Limonessa's Reviews > Daughter of Smoke & Bone

Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor
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Jul 18, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: favorites, fantasy, ya-lit
Recommended to Limonessa by: the whole of GoodReads

Laini Taylor has really put me in my place this time.

I was very eager to read Daughter of Smoke and Bone, so much so that I ordered it as soon as it came out. To say that reviews for this book are gushing is a real understatement; they are, in fact, stellar.
Truth be told though, I was more than a bit biased. Lips Touch: Three Times, her short stories collection had collected the same kind of reviews. Not from me.
I'm not crazy about that book. I suspect it has a lot to do with the short story format but I just wasn't convinced by it.

My lukewarm feelings were actually confirmed when I started Daughter of Smoke and Bone and I met Karou and Akiva.
On a merely thematic level, at first I thought it was highly unoriginal.
Angels/fallen angels? Where had I read that before?
A girl who doesn't fit in, has a secret, feels she's meant for something else and falls in love with the worst possible candidate? Where have I read that before?
Star-crossed lovers? Duh.
Your average paranormal YA romance story, in a pretty package (the package being Taylor's writing.)
Ever since Lips Touch, my impression has been that Taylor takes tropes of YA which many, many authors have developed before her, and just makes them better. Because she certainly does.

BUT. I take it all back.
While the impression I had lasted for the first half of the book, as soon as the story started to unravel and to make sense, EVERYTHING changed.
First, I was shocked at how she smoothly, impeccably passed from said paranormal, average YA story to a more traditional fantasy novel. I didn't even notice it, if not after. I was reading about Prague and then, all of a sudden, I was wondering: how did I get here?

Furthermore, this is a book that goes beyond the normal scope of a fantasy novel, transcending its genre and making us readers think: it's a book about discrimination, be it religious or ethnic, about racial superiority and it's a book about acceptance with a message of hope, that things can really change if we really, really want it.
It made me think: How is beauty always good and ugliness always evil?
I love books with a message and this certainly has a deep, profound one. In this sense, I couldn't help but comparing it to Finnikin of the Rock and associate its fantasy setting with a deeper message.

Also, Taylor's worldbuilding is spectacular. I had already glimpsed as much in the third short story of Lips Touch, Hatchling, but here, yet again, its complexity and detail are taken to a whole different level. Very dark, gothic, innovative, Laini takes elements of mythology and makes them hers, constructing a world that is not only fascinating and scary at the same time, but enriches it with new elements making the imagery so sophisticated I was awed.

As her imagery is sophisticated, so is her writing style. I don't think there are many the likes of her out there at the moment. Her use of language is so confident, so stately smooth, she is so much in her element that she uses it as a medium to plunge us into elsewhere, manipulating it to her needs.

Ultimately, this is a book about hope. It says so repeatedly during the course of the story and I felt this feeling was beautifully conveyed.
In Brimstone's words:

"Hope is the real magic."

I'll be eagerly waiting to read the continuation to this story and I can't recommend it enough. For lovers of fantasy and all its sub-genres this is a must-read.
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Reading Progress

July 18, 2011 – Shelved
October 2, 2011 – Started Reading
October 2, 2011 –
page 22
5.26% ""I don't know many rules to live by, 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." Thank you, Taylor, because this is exactly what I want to tell my daughter in a few years. :D"
October 2, 2011 –
page 34
8.13% ""They liked to see the normal things: tourists huddled under umbrellas, chickens on balconies, children playing in the park." ....wait.... chickens on balconies??!!"
October 2, 2011 –
page 34
8.13% "So my daughter lost a tooth last night and I got to thinking that Brimstone might be the tooth fairy. That would explain things, wouldn't it?"
October 3, 2011 –
page 100
October 4, 2011 –
page 214
October 5, 2011 –
page 231
55.26% ""What?" she asked, self-conscious. "Why are you looking at me like that?" He lifted his hands and raked his nails through his dense cropped hair, holding on to his head for a beat. "I can't help it," he said, abashed. BARF."
October 5, 2011 –
page 258
61.72% "She had the dead eye of a jihadist"
October 5, 2011 –
page 328
October 5, 2011 –
page 328
78.47% "Oh, now we're talking."
October 5, 2011 –
page 396
October 6, 2011 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-35 of 35) (35 new)

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Masako Lin Can't wait to see what you think of this! This book has been making its rounds for a while and the premise seems soooo interesting.

Chachic Loved this book, hope you're enjoying it so far! Thanks for adding me as a friend. :)

Limonessa So far it's really going well, I like the dark taste it has. I'll keep you updated!

Limonessa HUH?
Didn't I tell you Sonnet?? :D

Maja (The Nocturnal Library) Traitor is what I shall call you. :D
I'm kidding, I'm so happy you loved it.

