Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1) Hot
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?
Holy Gorgeous Writing, Batman!
One of the interesting things about being late to read a really hyped book is that everyone reports to you with their predictions of and hope for your reaction to the title. There's no doubt that Daughter of Smoke and Bone has been heavily hyped. Despite that, my expectations remained relatively low, because I'd heard of instalove and angels, neither of which generally work for me. While this book did not turn out to be a five star read for me as it has been for so many, DOSAB actually impressed much more than I ever could have anticipated.
Laini Taylor writes beautifully. Her prose has an edge to it that results in an entirely different atmosphere than I'm used to reading, and that was so unbelievably refreshing. Something about the phrasing really sold me on the foreign setting as well. The characters and setting and syntax did not feel American. Taylor's writing bursts with dark humor, which I just love. Seriously, the amount that I love her writing can hardly be overstated.
If I had to use a single word to sum up DOSAB, I met say 'refreshing,' because this book has a feeling all its own. Though on the surface, the plot seems somewhat ho-hum, another special snowflake set to fall in love with the super gorgeous paranormal hero, that barely scratches the surface. Laini has clearly put a ridiculous amount of thought into the building of this world. She has created an incredibly vivid landscape that came alive in my mind.
Karou sets herself apart from the garden variety heroine very quickly. Yes, she can make wishes and have them come true because of the chimaeras that raised her, and, yes, she will fall in instalove with a sexy paranormal, but she has so much verve that makes her just Karou and like no one else. Karou has blue hair (thanks to a wish), tattoos, and speaks numerous languages (also thanks to wishes). She attends art school in Prague, and has a clear passion for drawing. Brimstone, Karou's chimaera guardian taught her how to defend herself too, so she also kicks ass. When we meet her, Karou has recently dumped her first boyfriend Kaz, whom she thought she loved and with whom she had sex for the first time. Karou is a much edgier, darker heroine than can generally be found in young adult fiction and I loved her snark.
Her best friend, Zuzana, however, totally stole the show. I freaking adore Zuzana. For one thing, it's completely wonderful to get to read about a real friendship like theirs. They share ideas for projects, play delightful-sounding games together at their favorite cafe (for example How much would your life have to suck to want the Apocalypse?), and actually talk about stresses in Zuzana's life, not just those in Karou's. In fact, Karou cares so much that she scheduled a trip out of her way just to buy a present for Zuzana. This was such a delight after so many YA heroine using their supposed BFFs as doormats. Zuzana has an even darkier, dirtier wit than Karou. Also, she and Mik are so completely adorable, although a bit to prone to PDA.
As much as I geared up to hate the instalove in DOSAB, that aspect of the book really did not bother me. Karou and Akiva certainly do trade some eyerollingly cheesy lines, but they're not nearly as ridiculous as most instaloving characters. They do at least both show some evidence of a personality, which always help. What really made this okay, though, was Taylor's writing and the fact that there's sort of a reason for all of this.
Oh, also, I need to mention again how cool the creatures in here are. The chimaeras are like nothing I've read about before. More surprisingly, so are the angels. Taylor's seraphs are definitely my favorite angels thus far. Why? Because they have nothing whatsoever to do with religion! That reminds me of another thing I loved: each group of creatures had their own explanation for the creation of the universe.
Up to this point, I have pretty much been raving. Here's where I had to mark the book down. Through roughly the first half of the book, DOSAB could even conceivably have earned a 4.5 from me. However, most of the last half consisted of flashbacks to Akiva's relationship with his first love, the late Madrigal. While I see that these contained necessary information for the reader, they bored me quite a bit. Akive evinces a bit more personality, but does not have enough charisma to carry my interest. Madrigal, sadly, interested me not at all; she seems to have so little to her. Basically, as long as these flashbacks continued, I kept hoping that the end of the next chapter would bring me back to the present time with Karou. When they're finally over, so is the book. Le sigh.
Anyway, I ordered Days of Blood and Starlight when I was only partway through and will be devouring that very soon. From the reviews and statuses I've seen about that one, I suspect it will be a much stronger read for me.
Stop What You're Doing and Read This
At several points while reading DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE, I thought to myself, “I am so grateful that there are people with brains like Laini Taylor. What a gift to have an imagination that can create such amazing characters and worlds.” Make sure you clear some room in your calendar when you pick up this novel, because you won’t be able to do anything until it’s completed.
