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Friday, 30 September 2011

Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Title: Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1
Author: Laini Taylor
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Publication Date: 29 Sep 2011

Synopsis: From Goodreads

Featuring necklaces made of wishes; an underground shop dealing in teeth; magical tattoos; a wishbone on a cord, DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE is a thrilling story about Karou and her secret life as an apprentice to a wishmonger. Karou manages to keep her two lives in balance. On the one hand, she is a seventeen-year-old art student in Prague; on the other, errand-girl to an inhuman creature who deals in wishes and is the closest thing she has to family. Her life is surrounded by mysteries she is desperate to unveil.


I will be honest with you I don't usually read fantasy, it takes me a while to get used to the strange names but I am so glad I read this book. The writing style is just so gloriously descriptive it surrounds your imagination totally. I had absolutely no problem picturing the world Laini Taylor wove in the story. A dual world kept apart by a thin veil accessed through the doors around the world. So powerful it felt real.

Written in third person narrative but focalized from Karou perspective. Instinctively the reader is aware that Karou is different and not just because of her blue hair, yet I have to admit I did feel protective of her from the beginning. I adored the way in which Karou didn't lie yet her delivery of the truth and nonchalance make it seem as if she is being sarcastic and we all know how much I love sarcasm. And I have to say how totally awesome to have naturally blue hair, can you guess what colour I would want to be - go on I am sure you can [ : D ] Karou's honesty even in describing herself 'foot smell' brought a smile to my face as I was reading.

I am going to rave about the writing in this book, it is just absolutely gorgeous, sadly there were a great many snakes in the first section of the book *shudders* but even I as a total snake hater have to admit that their descriptions were beautiful (if shudder inducing). I would even go so far as to say that the words flowed sensuously off the page like a waterfall to drench my imagination creating a reservoir filled with three dimensional imagery. The emotion builds sweeping you along with it like surfing the crest of a wave (or what I imagine it would be like as I haven't surfed). The story flows beautifully and the plot unravels smoothly, go back to my waterfall analogue here [ : D ] I just want to use the words STUNNING WRITING a hundred times.

There a large number of plot threads making the 3rd person narrator a necessity. Subtle plot hints are placed sporadically to be picked up on. The book is divided into sections and the progression of both the plot and the characters from one section to the next is breath-taking. The relationships and interactions are so well developed not just in the main characters but in the peripheral ones as well really adding to the dynamics of the story. I found myself thinking of Romeo and Juliet with the relationship between Karou and Akiva, something that only escalated the further into the story I got. The use of 'Rapture' within the story was ironic considering the events in the news earlier this year and had me sniggering into the book.

Personally, I thought there was quite an important message woven into the fantasy - today we live in a world of conflict and war; could we imagine and hope for a world at peace. No differentiation between races. all are equal, socially and economically. No one race should be superior.

Utterly brilliant how the plot threads weave together to produce a magnificent tapestry of a story. the way in which the title was placed into the plot was astounding. Literally jaw dropping moments as the story unfolded. I had to go to check when the next book is due for publication.

For someone who doesn't generally 'do' fantasy this book has carried me away with its beautiful writing. I cannot wait to find out what happens next.


  1. Like you, I'm always a bit wary of fantasy but your review (and several others of this book) has me thinking I should really give this one a shot. Added it to my wish list and now looking forward to reading it! Have you read Graceling? It's another fantasy title that sits above the norm.

  2. Im always wary of fantasy too. My sister keeps trying to make me read the Discworld books but I just cant! but this opened up new ways of looking at fantasy for me too, I think I'll give more epic fantasies a chance after reading this one!

    Awesome review hun! :D


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