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Daughter of Smoke & Bone

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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 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 beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery 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?

418 pages, Hardcover

First published September 27, 2011

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About the author

Laini Taylor

43 books38.1k followers
Hi! I write fantasy books. My latest is STRANGE THE DREAMER, about a young librarian, a mythic lost city, and the half-human children of murdered gods. Check it out :-) Before that I wrote the DAUGHTER OF SMOKE & BONE trilogy, which has been translated into 32 languages. It's about a blue-haired art student raised by monsters, a broken angel, and a war that has raged for 1000 years in another world. I also wrote LIPS TOUCH: THREE TIMES, which was a National Book Award finalist, and the DREAMDARK books. As well as various short stories and novellas.

Thanks for reading!!



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Profile Image for Cait.
76 reviews1,687 followers
July 2, 2012
As a P.S. in order to understand this review better if you haven't read the Fallen series, please check out my thoughts on the other book that I will be discussing here.

This book is like some sort of weird alien. When I finished Daughter of Smoke and Bone I wasn't quite sure how to handle it.

What are you, Daughter of Smoke and Bone?

In the synopsis of Daughter of Smoke and Bone, it tells you that this is a story about how a "demon" falls in love with an "angel." So one would think that this is about Heaven, Hell, God, etc.

That is one of the best, most amazing, lies that I have ever heard.

What do I mean by that, you ask? That because this book is nothing about that. Laini Taylor has stripped that idea to its bare bones and has changed it; morphed it in such a way that it's it own genre. And it isn't just about the mythology; it's about love, growing up, truth, prejudices, and overcoming hardships. I can tell you right now that this book basically has nothing to do with angels and demons, and I couldn't be happier about that then I ever have been my whole life. Taylor also inserts quotes and tales that further the story arc and characters. Almost everything that's said, thought, and described, has a point to it. They can make you laugh, cry, and, most importantly, think :

"It is a condition of monsters that they do not perceive themselves as such. The dragon, you know, hunkered in the village devouring maidens, heard the townsfolk cry ‘Monster!’ and looked behind him'"

“I don’t know many rules to live by,” he’d said. “But here’s one. It’s simple. Don’t put anything unnecessary into yourself. No poisons or chemicals,no fumes or smoke or alcohol, no sharp objects, no inessential needles—drug or tattoo—and… no inessential penises, either.”

“Karou wished she could be the kind of girl who was complete unto herself, comfortable in solitude, serene. But she wasn't. She was lonely, and she feared the missingness within her as if it might expand and...cancel her. She craved a presence beside her, solid. Fingertips light at the nape of her neck and a voice meeting hers in the dark. Someone who would wait with an umbrella to walk her home in the rain, and smile like sunshine when he saw her coming. Who would dance with her on her balcony, keep his promises and know her secrets, and make a tiny world wherever he was, with just her and his arms and his whisper and her trust.”
*ooohhs and awwwws*

Okay, just one more.....

Until a few days ago, humans had been little more than legend to him, and now here he was in their world. It was like stepping into the pages of a book -- a book alive with color and fragrance, filth and chaos -- and the blue-haired girl moved through it all like a fairy through a story, the light treating her differently than it others, the air seemed to gather around her like held breath. As if this whole place was a story about her.

Happiness. It was the place where passion, with all its dazzle and drumbeat, met something softer: homecoming and safety and pure sunbeam comfort. It was all those things, intertwined with the heat and the thrill, and it was as bright within her as a swallowed star.

This woman is the master of the golden rule of show and not tell. I never felt slowed down by pacing, bad-confused, or anything. Her writing left me with only good feelings; Laini Taylor is a master story teller and I will never see her as anything but. She carries you through all of Karou's emotions; in the beginning you feel just as angry as she does, then just as guilty about it when you know the whole story. That's what I like to call a true author.

One night while I was reading this book, I was laying in my bed thinking about the plot, characters, and what Taylor's overall theme ( because, you know, that's what cool people do at night; think about the books that they just read) and it all of a sudden hit me:

This book is everything Lauren Kate tried to do in her Fallen series, and failed. Laini Taylor, however, pulled it off with such a finesse and flair that made me fall in love with Daughter of Smoke and Bone even more than I would have already.

The first thing that I'll talk about in this review that Taylor pulled off about a million times better than what Kate wrote was with Akiva; the main love interest in this story. First off, Akiva actually is a badass "angel" with wings that are literally on fire, amber eyes, can burn things with a touch, and has killed many chimera without mercy because he believes they are the one who's killed his only love. Daniel, on the other hand? He sparkles fucking purple when his wings pop out. But that's not all we get to see with his character. Lauren Kate has a big problem with her books and Daniel with him being cold, unavailable, and not telling Luce anything that's going on with her life. Once Kate had him integrated with that personality, she didn't seem to be able to get Daniel out of that vicious, and very annoying cycle. He wouldn't and still doesn't stop doing that no matter what Luce every says to him. When Akiva began to do the same thing (ie. closed-off facial expressions, not talking/looking at her. etc.) I thought, oh no here we go again. When Karou tells him to stop; if he loves her then he'll stop doing this to her. Then, he actually listens and stops because, guess what, he truly does love her even if it hurts him in the long run; he's willing to put Karou above himself(gasp!) And, when the truth does come back and hit him in the face when Karou figures everything out, he knows to accept the consequences and lets her go. Hell, he even gives her the opportunity to kill him; he knows what he has done to her and others that he loves is unacceptable. And that's awesome! That, right there, is what I call a man. What Daniel does, instead, by putting himself and his shame first rather than Luce blows up in his face. When she does find out, he's so desperate to cover his own ass that he chases her through time and space.

That's just lame.

And Akiva is anything but lame. This is how you write a tortured character in it's finest. As I stated earlier, he has a genuine pain and soul that someone could say one-hundred percent is a tortured one. And insta-love? Pha. Don't let the beginning fool you because that isn't what their love is. I won't spoil it for you all, because, well, that's just something that if I told you and you haven't read this book would take out some of what makes this books so special, so you'll have to find out for yourself. I will give you one revelation that I came across, however. It really will blow your mind! Are you ready? Okay, here goes!


Then there was Karou, who is the most badass person that I've ever read about and is absolutely nothing like Luce from the Fallen series. Again, Kate tried to make Luce "independent" but she just ended up coming across as an idiot who threw herself into danger and put everyone around her in danger. Karou, however, ooooohhhhhhhh Karou.

She's everything that I wanted in Luce but never received. Karou is as funny as hell:

Well,” she mused, “I know there’s only one person you really love, and his name does start with a K. But I can think of a better place for it than your heart.” She took up her pencil and, on her last drawing of Kaz, inscribed a K right over his classically sculpted buttock.

She actually realizes her mistakes and what certain ex boyfriends truly wanted from her:

Kaz just couldn’t fathom any girl willfully depriving herself of his charms. And what had she done but strengthen his vanity those months they’d been together, gazing at him starry-eyed, giving him…everything? His wooing her now, she thought, was a point of pride, to prove to himself that he could have who he wanted.

I mean, come on, how much more can you ask for than that! A badass girl with blue hair, tattoos everywhere, and has so many braincells wedged up into that brilliant head of hers that I think it's going to explode with all of the smartness that she's spouting out of her mouth. This is a character that I can root for and stand behind all the way through a series, and that's exactly what I plan on doing; I can assure you all on that one.

And then there were the fallen angels; what Lauren Kate's series was all about. I have a question for you all. Do you honestly think that God, after all that they had done and betrayed him; whom they are supposed to love unequivocally, would have left them in their perfect forms, sparkly and/or wings made out of pure fucking gold and just let them wander around the Earth? Maybe I'm just a cruel, violent, person, but no. Hell no. Laini Taylor and I must have been on the same wavelength, but she did the total opposite of that for the fallen "angels"

His face was bloated and purple, but bloated as its face was, its features held an echo of long-ago beauty...But the key to its true nature was at its back. From its shoulder blades protruded the splintered remnants of wing joints...Time had curved his spine, and his flesh, pulled taut, seemed to snag on every ridge of vertebrae. His legs dangled uselessly behind him

That, my dears, is a fucking ugly angel who really looks like he got punished; he's not just wandering around sparkling and glowing. He actually looks like a disgusting, miserable, wreck.

