Thursday, 8 August 2013

Review - Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

 Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #1)

Goodreads description: 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?

Amazon UK

Perhaps the word ‘unique’ is thrown around too much, especially when it comes to fantasy fiction. After all, no idea is completely original. But Daughter of Smoke and Bone is honestly like no other book I’ve ever read. It rewrites clichés. With intriguing characters and strange, haunting magic, this is without doubt one of my favourite urban fantasy novels of all time.

Seventeen-year-old Karou lives a decidedly unorthodox double life, half as an art school student, half as an errand-runner for the chimaera who has looked after her since she was a child. Her missions generally involve walking through a portal to ‘Elsewhere’ and emerging at any location in the world, in order to steal teeth (usually animals’, sometimes humans’) for her master. Did I mention bizarre?

But it works, and the result is a refreshingly original, beautifully written tale of a girl’s attempt to discover her identity. Karou is one of the strongest protagonists I’ve ever encountered in YA fiction, and the supporting characters, her best friend Zuzana and the mysterious angel Akiva are equally well-drawn. The magic created in this fantasy novel is unlike any I’ve read before. Brimstone, Karou’s adopted father of sorts, deals in wishes, which Karou uses to help her - including playing pranks on people or dyeing her hair blue! The story is well-paced and addictive, and the exotic settings are vividly drawn. Laini Taylor puts a whole new spin on forbidden love, and creates a fascinating alternative world locked in brutal war between the angels and chimaera.

This book is right up my street! It’s an utterly jaw-dropping urban fantasy, rich in detail and lyrical in style. An unquestionable five stars!

Rating: *****


  1. Oh, it SOUNDS unique. I'm not normally an ANY kind of romance fan, but there is enough here that sounds really different I definitely want to give it a look.

  2. Loved this book, and the sequel :)