Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor


“The tooth-traders who came to the shop were, with few exceptions, about the worst specimens of humanity had to offer. Through Brimstone did have a small coterie of long time associates who did not turn Karou’s stomach- such as the retired diamond dealer who had on a number of occasions posed as her grandmother to enroll her in schools- mostly they were a stinking, soul-dead lot with crescents of gore under their fingernails. They killed and maimed. They carried pliers in their pockets for extracting the teeth of the dead- and sometimes the living. Karou loathed them, and she was certainly better than them.

Brimstone said, “Prove that you are, by using wishes for good.” ”

Love, love, love. I fell in love with Daughter of Smoke and Bone by the end of the first chapter, maybe even the first few pages. Taylor has done an absolutely amazing job in creating a fascinating world of fantasy and lore that takes place in the familiar setting of the modern world.

Karou may be a little eccentric with her blue hair, tattoos and countless art books filled with sketches of creatures that are a mixture of animals and human but ultimately she seems to be a normal young woman. Or at least that’s what she portrays to everyone else but the truth is another matter. Karou has been raised by the very beasts in her sketchbooks including Brimstone, intimidating and horned, and Issa who is as much snake as she is human. She has a purpose of her own within this odd family; collecting the teeth of animals and humans for Brimstone. Magic has always been a part of her life but whereas the act of collecting teeth had never bothered her before, curiosity is now getting the best of her.  That very inquisitiveness soon turns her world upside down especially when she encounters Akiva, an emotionless angel, and learns that her family is from a race that has been fighting angels for centuries. Something about Karou pulls at Akiva, memories from a life he led long ago. They will both come to learn the truth together which cumulates in the revelation of a brutal betrayal that will change things forever.

The thing that struck me from the very beginning of Daughter of Smoke and Bone is the maturity of the writing and contents. Being a teenager myself less than a decade ago I think I can say with some accuracy that it’s not often that writers truly give credit where it is due and create a story and characters that acknowledge the true depth that many teenagers want in a novel. However, Taylor has done just that. The writing is of a great caliber being both entertaining and imaginative. There is a love story, like most teen books, but it’s certainly not the typical telling and expands beyond the two individual involved. It’s an inventive retelling of Romeo and Juliet that takes place in a world of magic and fantastical proportions.

The fantasy of the novel is the other element of the book that I eagerly devoured. I have always been a fan of fantasy; I gobbled that genre up when I was a teenager though I more often than not found it in books that were actually in the fantasy section. While the setting of the book is a modern one, Taylor has also infused it with fantastical elements of magic and puts a really interesting twist on an age-old battle between good and evil. I can only take a small dose of religion at the best of times but thankfully while angels and the monsters they fight against are the two stables of the story’s lore, Taylor keeps her distance from preconceived notions of the two. Both side posses redeeming and destructive qualities, and it’s the telling of their stories that makes Daughter of Smoke and Bone so enthralling. I lost myself in the world of collecting teeth and a city caged by bars. The complexity of the two worlds and the profound realness of the characters easily launched this book to the top of my list of most-loved books read this year.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone is a book that stands on its own and deserves to be read by anyone who appreciates a little bit of fantasy and an intricate storyline containing riveting characters and secrets that will leave you eager to read the next chapter. Its sequel Days of Blood and Starlight thankfully was available when I finished Daughter of Smoke and Bone and is sitting on my shelf. I eye it every now and then but like a good desert, I’m holding off and waiting for the right moment to submerge myself back into the mystical world created by Taylor, mostly because I don’t want the experience to be over too quickly. Books like Daughter of Smoke and Bone don’t come along too often and when they do, you never want them to end.

Devon – a1000booklife

Other books by Laini Taylor: Dreamdark series (2007 and 2009), Lips Touch (2009) and Days of Blood and Starlight (2012)



Filed under Teen

2 responses to “Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

  1. Sue

    great review! we favour a lot of the same books 🙂

    • Thanks so much Sue, I’m glad to hear you liked it and agreed! I have the second book, Days of Blood and Starlight, sitting on my bookshelf just waiting. I’m hoping to start it soon! Daughter of Smoke and Bone was hands down one of my favorite reads this year and it’s great to hear I’m not the only one who enjoyed it!

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