And then there's all of the smaller characters; none are just added because Taylor needed room. They all had something very important: purpose. Karou's best friend Zuzana and her musician boyfriend were amazingly written, adorable, and hilarious characters (if you didn't burst out laughing when Zuzana said "Oh, hell. Must. Mate. Immediately." then you're lying to yourself). The ballerina/puppeteer play was incredibly written and had my heart in my throat. Karou's chimera sister and her chimera "family" were also incredibly well-done and funny. Thiago was one of the biggest bastards I've ever read, and I already talked about Akiva so I don't have to tell you all that he's totally swoon-worthy for all the right reasons. I could really picture everyone and sympathize with every pain and joy that Karou felt.

Basically, this book is everything I wanted in not just Fallen, but many other books that I've read over the years, and I rejoice in the fact that there are capable people out there who can write YA novels with an actual point and purpose.

Thank you, Laini Taylor, for restoring my faith in the ability of authors. I guess I have just one thing left to say:

Because I will. And I do.
Profile Image for Wendy Darling.
1,636 reviews34k followers
August 10, 2016
3.5 stars Once upon a time, a fantasy book came unto the young adult world and set it aflame. Long-time fans of the author swooned. Mainstream publications wrote cryptic but positive impressions. And many readers declared that the book was leaps and bounds above all other young adult literature previously published.

It's always a little tricky reading a book that arrives with a crazy amount of hype, even one that's not accompanied by the lavish praise that has been heaped upon this one, as the pressure to love it can be pretty intense. The story of a tattooed, blue-haired orphaned teenager named Karou caught up in an ancient war between angels and demons sounded amazing, however, and I was completely drawn in from the very first page. Karou is a young art student living in Prague, except that the fantastic figures she draws are actually of demons that she has known. She meets them in her strange teeth-collecting errands whenever she's summoned by Brimstone, a beast who has been a father figure to her as long as she can remember.

The first half of the book is simply mesmerizing, with vividly imagined details and the promise of a complex and stirring story. Karou has hamsas tattooed into her palms, she can fulfill small wishes with a necklace with unusual powers, and she dashes through magic portals on her errands to land on the streets of Marrakesh and Paris. But it's a life she has to hide from her best friend Zuzana and everyone at her school, and things get more complicated when black handprints begin appearing on doorways all over the world. Is something brewing in the otherworld that will affect this one?

For me, all that promise remained unfulfilled, however, as the narrative diverted sharply once Akiva, a gorgeous and impossibly perfect angel, appears in the story. He is strangely drawn to Karou, and follows her from place to place until finally they meet in an apparently earth-shattering fashion. “He was the most beautiful thing Karou had ever seen. Her first thought, incongruous but overpowering, was to memorize him so she could draw him later.” Here is the beginning of where I lost interest in the story, as most of the remainder of the book revolves around their overpowering romance, and eventually, why they may not be able to be together.

Readers who find the romance compelling will probably enjoy this book better than I did, but I found it hard to get invested in two such blindingly beautiful and perfect beings for whom there is apparently no other equal--I mean, of course they're going to be attracted to each other! How could they not be? One of the things I found so odd about their relationship is that it seemed to lack any sort of realism or depth; as cartoonishly ridiculous as Karou's ex-boyfriend was, the way she handled him and the dialogue there was at least smart and funny and likably grounded. When Karou and Akiva first meet and all throughout the subsequent chapters when they have their first kiss and so on and so forth, it's written as if the earth is moving and the stars are aligning...but I'm afraid the earth simply didn't move for me. I might have felt differently if their compulsion towards each other was based on something stronger than just physical attraction, but the majority of what I read was about their stunning beauty and their unearthly perfections. Even the promise of "wait, wait, you'll see why they're so drawn together" didn't pay off for me, because I predicted that well ahead of time and I would like to have seen more time given to any possible number of layers to a relationship, including admiration for how the person behaves in an extraordinary way, noticing subtle and lovely details about someone's personality, uncovering meaning in someone's words, bonding over shared situations, etc, etc. None of that happened here.

Much of the earlier extravagant detailing (except in reference to their relationship) and humor is abandoned in the second half, and things get further derailed when we get thrust into yet another type of story involving a girl named Madrigal. It isn't until the very end that the book finally gets back on course and we get some decent action scenes and some attention paid to the overarching storyline. Even then, I guessed what Akiva's big secret was, however, so I never really regained my initial enjoyment for the book. The ending was also a typical cliffhanger that is written in a way designed to leave readers in the maximum state of shock. I can't say that I admire that much, and I do think it's possible to write an open-ended conclusion in a way that doesn't feel like you've been...well, pushed off a cliff. And told to wait for another year to see if you'll recover from the fall.

While I certainly acknowledge and even respond to some of the author's imaginative worldbuilding, I can't really say that I went into raptures over it. I can't deny that the book is very well-written and I can appreciate the opulent touches and occasional flights of fancy...but unfortunately, this wasn't writing that I personally found to be particularly deep or moving or meaningful. That's just my own taste, however, since I know many of my friends have loved the writing and story much more than I did. I think in the end, it just comes down to what you respond to as a reader, and I'm really disappointed that I just didn't love this as much as I wanted to.

Still, the book is significantly better than most of the YA that's published right now, and it does hold the promise of a fascinating story that will hopefully get back on track in the sequel. I just wish that it wasn't another book that allowed, yet again, for a moony-eyed, long-fated romance to take over the life of another smart and seemingly level-headed heroine.

Profile Image for Kat Kennedy.
475 reviews16.3k followers
January 10, 2012
Do you remember that Taylor Swift song about Romeo and Juliet, Love Story?

It's lyrics go something like this:

I'm a pretty little girl who knows nothing about literature
So I sing a song about starcrossed lovers
Whose only problem is that Daddy doesn't approve
But it's all good because we get married anyway.
Just like that cliffnote's story about Romeo and Juliet!


Scott Pilgrim gif of girl shooting herself in the head

We have a tendency with YA literature today, to have stories with the super duper happiest of happy endings where everything works out and true love's only real complications are external difficulties, and self-esteem issues for the girl.

I'm trying to think of the perfect example here and because this review is full of cheap shots at easy targets I'm going to go with...


Come on down, Bella and Edward!

Now, don't get me wrong. There's nothing wrong with happy endings and butterflies and rainbows and kittens. They're lovely, lovely things and in the hands of an accomplished author, they do well. There's also nothing wrong with having a relationship that's troubled by only external forces. Once again, in the right hands it's fine. I'm not being a miserly old Grinch here. Okay, maybe a little bit, but moving on!

The problem is that in real life, relationships are usually impacted by internal factors. So when you base your story on perfection that can only be tainted by evil people trying to destroy your true love, and twist the story to finally reach that happily ever after, then what you sacrifice is often the very real, almost-tangible, relatable emotions that a more realistic, thoughtful storyline could bring.

And also, Romeo and Juliet is a TRAGEDY, Taylor Swift.

Kick her in the balls
Thank you, Kieran Culkan. You're a fresh breeze amongst the stagnant world of apathetic performers.

Now what I love about Laini Taylor, other than everything, is that this woman is made of fairytales. I swear she's like woven together by sweet kisses and dewdrops. She's been sung into being by blind minstrels bathed in moonlight. She's wrapped in gossamer and shrived in pure white swan feathers. You know, all that magical shit. She's that. The woman is magic and she writes magic. If anyone could take Romeo and Juliet, mate it with a YA paranormal romance and produce a love child that people don't want to drown at birth - then it would be Laini Taylor.

This book is powerful, emotive, heart breaking, anguishing!

What I'm saying...the point I'm trying to make here...the truth is... Laini Taylor kicked my heart in the ass.

And I LIKED it!

This review can also be found on my blog, Cuddlebuggery Book Blog.
Profile Image for emma.
1,869 reviews54.6k followers
September 5, 2023
Do not listen to what anyone tells you about this book. Except me. Because I am right.

I understand this is biased advice, and also advice I would give to anyone about anything at any time because I am my own biggest supporter, but just trust me on this one.

Because other people might want to tell you this is “YA fantasy” or “urban fantasy” or “supernatural / magical / paranormal fiction,” and all of those people would be wrong.

This is a romance.

Barely even a paranormal romance, at that.

I don’t have anything against the romance genre. I really don’t. I swear I don’t think I’m too good for them or something dumb like that (books are books). I read a lot of them, actually, and yes, I rate a lot of them poorly, but that’s true of me in any genre. I’m dead inside, after all.


