitely still Madrigal’s daughter though MARK MY WORDS
- …………. Well. Close enough?
This was me when the book ended:
THAT ENDING. First I was like TEARS OF JOY then I was like TEARS OF PAIN. Goddamn it, Akiva. I need the next book right now.
Have you read this book? What did you think? Love it, hate it? Let’s discuss!