Karou has always been a little bit odd: as a Prague art student, she draws monsters that she claims are real, she is always off on exotic and secretive errands, and her blue hair seems to grow naturally. Her smirk belies the fact that everything she says is true. She was raised by chimaera, monsters who are in an epic war against seraphim, also known as angels. The closest thing she has to a father is Brimstone, a disgruntled creature who hoards teeth and grants wishes. When Karou comes face to face with the handsome seraph Akiva, their history tells them to fight, but their instincts won’t let them.
While this may sound like a common paranormal romance plot, Taylor elevates these elements with her gorgeous prose. DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE gave me the impression that Taylor has traveled widely, for her descriptions of Prague, Morocco, and Boise are all accurate and gorgeous. On the other hand, the alternate world Elsewhere is just as beautifully written, so maybe Taylor is just an immensely gifted writer. Scratch that. It is obvious that Taylor is immensely gifted. Each sentence feels like it was polished lovingly before being handed to the reader. When I read lines like, “A trill of laughter, the scent of cinnamon and donkeys, and color, everywhere color”, I am beside Karou in the Marrakesh market. The lush and dark imagery in the novel make for a perfect autumn read.
DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE is told in three parts and it is a testament to Taylor’s skill that while I wanted to find out what would happen next, I was always sad to leave part of the novel behind. While the final section of the book does not match the suspense and mystery of the earlier parts, it does answer many of my questions and sets the reader up for an agonizing wait for a sequel. As I eagerly await news on when it will be published, I will be busy reading everything else that Laini Taylor has ever written.
Like this review? You can read similar reviews at my website, www.bookchomper.blogspot.com.
Remarkable Prose, Charming Setting
Let me say up front, this was a supremely difficult book for me to rate/review...especially in coming up with a spoiler-free assessment. But it deserves that much, so here we go.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone begins as a sort of YA urban-fantasy, teetering on the verge of New Adult thanks to the heroine's raised-by-monsters state of independence and the Euro-centric cultural feel. (Oh, and more mentioning of 'penis' than I normally encounter in YA.) I would argue that, at a little past the halfway mark, the whole tone shifts and we're plunged into a full-on NA Fantasy...but I'll get to that a little later.
The story more or less swept me off my feet from the onset, and into the tantalizing vividness of modern-day Prague. The city itself was probably my favorite character. (At once archaic and exotic, by my meager American standards.) The heroine, Karou, lives what must be every art student's reverie—though she's also adrift, not allowed to know who or what she is. I flew through the first half and can honestly say I loved it—largely due to Laini Taylor's evocative prose and liquid-awesome style. Beautiful, darkly complex writing that rolls around in the mind and clings like a warm syrup.
While I deeply enjoyed the first 250 pages or so, I also have to say the dropping of details and backstory was somewhat sparse. The reader is strung along at great length waiting for more pieces of the puzzle. I was willing to be patient, hoping for a grand payoff. But what I ultimately encountered was a sort of atom-bomb of world-building encased in one of the longest flashbacks I've ever encountered. The abrupt surge of other-worldly sociopolitical, cultural, historical, alternate mythological, and fantasy elements left my head a bit muddled. At that point, it also seemed like we lost Karou and had to become acquainted with someone else entirely. And for this reader at least, that last 1/3rd of the book became a somewhat dissonant slog that almost felt like an entirely different book.
Oh, and there's insta-love—or near enough to it. Which is apparently fated, but I'm not clear on why. Don't get me wrong—I appreciated the fantasy parallels to Romeo and Juliet. But as the hero/love interest, Akiva fell a bit flat. He just seemed to be missing some intangible -something- I couldn't quite put my finger on, but which would have made him come more alive. And at the (somewhat dismal) end...I find I'm still not clear on why, exactly, so much critical information was kept from Karou. (If someone can offer some reasoning I may have missed, I'm all ears! Er...eyes? >.> But certainly not teeth, hehe.)
I will be keeping an eye out for more of Taylor's works. A different sort of plotline could make all the difference, and her way with words is too delectable not to sample further.
Absolutely loved it!
This book was really good! I started and finished it in one day!
I loved the characters and all of the attention to detail that Laini Taylor put into the chapters. I felt like I was actually there most of the time. Amazing writing!! Definitely worth a read!
I loved the plot development and the character development throughout the entire book. I was not able to predict the ending, which is something that I find is happening more and more with YA novels. It was really refreshing to read a book that kept my interest and surprised me throughout the entire story.