Do NOT - I repeat, DO NOT - hand me a romance book and tell me it’s an atmospheric, unique, beautifully written fantasy unlike anything I’ve ever read or will ever read.

Because when it comes down to it, this is just a young adult fantasy from 2011 that completely f*cks up the adventure to romance ratio.

Like every single young adult fantasy from 2011.

I really liked the beginning of this book, when I was still under the devastatingly false impression that I was going to get what I wanted from it. I was excited about the Prague setting, which did feel atmospheric. I was excited about the prose, which was beautiful. I was excited about the world, which seemed promising.

But then some handsome bozo with a pair of wings showed up, and our firmly not-like-other-girls blue-haired protagonist had a VERY difficult time thinking of anything else.

Which made me have a VERY difficult time eking out any enjoyment of this book.

In fact, from that instalove-y point forward, through smitten conversation and eye contact that was roughly the gushiness equivalent of two heart-eyes emojis staring each other down, I got little to no enjoyment from it at all.

More on the “no” side, if I’m honest.

Bottom line: The best thing about reading this? I don’t have to be disappointed, because I got my copy for free from a neighbor and am under no obligation to continue reading this series.


once upon a time, there was a girl who picked up a book hoping for action and magic and fantastical adventures. instead, she got instalove, and her heart wept.

(that book was this book and that girl was me.)

review to come

currently-reading updates

i have owned this for two years and this is the first time i've even opened it.

buddy read with nadhira
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,993 reviews298k followers
May 17, 2015

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love. It did not end well.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone tells the age-old tale of forbidden love with a beautifully constructed mythological twist. Karou and Akiva are a Romeo and Juliet unlike any other and Laini Taylor has managed to encapture love, loneliness and desperation in a masterpiece of a novel that deserves to be read by anyone of any age who truly appreciates quality writing and story-telling.

Karou is a 17 year old art student living in Prague. She gossips with girlfriends, works on her art and has a nightmare of an ex-boyfriend who won't take the hint. But behind all of this, Karou has a secret. She was raised by and frequently runs errands for a demonic 'wishmonger'. In this secret world, wishes are the currency and monsters will do anything for their ultimate wishes to be fulfilled. Living between worlds, Karou senses that she doesn't quite belong in either... then one day she runs into the angelic Akiva, who not only makes her question where she belongs but who and what she actually is.

Laini Taylor, unlike numerous young adult authors, never patronises her readers and writes with a magical flair and sophistication that is a true rarity. Though she writes in a genre dominated by authors like Stephenie Meyer and Becca Fitzpatrick, her stories are richer, her characters more highly developed and interesting, and her style is just a true work of art.

I cannot stress highly enough just how much I enjoyed this novel. The literary nerd in me was in awe of the author's poetic expressions, whilst the girl in me was caught up in the whirlwind of fantasy, romance and mixture of seraphim/chimaera mythology. I thought Lips Touch: Three Times was one of the best young adult novels I've read in a long time and the best paranormal romance I have probably ever read... but, Daughter of Smoke and Bone was even better in my opinion. I was thrilled to discover that we can expect a sequel and there's no doubt in my mind as to whether or not I'll be reading it.

The thing that really struck me most was the way Laini Taylor uses old, often cliched, ideas like: forbidden love, the divine battle of angels and devils, fallen angels... and manages to turn them into something entirely new and extraordinary. I have never enjoyed a young adult book about angels. Never. However, this is not a stereotypical angel/devil story about good vs. bad. In fact, this novel shows how something can be perceived as evil by being different and how it's possible to be born and raised into the hatred of something else just because they are what they are. It's an incredible and touching story that explores prejudice as well as romance in a spectacular fantasy world.

Everything the author writes is important and not one word is wasted nonsensically. That's what I love most about Laini Taylor, there's a sense in each of her novels that she mulled over every sentence and made it the best it could possibly be. It's something not done too often outside of poetry and it's marvelous to read. There's also a wicked sensuality amidst the darkness that's just irresistable. A truly fantastic read!

Many thanks to Hodder and Stoughton for kindly providing an arc copy of this book for review. Please note: this had no effect whatsoever on my rating and/or review.
Profile Image for Tatiana.
1,406 reviews11.7k followers
December 9, 2020
Almost 10 years later this remains my favorite, and it is definitely top tier YA fantasy, or fantasy period, for me. I loved all of Daughter of Smoke & Bone - the mythology, the imagery, the structure of the story, pure imagination, I even loved the instalove with an interesting and creative tinge of bestiality (it's fantasy, it makes sense, I promise). It was also fun to see how cleverly Daughter of Smoke & Bone subtly connected to Muse of Nightmares duology. I usually don't go for books with a lot of descriptions and purple writing, but this purple works for me. Kind of sad these books never got to be presented in a visual form - graphic novel or a movie.

A pleasure to revisit.

I hope Laini Taylor releases something new soon.
When I first heard the details of the premise of Laini Taylor's new book, for a moment I thought Laini must have read my review of Personal Demons. In that review I rant about how great story ideas are squandered away. You see, Personal Demons had a very interesting concept - a demon and an angel battling for the soul of a human girl. There are so many creative opportunities in the angel/demon lore, I thought surely the author would make something good out of it. I was wrong then - the story turned out to be nothing more than a cliche angsty love triangle extravaganza. But I am right now. Laini Taylor took a similar angel/demon idea and transformed it into pure magic.

Karou is a 17-year old art student. She lives in Prague, paints and goes to school. She is trying to get over her good-for-nothing ex-boyfriend. But there is an air of mystery about Karou. She knows magic. She has a secret life. Karou is an orphan who was raised lovingly by a foursome of demonic creatures. She occasionally runs strange errands for them; and on one of the trips she is confronted by an angelic-looking Akiva who attempts to kill her.

What happens next is best described by the book's own first lines:

Once upon a time,
an angel and a devil fell in love.

It did not end well.

There is nothing cliche about this story, trust me. Laini Taylor is a writer with talent and extraordinary imagination. What I loved the most about Daughter of Smoke and Bone was the world behind it. We all have read our measure of angel books and you will probably agree with me that the portrayal of angels in them rarely goes beyond wings, sexiness and some dark secret behind the "fall." But what if angels and demons are not what is traditionally/biblically accepted? What if you could get into the midst of their world, learn about their cultures, gain knowledge about their centuries-long war? What if the love between an angel and demon is forbidden and a taboo (maybe even by human standards)? Would you like to read about that? I bet you would.

Lips Touch: Three Times is one of my most favorite books ever. If you liked those stories, I doubt Daughter of Smoke and Bone will disappoint you. This novel is equally dark, sensual, unsettling and a little twisted. The imagery is stunning. The language is beautiful, every word matters (there were a couple of slips into overwritten, I must say, but only a couple). And the love... well, it pushes boundaries, it transcends time and space.

I am looking solemnly at the months of waiting ahead of me. Waiting for a copy of the book of my own to inhale every word of it again. And then for the next two books... But first, I will be waiting for this ARC cover to be changed to something that reflects the beauty of this story. I've been told to get over my cover grief already, but I just can't!
Profile Image for Kay.
197 reviews373 followers
December 6, 2011
Ooh. OOOH! Meh... Mehhhhhhhhh...........

Which basically summarizes my reaction throughout the novel.

I hate it when things like this happen, when books start out so strong with an intriguing world and a growing character. But before you know it, it goes splat into a big mud puddle of Cliche and Predictability and WowThisRemindsMeOf100OtherYABooks.

The Ooh.

The book started out very, very strong. The premise was very interesting: Karou, an orphaned human girl adopted by demon magicians, is sent out on missions to collect teeth. We don't know what the teeth are used for, but know that they have something to do with granting wishes. The girl travels to exotic places, from black market auctions to middle eastern market places, through a network of doors all connected to the demon's workshop. Sometimes she has to fight off enemies, lug around huge sacks of teeth through subways, and once she gets shot by seedy criminals. Not the typical glamorous job, but still extremely interesting to read about.


The plot gains steam when mysterious hand-shaped scorch marks begin to appear all over the world on doors. This poses a serious problem since Karou is only able to reach her demon foster parents, her only family, through those doors, and these scorch marks effectively "shut them down" so that they don't function as portals from point A to point B. For some time, however, Karou remains unaffected by this and continues to run her errands and visit her demon foster parents. The question of what teeth and wishes have in common hangs heavy in the air, especially when we find out that seraphim are the ones who are closing the doorways between worlds.

