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Joint Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
Where did you get the book: Purchased
Release date: Out now

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?

*blurb taken from Goodreads*

Lou: I’d seen this book mentioned around the blogosphere, but it wasn’t until Has instructed me that I MUST read it that I went ahead and bought Daughter of Smoke and Bone. The first half of Daughter of Smoke and Bone delighted me with its freshness and originality. The heroine, Karou, was brought up by a group of demons since she was a baby. Karou goes to school full-time but she’s forever called away by the demands of her demon family who send her through a portal where she acquires not so ‘nice’ objects for the strange shop. Karou doesn’t like what she does, but she has no choice. The story was pretty unique amongst all of the other paranormal fare, and I loved the first half of the book. The second half of the book where the hero Akiva makes himself known, I found myself mentally shouting ‘don’t go down that soul mate love route!’

Has: I heard so many good things about Daughter of Smoke and Bone that I bought it a few months ago, but I forgot I had it until we were arranging our Fantasy Appreciation Month. It was definitely one of the most unusual and imaginatively written books I’ve ever read. I loved the use of mythology and how it was conveyed in a lyrical prose which helped to create a lush and vivid fantasy tale of a young girl and her mysterious origins in a landscape filled with demons and angels.

Lou: The setting and placement of the novel was a nice change of venue. Karou had no special super powers, and her vulnerabilities were heartbreaking. To not know if her demon family loved her, and would they shut her out when it really came down to the nitty-gritty. The fact that she was pretty normal is what I loved so much about it. Then the big reveal came and I admit, I groaned out loud and thought bloody hell.

Big spoiler below

[spoiler]The reincarnation trope came into play where Karou is the reincarnated lover of Akiva where she used to be a demon. And because he’s an angel and they were at war, it was literally a crime for them to be together. It really soured my enjoyment of the book because at the best of times, the reincarnation trope can be such a lazy tool of writing because it makes things so convenient.[/spoiler]

Has: I loved Karou and she came across, she had this fantastic mischievous quality and was fun! I also liked how loyal and dedicated she was to her family, although when the mystery about her origins was unveiled I kind of liked how it linked with the world-building. However, I do kind of agree about the trope linked with the spoiler about her past.

Spoiler below

[spoiler]I am also not a huge fan of the re-incarnation trope because I think it is a quick way to establish a romance without the buildup. And I found that with setting up the love story between Akiva and Karou was a bit too sudden. But I think the flashbacks really helped to cement the romance and the story and for me it made more sense in how it affected the plot.[/spoiler]

For me the real strength of the story is the world-building which was so rich and vibrant, and how it was described felt so very real.

Lou: The flashbacks were incredible with their imagery, and I think the author is one very talented individual. The soul mate tropefest makes the story less special in my eyes. The ending, though, ended on such a cliffhanger that I gotta wonder how Karou will ever be able to forgive Akiva. All in all, I enjoyed this book but really disliked how it played out towards the end. I gave it a B-.

Has: I totally agree about the imaginative imagery with the flashbacks, how it was all described because it had such a lush and lyrical feel which was felt throughout the whole book. I have to say that I am really starting to dislike cliffhangers which is becoming more I in YA series books, and although the ending left really abruptly for me. I am definitely looking forward to the next book which I hope to see more of the world of the demons and angels and the war.

I give Daughter of Smoke and Bone a B+

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By Lou

One thing that Lou loves most is her HEA in romances.

2 replies on “Joint Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor”

I really enjoy your joint reviews. I’ve had my eye on this book before, but the YA part put me off. My last venture into YA (Hunger Games) was crushingly sad and I haven’t wanted to go back.

@Jody: Thanks, Jody. I really liked the first half of this book, but the second half featured a lot of tired YA tropes that I’m really not a fan of.

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