Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Book Review : Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Synopsis :  . . . 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 [a ]--beautiful, haunted [stranger] 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?

A while ago, I borrowed Daughter of Smoke and Bone from the library and never got around to reading it. So, I just returned it unread.

That was a big mistake and I'm so glad that I purchased the audio book

Daughter of Smoke and Bone is a magical tale, seamlessly  weaved together by Laini Taylor. The words tell a compelling story and drew me in from the first paragraph.

Karou is a little different. No one really knows who she is, not even Karou herself. She can speak numerous languages, has peacock blue hair that seems to grow out of her head and most of all she has her art; sketches and drawings of monstrous creatures.

However there is something more to Karou's drawings. There is something more to this pen and paper world she has created. Something otherworldy is breaking thorough to our world; an ancient battle with Karou and a mysterious young man named Akiva at the center.

The plot of Daughter of Smoke and Bone breaks the mold of the usual YA story line. The surreal and twisted story methodically  and deliberately reveals the true destiny of Karou. I was mesmerized by this book, and found the novel's slow mysterious pacing similar to that of The Night Circus.

This novel takes two YA genres (that I won't name in fear of spoilers) and transforms them in a completely original way. As the truth slowly gets revealed I kept finding myself wanting to scream "OUT WITH IT ALREADY" but the slow build pays off as the novel takes a turn in an unexpected (if not slightly predictable) direction. 

I was a little surprised at how the romance plot was introduced and then how it dominated the plot. It changed the mood of the novel giving the second part of the book a slightly different feel.

What I enjoyed  most about Daughter of Smoke and Bone was the global settings. So often YA books have a tendency to be U.S.-centric and it's refreshing that this  book opens in Eastern Europe.

The voice actress for the audiobook, Khristine Hvam,  was spot on. She had a wide variety of range and  her interpretation  of Karou was just how imagined it. I also enjoyed  the music that was  played during pages with poems or anecdotes on them. I highly suggest this audio book

With its blooming world building and striking originality Daughter of Smoke and Bone is a story of hope, destiny and love.


  1. I just borrowed this audiobook from my library. Cant wait to get around to listening to it. Thanks for the great review.

    1. Hope you like it ! The audiobook I had featured an interview with Laini Taylor and her editor at the end.

  2. I've heard so many great things about this book and I think I'd enjoy it whether I read it or listened to it! I love when an author can use similar themes but completely bring it to me in a unique and refreshing way. I'll look forward to eventually reading this one.

    1. Taylor really does take her own spin on things.

  3. Both the synopsis and your review have got me running to get my hands on a copy of this book! Hopefully I can get my hands on a copy of the audiobook. Great review. Plus, you mentioned it reminded you of The Night Circus and I looved that book to pieces.

  4. I really, really, really want to read this book. The cover is absolutely striking - and it just sounds amazing.


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