At this point, I was excited. Until this point, the story focused heavily on the mystery of the teeth--what were they used for, why do the demons need them? Karou reflects on her previous teeth-gathering missions; some teeth were taken from the dead, others forcibly extracted from the mouths of young girls. Poignant images that communicated realistically the brutality of such a trade.

It seemed that the plot would follow along the teeth gathering, and thus the questions that arose centralized around the teeth: How were the handprints on the doors going to affect the trade? How would Karou be able to make contact with her demons? What were the angels, and how were they involved in this gruesome trade?

The Meh...

Unfulfilled promises, dashed expectations, and some misdirection followed from this point on.

It was inevitable that Karou and the angels would meet. It was also expected that there would be sparks of attraction, and that the attraction will probably be mutual as it's established early on that Karou is pretty. But, after reading Lips Touch, I assumed that this would not be the typical romance where the girl falls head over heels for the guy.

The problem is, she does.

Immediately, Karou and Akiva are attracted to each other. Karou is entranced by his angelic beauty and his perfectly proportionate features, though simultaneously noting that that Akiva is a creature totally lacking in mercy or soul.

But that's not the end of it. After Karou escapes the angel, the books takes a suspicious Twilight-like turn, as the angel follows Karou back to her human home and proceeds to stalk her watch her from afar. He does this, constantly wondering how this mere human girl could spark so much emotion in the heart he thought he turned to stone years before. Then, like flipping a light switch off and on, he breaks down and confesses to Karou that he can’t help but follow her and look at her. [Please note that it takes Akiva a battle and around two whole pages to fully acknowledge his attraction to Karou.]

Furthermore, though she is cut off completely from her demon family, thanks to Akiva’s scorch mark, Karou invites him to tea and introduces him to her best friend, who immediately insists that Karou mate with him.

...Yeah, I don’t know any more.

I think we slipped into the realm of Mehhhhhhhhh........... somewhere back there. But it doesn't matter because from this point on, every single plot twist was predictable, including but not limited to:

(1) Why Akiva is attracted to Karou
(2) Why Karou is attracted to Akiva
(3) What the teeth are for
(4) What happened to Karou's foster demon parents

I expected a bit more from this novel. I don’t know, maybe more ardent fans of YA romance would find this novel great. The writing itself wasn’t bad. But the story needs a lot of work. It had so much potential, especially the premise. It was such a sharp contrast to what I had expected, and it’s with a dash of sadness and regret that I can’t help but give the book 2 stars.

Good try, Laini Taylor, but it just did not tickle my fancy.
Profile Image for NickReads.
461 reviews1,195 followers
May 1, 2020

Mountain View
“Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love.

It did not end well.”


Mountain View

You can find the full review and more about this book on my blog!

Freaking amazing book.I didn't expect this to be this good.I couldn't put the book down,like literally.Everything fits perfectly ,the characters ,the story,everything.It is so unique and different from other stories.And it's actually the first book written in third person that I enjoyed because I'm not a fan of third person books.

“Have you ever asked yourself, do monsters make war, or does war make monsters?”


Mountain View

The writing style was beyond perfect.It's uniqueness is what makes this book so special.The way words cling together...amazing.I must say I was confused at some parts because the English that is used in this book is quite difficult to understand and there were a lot of words I didn't get but that didn't stop me from truly adoring this book from page one to the last.

“It is a condition of monsters that they do not perceive themselves as such. The dragon, you know, hunkered in the village devouring maidens, heard the townsfolk cry 'Monster!' and looked behind him.”


Mountain View

The ending was epic.The way things puzzle together is remarkable.The epilogue was also good,short but good.It clarified what happened after the ending.But there was also a cliff.

“Hope can be a powerful force. Maybe there's no actual magic in it, but when you know what you hope for most and hold it like a light within you, you can make things happen, almost like magic.”


So the story:

Mountain View

This book is about a girl , blue haired girl who lives two lives.A normal one with school and teachers and boring classes,and another one,filled with fantasy and strange characters,with teeth and wishes,the elsewhere.One day she meets an angel,and from that moment her life changes,both of her lives.Her early life was a mystery,a cloudy image in her heard.Her entire life she was haunted by one question "Who am I" and after meeting the angel she was one step closer to find the answer.But did she really wanted to know?

Mountain View

“She moved like a poem and smiled like a sphinx.”


The characters:


Mountain View

This character is so cool.She is unique and funny and tough and freaking beautiful.I liked her dirty sense of humor.She is such a mystery.


Mountain View

Akiva is one of those characters you can predict somehow.He is caring and determined as a lot of male main characters.What surprised me what his sense of humor.As awkward as it sounded it actually fits him.

I highly recommend this book to paranormal angel/demons lovers.I actually recommend this book to all the readers because it is the art itself.

Mountain View

*Pictures from the review are not mine, I took them mostly from Google images or Tumblr*
Profile Image for Elle (ellexamines).
1,096 reviews17.7k followers
May 14, 2019
My original review here was “punch :) me :) in :) the :) face :)” and I think that accurately sums my view up. That being said, here's an actual review that's NOT just me crying! Amazing!

Daughter of Smoke and Bone follows a demon's assistant, Karou, who helps to collect teeth for the family of her youth. It's a creative story that pulled me in from the beginning. Before we were 40 pages in, I knew I had found a favorite.


Just as beautiful as everyone says. Laini Taylor's writing flows across the page to the point where instead of skipping across paragraphs as I usually do, I was hanging on her every word.
Like a shadow that coasts over the moon.

Is the word choice there not brilliant? It's such a subtle difference than “a shadow that covers the moon,” but it changes everything somehow.

The writing is also rich with emotional content. I just really, really loved it.
Wishes are false. Hope is true. Hope is its own magic.


I absolutely love Karou. Laini Taylor infuses her with a quiet inner strength, yet also a loneliness and a desire for love.

I also loved the strong friendship between girls here. Zuzana is a dynamic, funny side character.
“This morning you hate men in hats, wiener dogs–”
“Weiner-dog owners,” Zuzana corrected. “You'd have to have, like, a lentil for a soul to hate wringer dogs.”

She's a sweet, believable character. I only wish she were in the second half more.

Akiva is a good character, although he isn't a strong love for me yet. He's a good character with a good personality and some moral ambiguity, but he's not as developed as I want him to be. I'm hoping he gets expanded more in the sequel.


I feel like I should give this book four stars. I SHOULD. The romance is full of instalove. Yes, it's kind of explained, but it's still full of instalove. That should be enough for me to take off a star!

But I can't, because I loved the romance. There's something about the idea of star-crossed lovers, maybe. Or maybe it's just Laini Taylor's writing, or the strength of Akiva and Karou's characters. Whatever it is, I found myself totally invested in the romance after just a few pages. By the time we got to the twist, I was hooked.


This book is a complete mindfuck, and I adored it. Although one of the major twists is easy to guess, most of the twists are sheer brilliance. Towards the end, plot points you've forgotten about are explained. Even little details of the first half are mentioned.

And that ending was just cruel.


The worldbuilding here is just awesome. Again, I can't expand upon that, because the worldbuilding isn't revealed until later in the book. You've just got to read it.

This isn't your typical angels vs. demons story; angels aren't all good and demons aren't all bad. I loved the nuance of their conflict. There's something to be said for taking an old story and making it something new, and I loved Laini Taylor's execution of this story.

Highly recommended and I can't wait to start book two!
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,535 reviews9,955 followers
December 15, 2020
OMG! Click on the GOODIE link under the pic to see my special edition ILLUMICRATE UNBOXING!!!



OMG! I loved this book so much! I am so in love with Akiva! The below picture was the best I could find that is sort of what I picture. It doesn't have his amazing black shadow fire wings or the longish black hair that I imagine, but who cares =)


Once upon a time,
a little girl was raised by monsters.
But angels burned the doorways to their world,
and she was all alone.

I love Karou's character. She's got blue hair, she can draw, she has a best friend named, Zuzana. She's really sweet and I just love her. She can pull some bad to the bone stunts too.

