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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Published: September 27, 2011
Pages: 417
Source: Purchased
Rating: 4 Stars

Around the world, black hand prints 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 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?

In short: I was in awe of Laini Taylor's breathtaking prose and epic creativity in Daughter of Smoke and Bone.
An orphan girl with blue hair who travels the world collecting various kinds of animal teeth for a mysterious purpose; an alternate world in which angels and chimaera have been fighting in a millenia-long war; monsters made up of bits and pieces of different beasts: this is the level of creativity we are presented with in Daughter of Smoke and Bone (and really, I didn't even come CLOSE to doing it justice). I was in near constant AWE of the story and world that Laini Taylor has created. I would like to know what is in that brilliant mind of hers that she was able to come up with such fantastical concepts!

And she presents all her ideas in the most gorgeous way possible: through her lyrical and moving writing, so beautiful in its complexity and feeling. I was held utterly MESMERIZED by the depth of Laini Taylor's descriptions. And it's a good thing she is such a gifted writer: certain aspects of the story were just so extraordinary and unreal that I think if the writing had not been so beautifully descriptive, the effect would've been lost and left me bewildered. As it is, this was definitely not the case: Laini Taylor's gorgeous prose really brought the world of Daughter of Smoke and Bone to life!

I guess the only thing that left me feeling ambivalent about Daughter of Smoke and Bone was that there was such a major focus on the romance - more than I generally like in fantasy/paranormal novels. And it was insta-love to boot! An instant connection was made between the star-crossed lovers upon first meeting and I wasn't a huge fan of the lack of a slow-building relationship, personally. Their relationship was a bit too superficial. BUT I have to say that even while this major portion of the novel was being devoted to the romance, I was STILL held captivated by Laini Taylor's writing all throughout it.

So what am I hoping for in Days of Blood and Starlight (to be released November  6, 2012)? Ideally, I would like to see a bit more development in Karou and Akiva's relationship. And of course, all of the same thrilling intrigue and fascinating story and characters that were present in Daughter of Smoke and Bone!

Other Reviews:
A Myriad of Books
A Tapestry of Words

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  1. EXACTLY. This is how I felt exactly. I didn't love this book. I loved Laini's world, the way she wrote it, all that. But, I couldn't get into the romance, because no matter how it was written or incorporated, the connection still felt superficial. I couldn't make it work for me. That aside, the book is beautiful. And Laini's prose is what I'm looking forward to most in her next book!

  2. I need to read this book but I keep putting it off even though Sandy keeps telling me I should!
    I even have it and all. I'll try to read it soon :)

    Loved your review :D

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  4. Mesmerized is such a good word to describe how I felt when reading this one Aylee! I absolutely loved it - it was so gorgeous and haunting and I can't wait for Days of Blood and Starlight. I'm a huge fan of romance in general, so I didn't mind the focus on Akiva and Karou's relationship, but I think too at the time I read it, insta love wasn't quite as prevalent in YA as it has been this past year, so that could be part of it as well:) I just wasn't as aware of it as I am now. Still, glad you loved it overall!

  5. Yeah, the romance wasn't that memorable but THE WRITING! I think that's the point everyone fixates on because it's truly remarkable and Laini Taylor is a fantastic storyteller. I'm very curious about the sequel. Wonderful review!

  6. I really loved this book! And the romance! While it was insta-love, it also WASN'T insta-love ... But, I like having romance in books. Of ALL genres. :)

    And the writing for this one was beautiful! I can't wait to try out the next one!

  7. This book has been on my radar for a while. I think I'll try it in the new year perhaps.

  8. I keep telling myself I'm so trying this one. I even have it on audio. But the romancey bit is a turn off. Glad to know it's good despite that. Thanks for your great honest review.

  9. I am so excited for Days of Blood and Starlight! Like you said, Taylor is an incredibly gifted author and I am eager to read more of her beautiful words and creative stories.
    I, too, was a bit bothered my Karou and Akiva's relationship. But by putting it into context with Madrigal and Akiva's relationship, then it didn't seem so bad - I mean, they already loved each other on some spiritual level. I can deal with that sort of insta-love just fine. As for Madrigal and Akiva, I was not under the impression that they formed an insta-love either. Not quite. They were fascinated with each other and both at a point where they were beginning to question the war and their lives, I think. They then spent some time apart, further processing themselves and what happened. And events did move quickly after that, but once again Taylor somehow made it believable for me. I, who hate insta-love, was totally fine with these relationships haha. But I am looking forward to seeing Karou and Akiva develop more in book two!

  10. Although I'm not a fan of insta-love, everyone seems to rave about this one, especially its writing. I still need to read it! Plus the cover is so pretty :)

  11. I loved this novel, and I feel like it is incredibly underrated. Lani Taylor has a true talent for words. I am pretty excited for Days of Blood and Starlight. Thanks for your review. It was brilliant.

  12. Glad you enjoyed this one Aylee, it was a bit of a let down for me .. I look forward to know what you think of the second book. Fabulous review :)

  13. You totally captured my thoughts exactly when you described her writing. Lyrical and moving pretty much sums it up!

    I kind of liked the romance in this book. It's not always my favourite but I thought it worked in this case. Can't wait for book 2!

  14. So excited to hear you enjoyed this one. I've have it on my kindle (since last year) and still haven't set aside any time to read it. I'm loving your review with the exception of the insta love. Knowing about it going it will make it easier to tolerate, though.

    1. Ok, you liked it and spoke so highly of it, I had to start reading it. So, I'm only just beginning, but I totally agree, the writing is brilliant so is the world building.

  15. ADHGAFSHGAD. AYLEE. I already liked your review on Goodreads, but can I tell you how much I LOVE it, here?

    I LOVED this book, and I so know what you mean about feeling it's hard to do this book justice but... *sigh* I LOVED this book. SOOOO much.

    And this: "And she presents all her ideas in the most gorgeous way possible: through her lyrical and moving writing, so beautiful in its complexity and feeling."

    Love ♥

  16. I really enjoyed it. Twists and turns that you don't expect. There has to be a next book wide open for it.

    Maycee Greene (Great Website Designs Anchorage)