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Book Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

December 11, 2011

First Line: Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love. It did not end well.

The Short Version: This book rocks. You should read it immediately, and not be discouraged by the first few chapters (that move a little slowly for me).

BOTBS (Back of the Book Summary): 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 grows dangerously low. And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly 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.

My Thoughts: (Side note: how cool is that first line?) I had heard a lot about this book before I picked it up. At the CLA (California Library Association) Conference in October, it was one of the only books people could talk about. Thankfully, they talked about it without spoilers. I got this copy from my internship supervisor, who got it as an ARC from the ALA (American Library Association) conference.

I felt like the first few chapters were slow, but were incredibly well-written. I wasn’t bored, but I wasn’t entirely hooked yet. That changed quickly, and soon I was wondering exactly how I could dress up as Karou for Halloween. Laini Taylor has created a completely badass heroine, who manages to be strong, independent, and unique. She also manages to pull off a magical world completely connected to our own – one of the best alternate world stories I’ve ever read.

I didn’t see any of the plot twists coming (and there are many – avoid spoilers if you can!), and I was almost moved to tears at several points. I kept growing more connected to the characters and the story, and I can’t wait for the sequel to come out.

Who Would Like It: Uh, everyone. I’d specifically recommend it to teens or adults who were looking for a fantasy fix, especially if they were into urban fantasy. Also, this book will appeal very strongly to fans of Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel series, as they have some similar mythological elements.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 11, 2011 10:14 pm

    The opening line reminds me of the Twilight Saga opening line. While not the same words per se, they have that same haunting effect. I am glad to hear that there is a strong heroine in this one though, because Meyer’s Bella was traditional, weak, and anti-feminist. Granted I may be wrongfully assuming that this is some semblance of a love story focused on the “other/outsider” like Twilight. Anyways, this book sounds right up my alley- so thanks for the review!

    • December 12, 2011 8:04 am

      It did remind me of Twilight a little, at least in topic. The writing was much more to my liking though, and I will always love a heroine who can use some cool weapons.

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