Karou has no idea what she truly is, she just lives in her human world but was raised by chimaera. Things are not always as they seem. Not all of the evil creatures are totally evil and not all of the good angels are good. Laini Taylor writes such rich characters. Things I could never even dream up and for the most part, can't pronounce half their names. =)

Karou lives in her own place through the means given to her by Brimstone. He raised her, she does horrible things for him, and they love each other. I didn't like some of the things that were in the book that she had to do but the author writes it in such a way that is shows these thing are NOT okay in the real world. Also, I might add that in this world it might not be a bad idea to have bad teeth. Well, that just threw all of you that hasn't read this book to the wind. =)

There are some other creature things that live with Brimstone and Karou, well like I said, Karou is old enough to be out on her own. But in the shop, home etc. is where they all stay for the most part. And it's not somewhere you can just walk into, there is a portal and it's all kinds of cray.

Issa and a few others that are chimaera are just too cool. They all have parts of human, animal, reptile parts that make them creature/monster things. I think they would look cool. Well, the nice ones!

One day these hand prints start showing up on the doorways to the portals. They were done by angels. We get to meet Akiva, Hazael and Liraz. Mostly Akiva and holy crap on a cracker!

Akiva and Karou don't hit it off too well. They think the worst of each other and then . . . things change and then . . . things change again. Sigh. . .


Such a little thing, and brittle, and the sound it made: a sharp, clean snap.


Rushing, like wind through a door, and Karou was the door, and the wind was coming home, and she was also the wind.
She was all: wind and home and door.
She rushed into herself and was filled.
She let herself in and was full.
She closed again. The wind settled. It was as simple as that.

She was whole.

You have no idea how this book turned so much more amazing and sad. I love it. Amaze Balls! And I would really like Akiva and Karou to be in love forever!

MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List


Old Review when first read in 2014

I won this is a GOODREADS/FIRST READS GIVEAWAY! I loved it so very much!
Profile Image for Tharindu Dissanayake.
288 reviews559 followers
August 31, 2021
"I've always wanted to tase someone. Zap!"

Back to YA Fantasy, and this time I decided to select something randomly from my TBR. And I have to say, after finishing the first book of this trilogy, I'm pleasantly surprised. This turned out far better that I had hoped for! Laini Taylor establishes a solid foundation for what I expect would be a great fantasy series. I was in-between 3 and 4 stars for this one, but the ending nudged me towards 4-stars at last.

"An angel tried to kill me."

To be honest, the first half of the book is a little confusing. The reader is taken through a series of mysterious events around Karou, the protagonist, surrounded by a set of bizarre (but very unique, and interesting) characters, and there is little to no explanation about the events. Though it was fun, especially with the hilarious Zuzana, I didn't feel like a lot was happening. However, the second half started filling all the gaps, constantly going back and forth in timeline, leading up to the big reveal(s), which only came during the last couple of chapters. So, I think it's safe to assume that the author was mainly using this book to build the world, develop the key characters, and finish by revealing the core of the plot, so that she could start the actual story from the next book. She did a great job accomplishing all those things. The author's writing is quite good, which is easy to follow, and is assisted by a very nice prose. From the first chapter, it was clear that Taylor's world building is wonderful.

"Like mold on books, grow myths on history."

However, there were some noticeable shortcomings as well. Even with the added complexity of multiple worlds, I though the romance of this book was a little too obvious. I mean it wasn't bad by any means, but it was the usual love-at-first-sight we see everywhere. Also, the 'angelic villains' were not that interesting in my opinion, though that seems to be only limited to this first book, for, they have gotten much better in the second book. But in this first book, they do appear somewhat shallow. Anyway, I still enjoyed most of the book, and it did more than enough to convince me to continue with the series. A very promising start.

"Hope makes it own magic."
Profile Image for Zoë.
328 reviews65.8k followers
February 7, 2016

The writing was mysterious and lovely and I really enjoyed this! Because of how mysterious it is, I'm really glad that I went into it knowing nothing. I was sufficiently confused for the better part of this book, but very intrigued, so it was more like putting together a puzzle than trying to run around blindfolded. I think the world is so original and I'm ready to see where this story goes! (Also, YAY for no insta-love!)
Profile Image for jessica.
2,555 reviews35.6k followers
February 5, 2020
ive always had the opinion that the whole paranormal urban fantasy genre is just not for me, no thank you. but fortunately people grow, preferences change, and i am that much better for it - because this was actually really good! reading and liking this book made me feel like im finally reaching my full potential as a person. yay me! haha.

what i enjoyed most is probably the setting - i dont think ive ever read a book that was set in prague or marrakech, both of which are cities that i adore! so that made this so much more exciting, in my opinion. i also liked the story - its paced quite well, the characters are decent, and the plot is very unique. the story does end on a cliffhanger, but i actually thought it was perfectly executed and really worked in convincing me to read the next book.

my only issue is with the romance. insta-love has never really bothered me, but something about this particular pairing is off. im just not buying what they re selling. regardless of this minor bump in the road, this is still an enjoyable book overall!

4 stars
Profile Image for Patrick.
Author 65 books233k followers
June 19, 2011
Wow. Just Wow.

I got an ARC of this one about a month ago, and only just now got around to reading it. I really liked Laini's first Dreamdark book, so I was eager to try this one.

It was great. Really great. Read it all in a day.

Profile Image for ✨ Helena ✨.
382 reviews1,009 followers
May 6, 2021


“Hope can be a powerful force. Maybe there's no actual magic in it, but when you know what you hope for most and hold it like a light within you, you can make things happen, almost like magic.”

FINALLY. Finally, after three weeks of the midterms from hell, I was finally able to re-read my favourite trilogy of all time! Boy, did I need a pick-me-up, after that! I don’t even have the words to express how much the DOSAB trilogy means to me…but I’ll try. ;) Regardless, this does mark my fifth read of the trilogy, apparently: 2011-2014 (1st), 2015 (2nd), 2016 (3rd), 2017 (4th), and now 2018 (5th). And I already can’t wait to do it again next year! :P

Laini Taylor is a phenomenal writer. She is my favourite author of all time! That’s how good she is! I just love everything that this woman puts to paper SO MUCH. She manages to transmit every taste, every smell, every touch, every sound, and every sight onto the page. And not only that…when doing so, she uses such a vivid and lyrical writing style that it makes you believe that you are reading actual poetry, rather than simple prose. She doesn’t go so far as to completely write using purple prose, but she comes pretty close to it. And I LOVE it. She’s the type of author that inspires others to either A) write better or B) start writing in the first place. I honestly want to know how she does it. Or maybe she could just lend me her muse because there’s no way that a human could come up with this stuff on her own!

The world building is obviously amazing. I’d call it transitional urban fantasy because, while the groundwork is crafted in the very human, albeit magical in its own right, city of Prague, Laini does set up the stage for the expansion of the story to take place in an entirely other world, which I shall TRY to not spoil for you. ;) I found it hilarious that Zuzana, one of the characters in this tale, explicitly references Narnia, because the voyage from the boring, human world to an exciting, magical one did arguably originate with C.S. Lewis, one of the most fundamental authors in the fantasy genre. You also aren’t dealing with your run-of-mill supernatural creatures like the ever-popular witches, vampires, werewolves, or faeries. Rather, Laini chose to use angels (or seraphim) from religious lore, but without the spirituality aspect, and demons (or chimaera) from mythological tales. No, this isn’t another Fallen or Hush, Hush. In fact, it’s infinitely better! :D

There also isn’t some average romance in this trilogy. Rather, it’s of Romeo & Juliet-esque quality (even though I could go on a tangent as to why that isn’t a good love story, but that’s a topic for another day). It’s a breath-taking tale of forbidden star-crossed lovers on opposite sides of a thousand-year-old war. Romeo and Juliet would wish that their legacy were half as epic as Karou and Akiva’s! In 2011, 15-year-old me fell head-over-heels in love with Akiva, making him my first book boyfriend. Certainly, I love Will Herondale and Percy Jackson, but they’ll never compare with Akiva, in my eyes. Also, considering our 7-year relationship, thus far, it’s only fair to begin calling Akiva my book husband. SO BACK OFF! He’s MINE, ladies and gents! MINE! <3


So, I should probably tell you what this book is about, rather than simply gushing and fangirling over it, huh? Ok, fine…

The story begins with an azure-haired and tattooed, 17-year-old girl by the name of Karou.


