Early 5bat! Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

September 18, 2011 Review 7

*This title will be released on September 27, 2011*

Daughter of Smoke and Bone Title: Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Author: Laini Taylor
Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1
Cover Art: N/A
Genre: Paranormal YA
Excerpt: Yes
Source: Publisher
Reviewed by: Julia

  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; September 27, 2011
  • ISBN-10: 0316134023
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316134026

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Sexual Content:

References to sex, kissing.


Near Perfect – Buy two copies: one for you and one for a friend.


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?


Exotic foreign locations, an unflappable teenage protagonist, creativity and art, wishes granted and mysteries unsolved; Laini Taylor’s DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE is seductive when it reads like a teenage romance and utterly irresistible once it flowers into the full reality of it’s magic and conflict.  In the simplest terms, I would not recommend starting this book until you can read straight through to the end, but above anything, I would recommend that all fans of Paranormal YA, Urban Fantasy, or straight up Fantasy make sure they find time to give this book a try. 

Though Taylor’s world has angels and devils, chimera and demons, any similarity to existing religions or myths is superficial, the plausible result of humans trying to make sense of events beyond their comprehension.  With flavors of Nina Kiriki Hoffman and Charles de Lint at the outset (solid contemporary settings with haunting magic woven in) Karou’s story moves further and further from the familiar world as the book progresses, immersing the reader in a magical conflict and a doomed love affair that takes on a scale beyond everyday life.  While I was initially drawn in by the mundane drama of Karou’s life in Prague (the fascination of her alternative high school and her beautiful, fickle ex-boyfriend) the true magic of Karou’s experience soon seeps into the narrative and changes the whole tone of the story.  But whether in the magical world or the mundane, Taylor has written an utterly winning group of characters.  From Karou’s high school best friend to the mysterious creatures that raised her, the camaraderie and romance of this group is compelling.  Add to that how the world of DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE mixes hints of mythology and realism to create something wholly new, and you have a book that will bowl you over on every possible level.  

DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE is the story of Karou’s past, of the war between the seraphim and the chimera, and of all of the heartbreak and loves that have come before.  This book is a wonderful, entrancing read in it’s own right, but I can’t wait to get my hands on book two.  While DAUTHER OF SMOKE AND BONE opens on the streets of Prague, it ends on the threshold of an unknown world, and I for one am dying to take that next step and see where the story takes us.

Previous Books in Series
Also Reviewed By:
  1. N/A

7 Responses to “Early 5bat! Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor”

  1. Precious

    Wow. This sounds absolutely amazing! I'm sure I'll like this too so I'm putting it on my to-buy list. Thanks for the review!

  2. StephanieD

    Fantastic review. I was so taken with this book, this world, with Taylor's writing. One of my top reads of 2011 for sure.

  3. Rain Maiden

    I'm so glad you reviewed this book Julia. I keep seeing it around the blog world and was wondering if it was worth the hype. Well from you review, it looks like I should not pass this one up.

  4. Van Pham

    Awesome review, been hearing a lot about this book too. This is a book that I will be purchasing this book soon 🙂

  5. Julia

    @Precious – I don't think you'll be disappointed, this book really blew me away. It's already in the mail to my little sister. She liked GRACELING a lot, I think DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE will give her a modern take on similar characters.

    @Stephanie – I know how you feel! I'm already shopping around for another copy, this is one book I'm going to loan out a lot. I'm anxious to get more details on the rest of the series, too, can't wait to pre-order.

    @Rain Maiden & @Van Pham – It was a lot of fun finding other reviews for this one, and I wasn't surprised to see how positive they were. This is definitely my favorite Paranormal YA this year.

  6. Julia

    @Rebs – I build the "Also Reviewed by" section by search engine, so it's timing and the luck of the Google-fu that randomizes it. I encourage you and anyone with a review they want to share to link it here, though, it's always good to get other perspectives.