Daughter of Smoke and Bone Review

Friday, September 16, 2011

Title: Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Author: Laini Taylor
Publisher: Little, Brown BYR
Publish Date: September 27, 2011
Genre: YA, Paranormal
Pages: 432
Source: Publisher

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 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.

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?

Karou is, for all intents and purposes, your average art student living life in Prague. She has an ex boyfriend that treads daily into her life and messes things up, an eccentric best friend and a penchant for drawing wildly daring artwork that seems unimaginably alive. When classmates ask where her inspiration comes from, she smiles and says it's all true. Karou lives a little on the edge behind closed doors though. Her life in secret is one of mystery. Raised by demons, knowing magic and the depth of the realm of possibilities the world has to offer is a beautiful and dangerous gift. So dangerous that meeting Akiva could be both the greatest and worst thing that could have ever happened to Karou.

Before I say anything else, I have to say that no matter what I write in this review, I will never be able to adequately put into words the sheer ingenuity that is Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I've read twists on the paranormal. Heck, I've read at least fifty books claiming they're the next big thing. It's when a book like Daughter of Smoke and Bone creeps up and takes your breath away that you realize there is still room to grow in the young adult genre - there are still ways to dazzle readers and enthrall them with a world beyond our own. Laini Taylor has written a book I want to lose myself in forever. Fabulously original, richly engrossing and utterly refreshing, she's created a world within Daughter of Smoke and Bone that is unlike anything I've ever read and that somehow manages to make me feel both mesmerized and uneasy all at the same time. Lyrical and imaginative, you too will forget where the real world ends and Daughter of Smoke and Bone begins.

The story begins with two lines that could very well serve as the entire synopsis of Daughter of Smoke and Bone: "Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love. It did not end well." If you're thinking of cliches and time-tested angels/demon stories, think again. Daughter of Smoke and Bone is nothing if not original. Whereas so many books regarding good versus evil lapse into a world that pacifies readers with physical beauty and little to no twists on time-honoured tales, Daughter of Smoke and Bone pushes the boundaries. Rather than settling with what we think we know about angels and devils, the book creates a haunting and brilliant backstory that throws every caution and preconceived notion to the wind. Daughter of Smoke and Bone seamlessly merges character development, a brutal, bloody feud and breathtaking imagery into a story that packs a punch throughout. Karou was never overdone. Her confusion and willingness to learn and grow was believable. She wasn't weak, but she wasn't overtly strong either, which made her a character that truly resonated. Then there's the love element. Don't be alarmed though - there is no insta-love in Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Rather, the romance begins to bud far into the story, searing through tense moments and making the events and emotions smolder that much more, making them so much more powerful. Furthermore, it must be said that the verbiage, the tone, the imagery and the setting, in general, were impeccable. Every word in this lengthy story had a purpose, and that is a feat in and of itself.

Like I said though, nothing I can say will do this book justice. You'll simply have to read it to understand the beauty of it for yourself. As one who aspires to someday (hopefully) be an author myself, I have to say I seriously covet the author's writing talents. I give it a 5 out of 5, and I highly recommend it to both YA and adult audiences, especially those who enjoy paranormal and paranormal romance.

I received this ARC free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.

28 comments:

  1. I completely agree! Daughter of Smoke and Bone was...something else. Something magical. I loved it so much! Gorgeous review, Melissa. I know you mentioned not being able to do the book justice, but you really hit the nail on the head. :)

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  2. I agree with Lauren, I think you did this book justice. It was such an amazing story that pulled you in and left you reeling. Absolutely one of my favorites of the year.

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  3. Wow. This is just yet another amazing review for this book! I'm so glad I have a copy sitting on my TBR because I feel like reading it right now. Daughter of Smoke and Bone sounds like the kind of book I need right now. I hope I like it as much as you did Melissa! :)

    Thank you for the review!!

    http://blackfingernailedreviews.blogspot.com/

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  4. So happy to here that the story surpasses the cover. I am extremely excited to read this one after the your rocking review is all thumbs up.