She attends an art school in Prague with her best friend, the “Rabid Faery”, Zuzana. These two are best friend goals and one of the purest examples of female friendship in YA. To this day, I have still yet to come across a more iconic duo. Karou also spends her time by going on “errands”, which include harvesting teeth for the chimaera, the “Wishmonger”, Brimstone. She has to find a way to balance her two lives without arousing suspicion from her very human friend.

On an errand, which brings her to Morocco, whilst fetching teeth from a graverobber and former doctor, Karou encounters Akiva.


Akiva, a vengeful angel, tortured by a dark and tragic past, has been leaving scorched handprints on the portals to the Brimstone’s workshops, which is how Karou travels from city to city on behalf of Brimstone. When Karou and Akiva meet, they feel an uncontrollable pull towards one another, which neither of them can understand. Is it fate? Is it destiny? Or is it something else entirely? Thus, begins a romance for the ages. But this is not just some love story. It is also a story of war, prejudice, family, friendship, magic, wishes, monsters, angels, and most of all…hope.

“Have you ever asked yourself, do monsters make war, or does war make monsters?”


As I’ve mentioned over and over again throughout this review, this is my favourite trilogy, and I wish for all of you to experience the multitude of feelings and emotions that I felt when I read it for the magical, first time. Despite the enormous fandom that exists for this series, I have found that that a shocking number of people have yet to experience it’s gloriousness. Needless to say, I highly, highly recommend it. Some people have Harry Potter or the Mortal Instruments as their happy place. DOSAB is mine. <3 Now, I’m off to continue my wonderful journey in Days of Blood & Starlight!


This was also a semi-buddy read with my bestie, Laura! Sorry that it was a bit of a fail this time around. Hopefully, Days of Blood and Starlight will go better! ;) *crosses fingers*

P.S. The artwork above is credited to the amazing Lesya BlackBirdInk!
Profile Image for Samantha.
440 reviews16.7k followers
October 17, 2016
4.5 stars? 4.75 stars?! It's been a while since I've started a new series and been this head over heels. My gut says I can't quite give it 5 stars for a few verrrry minor reasons but I may change my mind the more I think (*obsess*) about this book.

Full review and gush to come on my channel!
Profile Image for karen.
3,988 reviews170k followers
July 1, 2018
this book is astonishingly good.

this is the book i should have been handed when i first expressed an interest in exploring the world of the fantasy novel. never mind that isn't not going to be published for three more months (thank you to the girl with BEA access for getting this for me), it should have happened somehow.

this is the most pure example of fantasy that i have seen so far.
and it is nearly perfect.

once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love. it did not end well.

a fantastic opening to a book. and it really takes off from there, revealing its secrets slowly, and deliciously and only occasionally predictably.

i appreciate a sad love story, and this one really delivers. this is a fairy-tale fantasy that has its roots in the traditional fairy tale rather than the sweet disneyland versions where everyone is a-ok in the end. (or is it just the beginning...?)

there is a great deal of struggle in this book. internal struggles involving the pain of separation from "family", from new love, from friends - the distance of secrets and the necessity of this distance. as in most fairy tales, there is subtext out the wazoo here. and she manages to just spread it on there like delicious jam and you are like "hmmm what kind of fruit is this jam? it tastes a little bitter but i cannot stop eating it,"and then you're dead, because it is one of those delicious poisons that nature puts out there to ensnare you. lainie taylor, i am on to you. but i am still addicted to you.and that's just what you wanted, dammit.

for a month of stolen nights and the occasional sun-drenched afternoon when madrigal could get away from loramendi by day, they cupped their wings around their happiness and called it a world, though they both knew it was not a world, only a hiding place, which is a very different thing.

yeah, yeah, i get it: you can write.

and i was so resistant to her because of the name/cover of lips touch three times, but when i was forced (again, thanks to tommy) to actually read it, i realized that lainie taylor is the real deal. and this book just solidifies that opinion.

and my only quibble - the only thing that is keeping this from being "best book ever" is so stupid, but i just felt that the pacing was a little bit skewed. these was so much in the first half, so much slowly spooled out story of "mysterious girl in prague" and then by the end, it was so rapidly told: angels, demons, war, love, betrayal,blam blam blammo!! it left me a little breathless.

which was probably just what she wanted, but i'm no spring chicken: "i can't take any more scares!!" or rapid changes in pacing. but i feel like a jerk for even finding something to whine about, because this is pretty much as good as it gets, book-wise.

september, my kittens...

come to my blog!
Profile Image for Steph Sinclair.
461 reviews11.1k followers
October 31, 2011

You know that book you're reading right now? How about all those books on your "TBR" list? FORGET ABOUT 'EM!

I first stumbled across Laini Taylor when I was encouraged by several of my GoodReader friends to read Lips Touch. So, I read it and while I enjoyed it, I wasn't blown away. However, I think it was a "It's not you, it's me" situation because anthologies and I don't really get along. I went into this book thinking it was just another PNR, Angel style. I couldn't have been more wrong. If Romeo & Juliet and the story of the Trojan War had a literary baby, that in turn grew up, rebelled, and decided to have paranormal creatures in a fantasy sort of world, it would be Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Okay, that makes almost no sense. Here, let me simplify it for you:

Laini Taylor




............................................................... Photobucket

Karou is just your ordinary 17-year-old girl living as an art student in the beautiful city of Prague. She has blue hair, collects languages as birthday gifts, and runs errands collecting teeth. Okay, so maybe she's not so "ordinary." But one day, while running one of her "errands," she runs into a mysterious stranger named Akiva who attacks her. After that moment, her life forever changes and she finds herself on the cusp of unraveling the secret behind her most burning question:"Who am I?"

There are some stories that make you say, "Wow! That person's imagination was going into overdrive." Harry Potter, Star Wars and the Pendragon series immediately come to mind. While reading Daughter of Smoke and Bone I was mesmerized by Taylor's vivid descriptions and she easily fits in the above category as well. As with the first time I read a Laini Taylor novel, I had to get adjusted to her unique writing style. Karou and the mystery surrounding her past are so interesting you just sucked into the story. I literally could not put the book down and it took over my life for a few days causing me to abandon a few of my responsibilities.

Internal dialog:
"I'll just read one more page then I cook dinner."
"Well, I might as well finish this chapter since I'm halfway through it."
"Dammit I forgot to feed the kids, but I'm hitting the climax...must.put.book.down."

Thanks to crafty little plan of mine, AKA take-out, no one starved. That just shows you how addictive this book was for me!

And let's talk about the love interest, Akiva. *sigh* Where do I begin with him?! Oh, ya! Hey Stephenie Meyer, this is how you write a tortured character. Akiva has a very real painful past that he carries with him. When he meets Karou is is drawn to her for some unknown reason and she to him. Wait, what's that you say? Isn't that insta-love? Preposterous! Laini Taylor is so above that. Don't be fooled young padewon like I was.

The first half of the book is so full of mystery it will have you begging for answers and Taylor does not disappoint. You've heard of that little rule "show, don't tell?" Well, Laini is the freakin' queen of doing just that. She shows you everything and by the end you're like:
and then:

I can't say anything more about this book. I refuse to spoil anything. Just go read it now!

More reviews and more at Cuddlebuggery Book Blog.
Profile Image for Hannah Azerang.
130 reviews98.4k followers
November 2, 2016
Profile Image for Jillian -always aspiring-.
1,821 reviews203 followers
July 22, 2011
Note: Be warned that this is one of those reviews that in no way can do justice to the actual novel, but there's no harm in trying. Regardless, I greatly urge anyone who has even the slightest interest in this book to procure a copy when it's released on September 27, 2011.

Seven Perfect Reasons Why You Should Read Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor:

1. The writing is fantastic, dang it. 

Now, I loved Laini Taylor's first young adult offering, Lips Touch: Three Times (You've read it, haven't you?  HAVEN'T YOU?), but I have to admit that the short story format of it left me craving something. . .more.  I mean, it's difficult to find really beautiful writing – the kind that digs its way inside of you and then makes you ache as if it's stolen a bit of your heart – so when you come across such delectable writing you really want to savor it.  When I found out that Daughter of Smoke and Bone was a little over 400 pages, I was ecstatic because a longer length meant more wonderful prose from Laini Taylor.

