[Review] Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke and Bone
(Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1)
Author: Laini Taylor
Publication: September 27th, 2011 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Page count: 418 (Paperback)
Genre: YA – Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance

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?


Before starting this series, I’d been highly recommended by a lot of bloggers that this book was amazeballs and the writing was so beautiful it was totally unbelievable how such gorgeousness could exist. To be honest, I was underwhelmed because it took me so long to be fully engrossed in the story.

“She had been innocent once, a little girl playing with feathers on the floor of a devil’s lair. She wasn’t innocent now, but she didn’t know what to do about it. This was her life: magic and shame and secrets and teeth and a deep, nagging hollow at the center of herself where something was most certainly missing.” 

Karou is a great heroine – she is eccentric with her blue hair, tough, independent and definitely not a damsel in distress. She has initiatives and needs no man to save her. However, I’m not gonna lie that I felt completely detached from her most of the time, which made me rather uninterested in the beginning. I didn’t feel like I was her, in her mind, breathing the same Prague air. Instead, I felt like I was only an outsider, watching her from the distant like there was a giant screen in front of me. Moreover, the forbidden romance between Karou and Akiva seems to happen too fast. This, of course, saddened me since I had a huge expectation to begin with.

“Have you ever asked yourself, do monsters make war, or does war make monsters?” 

There isn’t much happening in the first half either. It’s basically an introduction to the world Laini Taylor has created (which I greatly appreciated, by the way). We are kept in the dark, with only bits and bits of clues scattered on the pages. But once everything is unveiled, wow… I mean, WOW… the chimaera world and its exotic creatures were extremely mesmerizing I wanted to cry. The writing is a little tedious during the first half, but the descriptions of the other world are reasonably detailed so it wasn’t hard for me to get lost in it. 

My last complain was the romance. It started too fast, became much more engaging, but near the end it was a tad too dramatic and predictable for my taste. I suppose romance is pretty dominant in this book and it doesn’t take over the WHOLE plot, thank goodness. But I was hoping for more action and badassary so it was a let-down.

I cannot overlook the fact that I was disappointed in a few ways. However, Daughter of Smoke and Bone becomes more and more beautiful the closer we get to the last page. I would recommend this book to people who love beautiful writing and exquisite worldbuilding.

16 thoughts on “[Review] Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor”

  1. Sunny and I were literally looking at this book earlier today. I was so tempted to buy it but I didn’t like the Australian cover so I’m going to order it online from the Book Depository. I’m excited and I hope the hype doesn’t ruin it for me as well.

  2. This is actually the series I’m starting next after I finish The Assassin’s Blade, and I’m really glad to see a review that’s a bit more realistic than the others. I do love world building, so I’m pretty sure I’ll enjoy it, but thanks for the heads up about the over-hype!

  3. I just re-read my review, and it surprised me! I remember feeling like something was missing, so I rated it 4 stars. But I don’t remember being so attached to Karou – I wrote about how I was so invested in her, that I was oblivious to the clues pointing toward a history between her and Akiva. I wonder if with a re-read, I would find the plot predictable if I was paying more attention! Haha

    Hopefully you find the romance isn’t as frustrating in Days of Blood and Starlight. I definitely felt the angst throughout that book, but both Akiva and Karou had bigger things on their plates than their messy feelings for one another.

    1. Ooh god, angst?? D; I don’t like it when relationship become so angsty, especially considering the ending of DOSAB, I should have been able to see the direction it is heading >< Thanks for the heads-up, Kelly!

  4. I agree about the writing, it’s just so pretty. I think I remember having some issues getting into the story as well, although I did end up enjoying it a bit more :p The romance got a pass from me because the characters share a past but yeah, definitely developed fast.

    1. Yeah, technically they have known each other for so long and I DID get invested on their relationship development. But then it got so dramatic for my taste… The love confession, etc ><

  5. I really want to read this too (due to the many, MANY recommendations!) but I think I may react the same way as you and be slightly let down as I’ll go in with really high expectations. I don’t have a lot of patience with slower paced books/writing styles either, which also makes me a bit hesitant. I do really want to read it though and will probably pick it up soon!

    Great review! 😀

    1. Haha, TOTALLY understand what you mean. I fell for the hype too! :p Which I don’t fully regret because I don’t normally read angel books. BUT STILL. Cursed my high expectations… ><

  6. The worldbuilding and Laini’s writing style is definitely the strong points of this series. 🙂 I’m sorry that you didn’t enjoy it as much as the hype suggested you would, K.
    Sometimes I’m glad that I read books before the reputation goes huge so I do not really have high expectations toward the stories….

  7. I totally love the worldbuilding of this book too!! So glad that you also find the world beautiful 😀
    And yep, I kinda agree with you about the romance happening too fast. But I guess I’m kinda sold on the idea of true love that’ll happens, whether Karou was Madrigal or herself kind of idea, ahaha 😀

    Anyway, great review Kez!
    And I’m now back from my hiatus! Yay!

    Neysa @ Papier Revue

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