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?
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.
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.
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The world building in this book is completely superb! One of the best I've ever seen. The characters are so richly developed that I feel like they are really out there somewhere. I feel like the author just sat down with these characters and wrote as they told their story to her. It seems that real. The author's writing feels almost like poetry. It's simply wonderful. She really knows how to tug emotions out of me! I cried when the sad moments hint and laughed and giggled at the happy moments. I simply can't praise this amazing book anymore.
This novel follows Karou, a young girl with bright blue hair and tattoos on her palms that she has had as long as she can remember. She lives differently than we do, she was raised by otherworldly beings and has tiny wishes. She has never felt whole though, there is always a sad longing in her. But as secrets begin to unravel and an Angel removes her only way to see her family, things get dark. Karou will stop at nothing to find them. Though she starts to fall for this angel, starts seeing things about him... maybe even from another life? But will she still love this angel when she found out what he's done to her family?
Karou is a strong character, I know some may see her as that girl that longs for a guy and while she does, don't we all? We all want to find that special someone. She just doesn't let it consume her, it's not her only reason for living. She loves her family and is very loyal to them. It's nice to see a decent family element for once. Some YA books leave out the family or they are dead... just something along those lines. That is not the case here. She is also very strong, she doesn't let people bully her. It's nice to see someone that can be a good role model. Also I totally want bright blue hair now.
So really this is such an amazing start to what I know is going to be one of my favorite series ever. It's just so epic. If you haven't read this book yet, you need to! Drop whatever book you're reading and get this book! I know that you will thank me for it.
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.
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.
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 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!
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
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.
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!