And the writing does not disappoint.  Whether Taylor is describing the various eccentricities of Prague (one of the main settings in this novel), the pulse-pounding action of a human girl fighting an angel, or even just the emotions threading through the heroine, Karou, the prose simply blazes in a way that's beautiful, ethereal, and unforgettable.

One of my favorite examples of Taylor's prose comes from this passage (no spoilers):
Karou wished she could be the kind of girl who was complete unto herself, comfortable in solitude, serene.  But she wasn't. She was lonely, and she feared the missingness within her as if it might expand and . . . cancel her.  She craved a presence beside her, solid.  Fingertips light at the nape of her neck and a voice meeting hers in the dark.  Someone who would wait with an umbrella to walk her home in the rain, and smile like sunshine when he saw her coming.  Who would dance with her on her balcony, keep his promises and know her secrets, and make a tiny world wherever he was, with just her and his arms and his whisper and her trust. (Pg. 71, ARC edition)
Isn't that just lovely?  Can't you just feel the longing as if it had been your own?

Such is the power of Laini Taylor's writing – and that's only a small glimpse into what she has in her writing arsenal.

2. Ever feel like you're reading the same old thing over and over again?  Well, listen up: this book takes everything you think you know and spins all your assumptions on their heads.

True love.  Magic.  Supernatural happenings.  A heroine who is more than she believes herself to be.

Yawn, yawn, yawn, yawn.

You think you know where all of this is going, don't you?

HOLD ON!  Daughter of Smoke and Bone may have all those elements, but I bet you won't be able to guess how they all tie together.  You may think it's a "girl meets boy"-type deal with love overshadowing everything, but the story is far more than that.  Without giving anything away, it's the way paranormal books should be written – with supernatural enticements, fantastical wonder, and even a bit of grim horror.

Oh, twists and turns too.  You can't have a great story without some killer twists and turns – which, you may be happy to know, this novel has in abundance.

3. You think you know angels and demons?  Think again.

True to form, Laini Taylor – an obvious lover of lore and mythology from all cultures, given the tales of Lips Touch – offers a fascinating new spin on angels and demons.  What if everything you had ever supposed about the divine realm was only a part of a greater truth?  What if angels and demons warred for supremacy in a land all their own?

Are you intrigued?  You should be because the mythology built in this story is one of the most thorough and imaginative I've ever seen in a young adult novel.  I can only imagine what Laini Taylor has in store for the furthering and deepening of this fantastic world she has created.

4. Lovers of fairy tales, myths, and/or legends will find a kindred spirit in this story. The very essence of the story thrives on all kinds of superstitions and beliefs, so of course it's going to appeal to anyone who has an appreciation for all those things that challenge human minds and logic.

5. Karou is a kick-arse heroine. In a nutshell:  she's not afraid to do what has to be done.

6. You know that feeling of never wanting a book to end?  Well, expect to feel it here. You will start to dread, dread, dread as you near the end of the book because you just know that you'll want the next book as soon as you finish.

7. Hope. What can I say?  It's the crux of the novel.
Profile Image for booksnpenguins (wingspan matters).
798 reviews2,887 followers
March 31, 2020
Even though a huge number of people I know seems to consider DoSaB the best thing since sliced bread, I couldn't have liked it less even it I tried.
And, trust me, I tried.
Halfway through it I realized this book just isn't for me. Instead of making me feel something, it just left me bored and annoyed, and eager to either get drunk on cough syrup or punch someone in the teeth.
I liked the premise and all the mystery surrounding the chimaeras and the teeth affair, but something spoiled it.
I was also pretty intrigued by Kaoru's life, before Mr Hotpants popped up, but my enthusiasm didn't last long.
The insta-love was so cringeworthy (Akiva really did give me bad Edward the Stalker™ Cullen vibes) and I couldn't relate to Karou at all, especially after she became the whiny excuse of a love interest for her love interest, in her own story.
That scene where they fly in the sky in front of a whole crowd and they get away with saying it was just a theatrical trick, well...let's draw a veil over it.
I really appreciated the writing, though, and also the way Prague (I ADORE PRAGUE SO MUCH YOU GUYS HAVE NO IDEA) was portrayed.

Professional Reader
10 Book Reviews
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Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,615 reviews10.7k followers
May 17, 2022

Obviously, I am extremely late to the party on the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy. I have been hearing for years how great these books are, how I MUST read it.

I finally decided to give it a go when the audiobook became available through my library.

While I wasn’t disappointed, I wasn’t exactly blown away either.

It was good, but I think, for me, it fell victim to the hype. I was sort of expecting the best book ever written and although the writing style is gorgeous, the plot was lacking, particularly through the beginning.

I did feel the second half picked up and that ending crushed me.

As can happen with first books of a series, so much character development and world creation can end up retracting a bit from the actual plot.

I will say that Laini Taylor’s writing itself is very, very strong. The flow and her choice and use of words is flawless. I absolutely loved that and am excited to read her other works.

I also really enjoyed a lot of the characters, particularly Zuzana and Madrigal. I have already begun the second book, as of this morning, and already feel much more invested in it than I did with the first book!

As a side note, for the audiobook, the narrator is excellent and I would definitely recommend it in that format.
Profile Image for Claudia Lomelí.
Author 8 books76.8k followers
August 20, 2016

I really liked this book, and I wasn't even expecting it! The thing is... the first piece of work I read from Laini Taylor was her short story in "My true love gave to me twelve holiday stories", and I didn't like it, at all. So naturally, after reading that, I wasn't eager to dive into this, BUT OH, I'm glad I did! It was simply amazing! The thing I loved the most about this book is the world Laini created! It is beautiful and intriguing and so original! I love everything about the wishes and the teeth and Brimstone's shop! Fantastic!

The one thing I didn't like was the total insta-love, I was enjoying the book so much and then BAM! It happens! The two protagonists met and FELL FOR EACH OTHER IN A BLINK OF AN EYE! I WAS LIKE: PLEASE DON'T. But I forgave them because later in the book we learn something that justifies it, kind of... *thinks about it* No, not kind of, It REALLY explains the insta-love. Also, I really liked Karou's backstory! It completely made sense and it made me love Brimstone even more (FAVORITE CHARACTER!!! Oh, and Mik is pretty adorable).

Also, poor Akiva, he's been through a lot :(. I'm not very fond of him, but I really want him to be happy! He deserves it.

Am I going to finish the trilogy? YES.
Profile Image for Nataliya.
784 reviews12.5k followers
July 4, 2022
A teeth-gathering blue-haired spunky young woman raised by a Wishmonger gets caught in the middle of the long war waged in the 'Elsewhere'. Pictographically:
Was this book perfect? Not nearly. But I still loved it, even despite the annoying 'classic' YA tropes that it was NOT immune to:
(1) insta-love (actually, it happens twice),
(2) the otherwordly, basically underpants-disintegrating beauty of the male love interest - who initially, of course,
(3) tries to murder our heroine.
Still, Daughter of Smoke and Bone managed to captivate me and convince me to forgive its flaws by making its kickass protagonist, Karou, the girl who I hope my future (hypothetical) daughter will hang out with.

I love that Daughter of Smoke and Bone avoided the easy and tempting pitfall of presenting the heroine as an ordinary unremarkable girl, a blank slate ready for readers' self-insertion, little else but a plot device to make the reader fulfill the desire of experiencing a relationship with an attractive mysterious male love interest. Some popular YA novels with female characters are really the odes to the male lead using the heroine as our eyes to stare at the hero. Daughter of Smoke and Bone thankfully DOES NOT follow this annoying path.