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  5. Sounds amazing... So excited to read this one!!

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  6. Um, wow. That's one of the most beautifully written reviews we've read, which sounds like a perfect fit for this book. Sarah is reading it now, and the rest of us are dying to get our grubby little hands on it from her. We LOVED Lips Touch by Laini Taylor, so we have high expectations for Daughter of Smoke and Bone -- even higher after reading your praise. Thanks!

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  7. Absolutely stunning review Melissa, I couldn't have said anything better to sum up my reaction to this one. It absolutely blew me away and I was beside myself when I turned the last page and realized I had to put the book down. You are a brilliant writer, and I just want to read this review over and over again so I can relive my reaction to this story:)

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  8. I'm so excited to read this book! I absolutely loved Taylor's writing in her short story collection, "Lips Touch Three Times", and I look forward to reading this novel when it was only just a title. Thanks for a great review, Melissa!

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  9. WOOHOO! So excited to read this book! I loved that no words can express who you feel but I felt you did a great job on this review!

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  10. Wow! Really?! I'm been so curious about this book and haven't read too many review for it. You're right, the opening does sound kind of cliche. Glad to know this book broke away from the pact.

    And I have no doubt that you'll someday publish something just as awesome.

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  11. Wow, you described it much better then I did! I TOTALLY agree, 100%! This book is just AMAZING. Totally and completely brilliant. I love all of Laini's books but this is my favorite!

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  12. This is a really great review. I already wanted this one, but now...I NEED it. Thanks!

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  13. I have been seeing this cover everywhere lately. People sure want it :D

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  14. Beautiful review Melissa- :) Im really looking forward to reading this one, I loved Laini's last one as well...

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  15. So excited to read this one, I have it on my tbr and I've heard so many good things! I'm glad you enjoyed it - it sounds really original and I can't wait to start it. Great review! :)

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  16. I've been rather curious about this one, so I am grateful for the review! I am definitely putting it on the tbr list! Thanks! :)

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  17. It sounds wonderful. Now I'm glad I have it on my shelf to devour. It must really be wonderful to get such a review. I simply can't wait to pick it up. *big sigh*

    Jen
    In the Closet With a Bibliophile

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  18. This sounds great! I agree with you. There's so many books out there that claim to be "unlike anything you've read before." I'm glad to hear this one is actually one of them! I'm definitely adding this to my wishlist. Great review :)

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  19. Sounds really good! YOu are a walking disaster for my TBR pile but it gets added immediately!

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  20. Yay! I'm glad you liked it! I just started it (I'm on page 5 or so) and you've got me excited!!

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  21. I'm so curious about this book. Everyone is saying it's like nothing else out there.

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  22. I keep hearing so many amazing things about this book to the point where I just want to get my hands on a copy already. The premise sounds wickedly awesome as does the writing! Hopefully I'll end up enjoying it as much as everyone seems to have. Awesome review! :)

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  23. Stunning review, Melissa! I'm so thrilled to read yet another glowing review for this novel. I'm reading it now - and loving it so far - so I'm glad that it continues to amaze :)

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  24. Awesome review! Glad to hear that you enjoyed this one as much as I did, if not more! :P

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  25. Can I just say? "Mesmerized"! Yes! I couldn't put my finger on the right word to sum up how I felt while reading this book, but that's the one. Thank you!

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  26. Okay, now I can comment. I never read your review or anyone's because I didn't want this book ruined for me. I didn't want to know anything. And your review speaks the absolute truth! There are no words to express how beautiful this story is in every way. It has ruined me for every other book I will ever read. I don't even want to read anything else after this one. How did you go on, knowing that nothing could ever be as good as this? Incredible review!

    Heather

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  27. This book is written beautifully. The story is so crazy and weird that you can't put it down. Take a chance on it and you will not regret it.

    Maycee Greene (Anchorage Web Design)

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