Saturday, December 24, 2011

Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, #1) by Laini Taylor

  • Title: Daughter of Smoke and Bone
  • Classification: Young Adult
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Format: Hardcover, 432 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (September 27, 2011)
  • ISBN-10: 0316134023
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316134026
  • Author's website:
  • Notes: Characters have sex, although nothing graphic. It's just gently stated. Also of note, Karou takes an art class that includes nude models.
     'Karou was plagued by the notion that she wasn't whole. She didn't know what this meant, but it was a lifelong feeling, a sensation akin to having forgotten something. She'd tried describing it to Issa once, when she was a girl. "It's like you're standing in the kitchen, and you know you went in there for a reason, but you can't think of what that reason is, no matter what."'

     'Was there another life she was meant to be living? At times she felt a keen certainty that there was--a phantom life, taunting her from just out of reach. A sense would come over her while she was drawing or walking, and once when she was dancing slow and close with Kaz, that she was supposed to be doing something else with her hands, with her legs, with her body. Something else. Something else. Something else.
     But what?'

Karou is human, but she was raised by chimaera. She knows nothing of her birth parents or how she came to be in Brimstone's care. She's haunted by the notion that there is something about herself she should know but can't quite grasp. Knowing she doesn't truly fit in the chimaera world, but feeling like she doesn't quite fit in to the human world either, she's a lonely individual. She's lived in many places and knows many things most humans do not. For Brimstone is a wishmonger and lives 'elsewhere' in another dimension with ties to the human world. Portals can transfer you from one locations to the next, and in Karou's world wishes really do come true. When burnt hand prints start showing up on portal doors, and creatures whose shadows have wings start being seen in the vicinity shortly thereafter, everyone knows something bad is about to happen. Though Karou's been sheltered from the brunt of the chimaera world, everything is about to change forever.

This book was the most original book I've read in 2011. I spent the whole book trying to figure out what was truly going on and didn't even come close. Brimstone's teeth collecting and wish granting made me wonder if he was a tooth fairy at the beginning, but  as I couldn't see anyone raving about such a book I quickly dismissed it. Karou was an equally mysterious character. She had to hide things from her friends, for who would believe she was raised by "monsters" and was given an unlimited supply of simple wishes. The fact Brimstone never even confided in her to tell her what her true beginnings were was both mysterious and confusing. It's obvious the man cared about her and did the best he could in raising her, but she didn't know what his connection to her family was. One of my favorite bits of wisdom imparted by Brimstone is,
     "I don't know many rules to live by," he said. "But here's one. It's simple. Don't put anything unnecessary into our self. No poisons or chemicals, no fumes or smoke or alcohol, no sharp objects, no inessential needles--drug or inessential p@nises, either."
     "Inessential p@nises? Karou had repeated, delighted with the phrase in spite of her grief. "Is there any such thing as an essential one?"
     "When an essential one comes along, you'll know it."

Akiva was another intriguing character. An angel who was about to kill Karou when something mysteriously changed his mind. The moment he hesitated she quickly retreated into the portal to Brimestone's dimension. Days later, she finds Akiva stalking her. She finds herself drawn to him and the felling is mutual. She feels like she knows him and the mystery of who Karou is thickens. This one leaves you wondering throughout the whole book what exactly is going on. It's like an intricate jigsaw puzzle where you have most of it put together, but the most critical pieces are missing until the very end. I absolutely loved it.

A seemingly beautiful tale full of mystery and drama. I gave this one 5 out of 5 roses. It is definitely going into my top 10 list of favorite reads for 2011. It has romance, deceit, betrayal, vengeance, and hope. It's a smorgasbord for the book lovers senses. So be prepared for a wonderful journey that ends in a cliffhanger which will make you wish you had the next of the series in your hands. This was a total book seduction for me. Oh, and for your information, I looked at Laini Taylor's blog late last night as I was writing this review and found out that her book has been optioned for a movie by Universal Pictures. Congratulations Laini!


  1. Wow great review! I dunno what to make of this book! so many people enjoyed it and so many people hated it!! :S

    Farah @MajiBookshelf

  2. Maji, Thanks so much for the comment and I'm glad you like the review. I was on vacation with no computer access when you commented. I just saw your comment today. I used blogger's scheduling feature for the first time. It worked like a charm.

    As to what to think about the book, you'll probably have to read it to figure out if you like it.


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