Wendy Darling's getting ugly!

Maja (The Nocturnal Library) Nah, she knows I adore her.

I'm actually thrilled that you loved this, Lisa. Technically, the book has no flaws. I'm the one who didn't connect for some reason. ;)

Limonessa She calls me traitor in FRENCH?! LOL

Limonessa I just cracked myself up, as Flann would say.

Maja (The Nocturnal Library) French?! When did I ever write a word of French?! I don't know a single one.

Limonessa Don't mind me, I make the jokes and laugh at them all by myself.

Maja (The Nocturnal Library) Sssshhhh, I do that all the time. :)

Aly (Fantasy4eva) I didn't love this book as much as I thought I would, which is a shame because I had pretty high expectations. But it's good to see that the majority seem to love this book. I'm just one of the odd one' :P

message 15: by Jasprit (last edited Oct 06, 2011 07:32AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jasprit Great review Lisa, you did a much better job reviewing this book, my review seemed to be full of over enthusiastic gushing! lol I can't wait for the sequel either hope we don't have to wait too long!

Limonessa Thank you girls. Once again a book that won me over little by little.
I take from what you said that there is no release date yet for the next one.

Jasprit no not yet, I think she's talked about it on twitter, I'm thinking sometime next year?

Giselle Her world building IS amazing! Glad you enjoyed this one too! :)

Arlene Beautiful review Lisa. I completely agree about the messages infused in the story. There was so much to glean from this book. All perfectly said. Glad you enjoyed this one. :)

Masako Lin Love your review! I can't wait to start reading this. I love it when writers are able to transition their stories well since it's a really hard thing to do right (Miss peregrine home comes to mind, the transition there was so jerky!).

Limonessa I haven't read that book SL but I've seen mixed reviews. Thank you!

message 22: by Jo (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jo I swear every time I read someone's review of this I just want to curl up and read it all over again.
Fantastic review, Lisa. I'm so glad you loved it :)

Laura Great review, Lisa! Now I don’t know what to read next—this one or Finnikin?!? Hmmm…

Limonessa oh geez, caught between a rock and hard place, huh?

I'd suggest you read Finnikin first, maybe because this is a bit more fast-paced? but you know, it's really irrelevant.

Aly (Fantasy4eva) Laura wrote: "Great review, Lisa! Now I don’t know what to read next—this one or Finnikin?!? Hmmm…"

Think Finnikin is around 600 or so pages, so quite long, so maybe the shorter read first? But both are pretty well paced. I adored Finnikin though. Personally, preferred it more to DOSAB. Hope you enjoy both! ;)

Laura Thanks Lisa & Aly! :D Finnikin it is then! :)

I have missed her words and style. I am a little nervous about Finnikin—truth be told. The woman is amazing, but talk about a change. I’m being silly right?

Aly (Fantasy4eva) Laura wrote: "Thanks Lisa & Aly! :D Finnikin it is then! :)

I have missed her words and style. I am a little nervous about Finnikin—truth be told. The woman is amazing, but talk about a change. I’m be..."

of course not! I think the majority of us felt the same way, It's a big cross over, and I was worried. It's not up there with Jellicoe Road, but the charming characters, the laughs, the wonderful plot - they're all there. I did feel like some of the characters were lacking in development, but it is the first book in a series. Although it's long, it's also very engrossing like all her books. I stayed up all night reading it. *fingers crossed you love it* :D

Limonessa But if you're worrying about her switch to fantasy don't worry, she manages it masterfully. Go ahead.

message 29: by Ari (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ari Laura wrote: "Thanks Lisa & Aly! :D Finnikin it is then! :)
I have missed her words and style. I am a little nervous about Finnikin—truth be told. The woman is amazing, but talk about a change. I’m be..."

Yes, you are being silly. Go read it.. Now! You'll love it :)

@Lisa: so glad to see you liked this book too :D

Laura "but the charming characters, the laughs, the wonderful plot - they're all there."

Thanks Ladies! I needed that--I'm being crazy! Of course the Marchetta magic will be there! :D

It is next!

Chachic Yay, so glad you changed your mind about the book in the latter half of the story! I don't usually read YA paranormal romance but this book is different. The first part does read like a paranormal romance novel but Laini Taylor's writing is beautiful and I knew that there was more to the story so I just kept reading.

Limonessa Thank you Sam!

message 33: by Mia (new) - added it

Mia I think i am going to buy that book today. Should I? Other than that you wrote a great review! I am excited.

Limonessa Of course you should Mia! This is one of the best fantasy books of the year and I hope you'll love it.

Basuhi I also thought it wasn't something new at first but then as the past began to unravel I was utterly bewitched by everything :)

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