Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

6 February, 2012

There was a huge buzz a while back about Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor and although I didn’t jump on it, I suggested it to a friend of mine since she was looking for a good book to read and enjoyed all my recs (see, I have very appreciative friends!) I did say to her that I hadn’t read the book but she went ahead and bought it anyway. And she texted me to let me know that it was amazing and when next I saw her for a spot of lunch, she’d brought her copy along for me to read. I love my friends.

I have to admit I’m feeling a bit of angel saturation at the moment and put off reading this book while I finished the books on my bedside. And when I started Daughter of Smoke and Bone, I have to admit I wasn’t sure but as I kept on reading, the novel slowly charmed me. The teenage protagonist, Karou, annoyed me a little because…well, because she’s a teenager and I’m no longer one. But Laini Taylor’s setting, Prague instead of the usual London, Paris or New York, quickly set the tone for the unusual premise of this novel. And it’s like no other I’ve read in recent years.

Karou has blue hair, studies at art school and works part-time for Brimstone, a creature from Elsewhere who lives in a hidden house with doors that open anywhere in the world, in exchange for little wishes. She sports many tattoos of which the two eyes in her palm are the strangest and were given to her as a baby when she was looked after by Brimstone and his strange friends who deal in teeth.
When tragedy strikes and Karou loses access to her family, she must use her arcane knowledge to try and find them again. And in the shadows is a seraphim burning with vengeance who has set his eyes upon her.

OK, I’m not going to go on about the plot here because I think you should read it plus it’s the first in a trilogy featuring Karou, a teenager who is not quite human. I enjoyed the world building, the strange creatures that inhabit this tale and the 1,000 year war between the seraphim and the chimaera. And I particularly liked Brimstone. The angels here are scary and made me want to read Milton’s Paradise Lost. Taylor’s imagery is beautiful and she conjures up a world rich in detail.

And although this is a YA novel (and there’s nothing wrong with that), I enjoyed reading about the different relationships without feeling that they were oversimplified.

So, I’m really looking forward to the next installment. Have you read Daughter of Smoke and Bone? What did you think of it?

6 Responses to “Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor”

  1. Nic Says:

    Must confess, I wasn’t impressed with this one when I read it last year. (I reviewed it for SFX – will dig out the review this evening and post it to Eve’s Alexandria.)

    I found the most-sparkly-beautiful-people-ever! romance rather overwrought and was unconvinced by the portrait of Prague. The backstory was interesting, though, and I actually quite liked Karou – at least there’s an in-story reason for her being the most special, omni-skilled teenager in existence. 🙂 And then *that* plot twist happened, and Taylor lost me completely. (Is there any way to hide spoilerish text in a WP comment thread…?)

    • sakura Says:

      Not sure if you can hide the spoiler unless you can change the colour of the text (?) Will investigate. I can see where you’re coming from as I wasn’t so sure at the beginning but I ended up really enjoying the other world Taylor created. Have to say I wasn’t too surprised by the plot twist though… Will check out your review when it’s up.

  2. carol Says:

    I don’t read much YA but I like everything I’ve heard about this one. It’s on my to-read list, but not sure how long until I get to it.

  3. I haven’t taken note of this one, but it does sound interesting; I’m adding it to my list. The idea of scary angels and the seraphim in the shadows…

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