Less Romance Next Time
I'm well aware of the fact I'm 2 years too late. I get that but hey! I'm here now and that's what counts.
I set out to write this review but I'm still not sure what to say. I keep thinking about the romance between Karou and Akiva. I'll explain my issues with it soon.
First of, the whole paranormal world in Prague was interesting. The architecture, the art, the culture... even the people pretending to be vampires were fun. We meet Karou in a dark alley getting felt up by her ex boyfriend who's an vampire/actor. They broke up because he cheated on her and Karou doesn't want to see his lying face anywhere near her. Kaz doesn't feel the same way and follows her to her art school where he poses naked in front of her whole class. Awkward. She eventually gets her revenge, wishing Kaz gets nasty itches to scratch in his most private places. Her friend Zuzana's there to cheer with her.
Karou's a blue haired girl who loves to draw strange characters with snake tails, bull heads and some human parts. What you didn't know is those characters are real. They are Issa and Brimstone, her sort of guardians. They deal with wishes and can open a portal to just about any place on Earth you could imagine with simply opening their door. Karou helps them acquire human/animal teeth for some reason she's still not aware of. She does try to get some info about her parents, herself, even about the teeth but Brimstone is not giving away any secrets.
Like with every other story, things get messy after 'the guy' shows up. A mysterious angel attacks Karou in the streets of Marrakesh. I'm just going to stop here for just a second cause I feel like I should say this. Everybody knows I love a good romance but in this case I prayed for less. I didn't want to read about feelings when there's so much to see in this crazy paranormal universe. Everything was going along fine till Akiva showed up. And they were attracted towards each other right from the start.
I was so ready to hate the second part of the book because of the dreaded romance but the craziest thing happened. I started liking the whole Karou and Akiva thing. The flashback scenes saved it. If it weren't for them, I would've pegged it as another insta-love.
So, if you're up for some quality paranormal fiction, pick up Daughter of Smoke and Bone. You won't regret it. It's full of magical creatures, drawings, fights between good and evil and of course, a steamy romance.
I love, love, love this book!
The moment I was introduced to this story, I had the feeling that I was going to fall in love with the book and the storyline. It seemed so unique and it was so amazing. It is the story of Karou, a girl who has grown up among... I suppose, demons like Brimstone, although it seems a bit derogatory of a term for such beautiful characters. The author has captured both the idea of a mortal among demons and that demons are not in fact the evil creatures that we believe them to be. Then as you dive deeper into the novel, you find that not everything is as it seems and Karou is certainly not the girl she or you believe her to be. Questions begin to arise as ideas begin to surface. Why is Karou raised among Brimstone and his friends? What happened to make her who she is today? Who is this strange angel that claims to know who she is? Are past lives possible, especially for a girl like her?
I adore Karou for how she is in so many ways. Her character could've either been very unique or one dimensional yet she becomes this confident young woman that captures the rebellious teenage spirit in very unique ways. When she is faced with her ex-boyfriend, she decides to torment him because he definitely ruined her perception of relationships. But this isn't the only way that she pushes boundaries. Brimstone sets certain rules for Karou so that she can remain safe and perhaps a secret. However, she likes to bend them just a little to see if he will let her. She always gets caught and he doesn't let her off easily when she does something wrong. Despite all of this, she loyal to those she loves and would certainly give her life for those that she loves. The one question she longs to have answered is about her past. She has always been human, at least that she remembers but she doesn't know why she lives with Brimstone or how she came to be where she is. This is the beginning of her beautiful journey to discover who she is.
Akiva's presence has certainly caught me off guard when he was first introduce, yet I fell completely in love with his character in every way. I wasn't sure how I would feel about angels being introduced when I was just getting used to the idea that demons are kind and perhaps the good guys. Does that make angels bad guys? Akiva, although, seems to be discontented with his life among his brothers and sisters as a trained soldier to do his father's will. He seems to be unhappy yet he goes through the motions of listening to and following the orders he was given. It is as though his reason for living was taken from him... and it was. He still longs for the woman he once loved and still loves. It is hard not to feel sad for him.
Brimstone was certainly depicted like what would be a terrifying character, yet he came across as a loving, stern man. The way he cares for Karou really made me love his character even more because Karou didn't have a family outside of this ragtag group of people. He really truly becomes the father figure that this young woman needs as he strives to teach her patience and love. Issa as well as all the others become the other family members in this odd ragtag group that becomes a family. They adore her art and Karou herself. She feels like she truly belongs among this people. Finally Kishmish, who is the little messenger boy for Brimstone, always has Karou somewhat on edge when she sees him.
