Monday, December 5, 2011

Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor

Book Jacket

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 grows 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 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.

From master storyteller and National Book Award finalist Laini Taylor comes a sweeping and gorgeously written modern fantasy about a forbidden love, an ancient and epic battle, and hope for a world remade.


This is hard to review, because it felt like two different books.  I devoured the first half, eagerly delving into both the exotic Czech locale and the exotic hints of Serephim and Chimaera culture.  It was fascinating and funny and a bit edgy.  Then....things got way more heavy-handed and dramatic, and I'm not sure if I liked it.

That's a problem, because I think the sequel will be much more of the otherwordly and less of the urban fantasy.

However.  There are many things I liked!  Remaking angel/demon mythology was really well done.  And a girl growing up with affectionate demon-like creatures is always going to be interesting.  The hints of who Karou is and how she came to be were laid out in tantalizing and believable bite-sized chunks. 

I even really like the second half epic fantasy stuff.  Forbidden love is fun.  A detailed other world is awesome. It just felt like such an abrupt change.  Like I was no longer reading the book I thought I was.  So I'm going to do something very weird and give the book two ratings.

Part one:  Five out of five sketchbooks.  Part two:  Three out of five masquerades.

Release Date: September 2011
Reading Level: Grade 9+
Where In Dunlap Public Library's Collection: YPL TAY


  1. I loved her story with Akiva. Akiva is like an avenging angel, all you know warriorlike, cold, no mercy, no pity, no hope. Until he meets Kaoru that is, and something about her makes him hesitate (thankfully)
    I loved the secondary characters. My favorite is: Zuzana, Kaoru's best human friend. I loved her theatre of marionettes it would be amazing to see, and heartbreaking I bet.