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Book Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Title: Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Author: Laini Taylor
Publisher: Little Brown Books
Published: September 27, 2011
Reviewer: Lyanna
Rating: 5 stars


"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?"

Can we take a moment to give Laini Taylor a round of applause

for creating one of the best books I’ve ever read! 

She had been innocent once, a little girl playing with feathers on the floor of a devil's lair. She wasn't innocent now…


Most books tell you a story. They portray a world and bring life to characters. Laini Taylor brings you inside the book, she sucks you in with her enticing words, alluring you with dark humour and worlds more vivid and real than the one you live in. Her writing is so spot-on, so sharp, so accurate that it would seem like her words were your own. 

What I loved the most from this book was that Laini Taylor left out the religious crap that nobody cares about that strings along in books about angels. She completely left it out and I was basically ecstatic with joy I could've almost kissed her. She was able to build a different dimension of a world without fault. 

She throws in all these architectural aspects of Prague and she places such care into mixing the right spices to achieve the right flavour in every mood in every scene and it's like looking at art through words. It's like staring through a mirror in a room without light, it's like waking up without ever feeling that disoriented state after surfacing from your slumber. It's like many little things you love in life that you don't give enough attention to, but life wouldn't be life without them. That is Laini Taylor's writing.

'I don't know many rules to live by,' he'd said. 'But here's one. It's simple. Don't put anything unnecessary into yourself. No poisons or chemicals, no fumes or smoke or alcohol, no sharp objects, no inessential needles--drug or tattoo--and...no inessential penises either.'

You hear that kids? No inessential penises!
Unless it comes from Will Herondale
*another standing ovation for Laini Taylor*


KAROU: Karou was very real to me. She wasn't some pointless "brave" protagonist that authors make to prove a point to their readers. She wasn't written to be perfect, she did not lead legions into battle the first chance she got. She was real. I'm tired of plastic, unrealistic, figurehead heroines… TIRED OF THEM. Karou is someone who you could imagine as your friend, sitting with you in a cafe for a cup of tea, albeit the blue hair and sudden disappearances.

My favourite Karou-moment was when she took revenge on Kaz. Sweet gratifying revenge, you see, if it were any other YA book, the author - taking a high and mighty route - would've made Karou endure the encounter and oh just be a perfect example for the readers. BLEH! Bullsh*t, this is human. She is human. Sometimes, my lovely authors (excluding Ms. Taylor) you have to give your protagonists some flaws or else they'll be so insufferably perfect that we'd rather shave our heads than be like them.

But then, of course, she also has her fair share of bad-assery moments. Karou will not be left out of the "bad-ass heroine club," no, or else that blue hair would go to waste. She knows her way with knives (oh those lovely crescent blades) and self-defense without over-doing it. PRAISE THE LORD FOR AUTHORS LIKE LAINI TAYLOR.

ZUZANNA: I LOVE ZUZANNA LIKE A SISTER FROM ANOTHER MISTER. If I could only copy-paste her from the book into real life… oh the money I'd pay. Place Zuzanna and Karou together and you'll have a two-girl army. I can't, for the love of god, understand how Laini Taylor does it! She mixes all these characteristics like spices in a culinary dish and it comes out with a spectacular flavour that leaves your taste buds yearning for more. 

OTHER CHARACTERS: There's Brimstone, the perfect not-so-soft father, but not-too-harsh-not-father, if you get what I mean. Remember that character who's serious but is actually really sweet and kind and soft and loveably cute and you just want to hug them tight and never let go?? Yeah, that's Akiva. Then there's Issa who - undoubtedly - is also pretty awesome.


I wasn't sure of what to expect when I started this book. The only reason I picked it up was because it involved Angels and I'm a sucker for Seraphim. But I got more than what I bargained and it ended up being in my favour. I really enjoyed it. Reading this book was like drinking water after a really long trek in the desert.

Based off this review, what do you think?

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