Zuzana is Karou's best friend and this petite little character that holds so much life. I can honestly say that she not only is the best sort of friend that the main character could have but she is the type of friend that every sort of girl needs. The type that won't take all of your crap, will listen when you need them and has so much spirit in them that it not only lifts you up but also keeps the party going even when you feel like you don't want to.
I love, love, love this book. It is intense and lovable. It is unique yet relatable. Thank you Laini Taylor for creating such an amazing cast of characters!
My Favorite book
My husband and I are so happy with this book, it was beyond enjoyable. I loved everything about it. I am so excited about Laini Taylor's writing, it is a joy to read and I want to quote nearly everything. She is an inspiration. I tell everyone about this book.
A beautiful dream
If I had to describe this book in two words, they would be 'rich' and 'vivid'. Daughter of Smoke and Bone is literally alive with the lush settings and characters. There are two distinct races - the Seraphim and the Chimaera, the 'angels' and 'demons'. We have Karou, a seemingly ordinary 17 year old girl, who run errands for Brimstone. She is an artist and that was the first thing that made me like her. Extremely badass, she is not your typical innocent YA heroine. Then we have Brimstone, the apparent magus of the chimaera. Throughout the book, he appears gruff and strict but towards the end you realize he is loving and compassionate. There's also Akiva, tortured by his past and hungry for vengeance. The dynamic between Akiva and Madrigal was slow to develop but it was so beautiful.
This book was so beautiful to read that I now feel like hearing it one again in an audio book version. I never read as audio books, mostly because I like to actually 'read' it. But this is one book I think will be enchanting to re-read on audio
Awesome Main Character & Beautiful Writing
This book is so highly praised that I was apprehensive when I started reading it. I’ve found some books that I loved thanks to the general consensus but I’ve also deviated from the norm, and I was terrified that I would dislike the book everyone else loves, which is never a fun feeling. While Daughter of Smoke and Bone was not an instant favorite, it was very good and I was pleasantly surprised.
Karou is a wonderful main character. She’s witty and strong, but also sometimes sulky and impetuous She really grows in confidence over the course of the book, which is saying something, since she doesn’t exactly start out as a low-confidence character. By the middle, I was actually beginning to worry that she was seeming a little too strong and perfect, but after learning her back story, her character made sense, and I could embrace it once more. She’s a great main character who really holds her own.
Akiva, the “Angel” in this “Angel and Demon” romance, is quite intriguing, to say the least. He’s the epitome of a soldier who’s become dead on the inside and tortured by his past, and you can practically feel his pain radiate off the pages. He’s the type of soul who just seems so broken and beat down by everything that’s happened, you can’t help but to root for him, even when he’s potentially an enemy.
The writing is this book just blew me away. The entire story has a mystical feel, even when it’s set in our world. I loved the introduction to the chapters. They were all short, full of impact, and relevant to the plot. The writing in this book is the type of writing that sucks you in and eventually seems like it disappears altogether. I never consciously felt like I was reading when I was reading this book. It felt more like someone telling a fairy tale or watching a play, and I love when authors are so good at disappearing from their own books that you just completely forget you’re actually reading.
The plot in this book isn’t terribly complex, but it is compelling. Most of the “twists” were easily spotted, but this only slightly inferred with my enjoyment. The back story becomes fairly obvious before it’s actually told, but despite that I was still racing towards the end because I had to be sure. I really like how Laini Taylor takes fairly well-used tropes and subverts them to make a story that feels completely new.
You can find Daughter of Smoke and Bone on Amazon.
Final Impression: This wasn’t an instant-favorite for me, but there are many things I loved about Daughter of Smoke and Bone, mostly the characters. This is a really unique story that compels you to want more, and I loved Karou.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Wow. I have read a lot of really good reviews for a year about this book and I'm so glad that I finally understood why. The only reason I added this to my tbr-pile in 2011 was because of Karou's blue hair. Seriously, who doesn't love a blue hair that grows out of your head? But I never really pursued this book that much, until I got it from Renae's birthday giveaway.