The blue-haired ass-kicking raised-by-chimaera Karou is clearly not your regular high school girl "blessed" to become the object of attentions of a supernatural being. From the beginning, she is established as a remarkably talented, strong and independent young woman, who - shockingly for the YA novels about innocent high-schoolers - is even sexually experienced. She leads a double life, belonging both to the ordinary and the supernatural worlds.
She had been innocent once, a little girl playing with feathers on the floor of a devil’s lair. She wasn’t innocent now, but she didn’t know what to do about it. This was her life: magic and shame and secrets and teeth and a deep, nagging hollow at the center of herself where something was most certainly missing.
And most importantly, unlike the innocent all-talk-no-action young women in many a YA book, Karou does not hesitate to stand up for herself. She does not need a protector and does not hide behind the strong shoulders of the male lead; as a matter of fact, she kicks his ass, almost literally. And even in the evil clutches of required YA insta-love she maintains her identity and independence, does not automatically center her life around her romantic interest, and retains the ability - like any young woman should - to call out her romantic interest on the consequences of his actions without blindly trusting and blindly forgiving.
But something unyielding in her shrank from the promise. He might have chosen her, but that didn’t mean that she would do the same if she were faced with the same choice—against Brimstone, Issa, Yasri, Twiga. She had told Brimstone, “I want you to know I would never just leave you,” and she wouldn’t. She would choose her family. Anything else was unthinkable, though even now the idea of turning and leaving Akiva behind brought on physical pain.
She is not afraid to assert her views and values and stick up for what she believes. She is not afraid to call Akiva out on his hate and, for the lack of a better word, racism.
'So basically,' she said to Akiva, trying to gather all the things he’d told her into a simple strand, 'the seraphim want to rule the world, the chimaera don’t want to be ruled, and that makes them evil.'
To recap my excited bumbling - Karou is strong-willed, rebellious, bold, independent, curious, adventurous, talented, funny, and loyal. Basically, I could not help but imagine her as an older sister of Neil Gaiman's Coraline. My future (hypothetical) daughter can definitely have sleepovers at Karou's flat, that's all I'm sayin'.
This book also, in a way, attempts to subvert the long-standing trope of equating beauty and goodness. It does not always succeed, as both protagonists are exceptionally beautiful, and their attractiveness is repeatedly emphasized. But at least there is an attempt to make the more traditionally attractive otherwordly race the bad guys, making us root for the chimaera, not the angels.
He can’t see it. It is a condition of monsters that they do not perceive themselves as such. The dragon, you know, hunkered in the village devouring maidens, heard the townsfolk cry ‘Monster!’ and looked behind him.
I liked Laini Taylor's writing; it's pretty crisp and flows well. The characters (even Akiva, whom I frankly hated) are well fleshed-out and are quite memorable even if their appearances are quite short. I enjoyed that the messages this book was trying to convey went past the "it's great to have a boyfriend" and "romantic love is the only thing you need to be happy" angle that again, I've seen too many times in the books aimed at girls and young women. I like how it emphasizes loyalty, hope, friendship, and even duty. Thumbs up for all that, book!
Hope? Hope can be a powerful force. Maybe there’s no actual magic in it, but when you know what you hope for most and hold it like a light within you, you can make things happen, almost like magic.

All that said, it's an enjoyable and rather well-executed book with a lovely and refreshingly strong female protagonist. It falls prey to some YA clichés, but recovers from them quite nicely. I will definitely read the second book in the series just to see how my new blue-haired friend Karou is getting along. But I do hope it does not fully devolve into another paranormal love story, because then I will be severely disappointed.

4 stars rounded up from 3.75.

For my review of the sequel, Days of Blood and Starlight, (five-star alert, by the way!), you can head over here.
The third and final book, Dreams of Gods and Monsters, is reviewed here.


Recommended by: Trudi
Profile Image for emi.
453 reviews1,088 followers
March 6, 2023
3.25/5 stars

There was an entire review here, that I had written in 2017, about how this book is so good and it holds up after a reread. I deleted it because I don't really agree anymore. This book is good, but also half of it is just paragraphs upon paragraphs about how attractive the characters are.

And the instalove? Disgusting.
November 17, 2012
I had so many ups and downs reading this book, ranging from pages and pages and pages of complete disinterest in the beginning, to complete enjoyment in the new type of fantasy world described, to utter boredom in the flashback scenes. Yeah, I know the backstory of Madrigal's past life is a big deal in the scheme of the book. That doesn't mean I didn't find it incredibly boring.
January 13, 2022

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DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE is one of those books that was pushed at me by a pretty huge number of people on my friends list. It came out during that mad-dash YA paranormal craze following in the wake of TWILIGHT, which is hilariously appropriate because despite its fans' loud protestations that it is nothing like Twilight, it kind of reads like a cross between Clive Barker's ABARAT and Stephenie Meyer's TWILIGHT. #SorryNotSorry

For the record, I actually like TWILIGHT. It doesn't pretend to be anything it's not, which is maybe why so many people find it threatening. It's a straightforward love story between an ordinary girl and a vampire. Is it silly? Yes. Problematic? Oh, yes. Do I like it? Yes. I liked it when I read it at eighteen and I even liked it when rereading it again at twenty-nine. I'm a fan of romance and liked that it wasn't mired in pretentious asshattery unlike...

Well, this book.

I almost marked this as 'did not finish' based on the first chapter because of the utterly pretentious writing that says, I'm trying so hard to be poetic, look at me. There was a line referencing "the occasional cheek-chew of bitterness" and a "pout-puckered lip" that begged to be sucked on "languorously" and I was just reading this in disbelief, resisting the urge to punch a teddy bear in the face. This is not good writing. This is purple prose in the extreme, and definitely has vibes of, ~My HeRoInE iS aN aRtIsT yOu GaIz, lOoK aT mY aRtIsTiC pRoSe~.

The author seemed to realize how obnoxious this was, because this teeth-gratingly ornate writing disappears after one or two chapters and everything becomes much more straightforward. Thank God, or I would have slapped this with a one-star so fast. Karou, the heroine, is the Baskin Robbins of being a Mary Sue. She isn't satisfied with just one flavor, no; she needs all 31 flavors of special. She has blue hair (it grows that way!), she can speak tons of languages (so exotic! so sophisticated, so cultured), she's covered in tattoos (wow, I wish my mom would let me get some of those!), and she's an artist (oh, wow, special! unique! creative!). Oh my God, why.

She's not just any artist; she's an artist studying abroad in Prague while living with a family of demons, one of whom uses teeth to create wish tokens. Karou runs favors for him in exchange for wish tokens that she uses for a variety of petty things, like making her hair blue or wishing that the girl her ex cheated on her with would have bushy caterpillar eyebrows. She's been hooking up on and off with this con artist-cum-street performer, but all that changes one day when she sees a mysterious man with dark hair and eyes the color of fire who wants to kill her.

As we all know, murderous intent is the single most important ingredient in the insta-love cocktail, and lo and behold, pretty soon he's graduated to watching her sleep and professing his undying love, and she of course reciprocates that because of his charming abdominal muscles - oops, I mean personality. The personality of his abdominal muscles. I mean, his face. I mean, whoops, it's what's on the inside that counts. Unfortunately, angels hate demons, so his buddies aren't going to be too keen on the fact that he's hooking up with a human who's neck-deep in demon shenanigans.

But, of course, our spumoni-swirl snowflake of a heroine won't stop with just being a special human. No, this being a young adult fantasy romance, she has to be more. And with a flashback that lasts the entire last quarter of the book, replete with a second insta-love relationship, we get to find out the true special nature of our heroine in all her sparkly, winged glory. You know when someone weird sits next to you on the bus and just starts talking to you for no reason and unloading all their drama? (No? Maybe that's just a big city thing, I'm from San Francisco, after all.)

The biggest drawback of this book is that it's branded as being something new and different from all the tired tropes of young adult fiction when it is so not. It's got insta-love by the buckets. The heroine is such a Mary Sue that she's pretty much one of those original character self-inserts in fanfics. The romance doesn't make sense, the hero is ~perfect~ with magical eyes, and there's a huge reliance on amnesia and flashbacks to steep everything in mystery. DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE? More like DAUGHTER OF CLICHES AND TROPES. I got through it and it did have some interesting world-building, but let's not be so quick to turn our noses up in the air and look down on TWILIGHT just yet, darlings. This is YA fantasy-romance, not the second coming of Christ.

3 stars
Profile Image for J.L.   Sutton.
666 reviews926 followers
May 7, 2022
“Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love.
It did not end well.”

My Bookish Itinerary: Daughter of Smoke & Bone Fan Cast

Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone is a beautifully written and riveting story of a 17-year old art student, Karou, who lives in Prague. She works for a chimaera named Brimstone collecting teeth from all around the world. Brimstone is one of several fascinating characters who form a sort of surrogate family for Karou. When the doors/portals to his workshop are marked by black hand prints, Karou begins to recognize that she is in the middle of a chimaera/seraphim war. Not only is the language in this story beautiful, it's evocative as well, making it easy to visualize the rich details interwoven into Karou's search for her own identity (while beginning a relationship with a seraphim). Lots of fun! 4.25 stars
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