Monday, 7 November 2011

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Title: Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Author: Laini Taylor
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
ISBN: 978-1-444-72262-8
Pages: 418
Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1
Type: Young Adult Fantasy
Source: Purchased

Karou is a girl living two lives - the first as a seventeen-year-old art student in Prague, the other as a courier for a monstrous creature named Brimstone who trades wishes for teeth. Karou was raised in Brimstone's store, a mystical place known only as Elsewhere which can be reached through a myriad of doors scattered throughout the world. But the doors to Elsewhere are closing and Karou must find a way to return to her family and discover her true identity along the way.

This is one of those books I'd seen raved about all over so I was looking forward to reading it. On the whole I was very impressed. The book is well written with a cleverly developed plot and believable world. Setting Karou's 'regular life' in Prague is genius as it is a unique city that really suits her. The narrative is full of sparks of humour and keeps you wanting to turn the pages. The idea of wishes in different denominations is brilliant and something I haven't seen done before. Small wishes called scuppies are good for little things like giving itches, whereas larger wishes like gavriels can grant the gift of flight.

There is a big change however for the second half of the book. The first is focused on Karou and her life in Prague, following her around the world on her errands for Brimstone. The second half sees Karou discover her true identity, and is mainly in flashbacks. I still enjoyed the second half, but it is very different to the first half mostly because it is completely in Elsewhere. It is a big shift in style and was a little jarring at first.

Karou is a great lead character. She manages to ground the more fantasy-based characters and has an amazing balance of inner strength and vulnerability. Akiva is an amazing romantic interest, so much better than her ex-Kaz who is mentioned at the start of the book. The characters I really fell in love with though are Zuzana (her human best friend) and Brimstone. I wish there had been more of a focus on Brimstone, and can only hope he has a larger role in the sequel.

The ending felt a little abrupt as it falls straight after Karou has discovered her true identity. It returns to the storyline from the first half of the book, then drops a bombshell and ends. It's a total gamechanger and left me thinking 'huh?'

All in all this was a great read and I can't wait for the sequel.

Plot: 9/10
Characters: 10/10
Ending: 8/10
Enjoyment: 9/10
Cover: 10/10

Overall: 46/50


  1. Awesome review, I had similar thoughts. One review I read claimed the book was 'over-written', which I couldn't disagree with more. It is so well written it had me re-evaluating some of the books I've rated in the past and made me think I'd been too generous in my feedback of them! Character development, plot and world creation were really top-notch.

  2. I keep hoping against hope that what Akiva told Karou about Brimstone isn't true as I loved his and Issa's characters.

  3. Thanks for the comments guys :) I totally agree Stephanie. I'm hoping that the Brimstone bit was wrong, not necessarily a lie (I like Akiva too much for that) but just incorrect info.


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