I already felt the eerie and mysterious feeling when I started reading the book. Karou and Prague are both wrapped around that strange feeling that I can't put a finger on. Maybe it's just me, or maybe because of how it was written and presented with Laini's choices of words but it was brilliant. It was like being sucked into another world and watching what's happening. Remember that feeling/look when Harry was watching a memory in the pensieve? Yep, that's it.
I am very much entranced with all the characters. The shifting between the POV was a bit confusing at first, but was not bad at all. I like how the writing seem to shift with the characters. You can really distinguish which character is this about after some time.
The build up since the first page was amazing. It kept me on edge but when seems to cut it after a chapter. I used to hate continuous chapters because it would lack suspense but this had me wishing for it to be written that way because of the anticipation. But that technique (quite evil, actually) worked when the climax happened and some things were revealed. The part where they finally broke the wishbone was one of the heart-stopping moments that I've been waiting for since the first mention of it.
The instant attraction between Akiva and Karou was definitely understandable. There are some things that your heart can recognize even if you can't. But I like how it was first with Akiva before Karou admitted it to herself.
One of the best, and I mean the best, star-crossed love story ever!
This was nothing like what I expected. AT ALL. To be honest, though, I'm not sure what I was expecting.
The setting for Daughter of Smoke and Bone was phenomenal. I know nothing of Prague, but I could imagine myself there. The writing was so descriptive that I could smell the burning embers from the fire and feel the wind whipping over my skin as the characters sat perched on the cathedral watching the sunrise. I could feel these things because it felt like I was there with them. This was probably one of the best settings I have come by.
The plot was pretty interesting as well. Since this is the first of the series, it's setting the stage for the remainder of the books. I have no idea where things will be heading, but I can guess there is one heck of a fight scene brewing. Now, as for a love story... Karou and Akiva were intense. Think Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers, because that's what they were. A fantastical Romeo and Juliet of sorts. As I type this, I can think of more similarities between the two stories, which makes me like this more and more. So I'm going to say that's just what this was: a highly imaginative retelling of Romeo and Juliet.
The characters were pretty solid. Karou and Akiva were layered and very interesting. As their individual stories unfolded, you had glimpses into their pasts. As a reader, though, you were left to fill in most of the gaps until the very end. The supporting characters were also well written for their purpose. There was a fine line between protagonist and antagonist that often became fuzzy. That will be the basis for book 2 (Days of Blood and Starlight).
Overall, I enjoyed it. It did not knock my socks off or leave me speechless. I found myself getting tired of the multiple points of views at time. Karou mostly told the story, but at times Akiva would tell his version. What really through me for a loop was the final third of the book that was told from a different perspective all together. While it helped finalize the story and share insight into Karou's past, it was still a bit confusing upon the initial switch.
I keep pondering over this theme of hope that runs throughout the novel. I know it's important and once I put words to my thoughts, I may change my view of The Daughter of Smoke and Bone.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone
"She had been innocent once, a little girl playing with feathers on the floor of a devil's lair. She wasn't innocent now..."
Don't get mad at me for giving this book two and a half stars! I really wanted to enjoy this book, you guys have no idea how badly I wanted to. This is my second time reading this and my first rating was 2 stars. I thought, maybe, I rushed into it the first time around so I decided to give it another shot. Still disappointing.
The first 200 pages were great (Karou's best friend annoyed me, though), then it just falls from there: everything was getting too predictable. Let me just throw in this isn't going to be a review where I bash this book, because I loved Laini Taylor's writing and the passages from the story. I just didn't enjoy how I started figuring everything out. I never give books I've read half star, but I can't really decide whether to give this 2 stars, or 3.
I also disliked the story of Madrigal, 60 pages based on that story really wasn't needed, so I skipped that part.
This short review is going to contain mild spoilers.
She draws chimaeras in her book. She was raised with them and calls them her family. The people enjoy her stories about these creatures, but they don't believe she's telling the truth; neither about her hair actually being blue. She has weird tattoos on her palms that are eyes called hamsas. She has no idea who she is, where she came from, or who her parents are.
Meet Brimstone, he's a ressurectionist and a teeth collector. He raised Karou and sends her on errands to collect teeth from traders for wishes.
Angels are entering her world from Eretz and making peculiar black hand prints on the portals Karou enters to go to Brimstone's shop. Strange things are going on and Karou starts unravelling her past. She's going to uncover the truth about her hamsas and who she is.
Along the way, she meets Akiva, the angel. They're enemies first, but he starts to fall in love with her. The story begins like this:
"Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love.... It did not end well."