Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.
In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.
And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.
Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages - not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.
When one of the strangers - beautiful, haunted Akiva - fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?
©2011 Laini Taylor (P)2011 Hachette Audio
Coffee and a Book Chick
I cannot believe I doubted this for a minute. Brava, Ms. Taylor! *standingovation*
Karou, a seventeen-year-old, lives in Prague and has a few friends at the art school she attends. With her naturally blue hair and gifted drawings of a magical world her classmates don't believe exists, Karou has more secrets than even she knows what to do with. Regularly called on by Brimstone, a creature with a ram's head who runs a curious shop filled with teeth, to complete mysterious tasks requiring her sudden departures, it's not a surprise for others to write off her disappearances. While her best friend, Zuzana might raise an eyebrow to Karou's answers, she doesn't pursue more detail. No one knows that Karou speaks multiple languages and uses magic to travel from Prague to Morocco and other cities within a blink of an eye. Brimstone, almost a father-figure for Karou, regularly reminds her that, while magic may be fun, it always comes with a price. It's only when Akiva comes into her life, a glorious angel who knows much more about her past than she does, that Karou learns just how much of a price it actually is. Her own mysterious past could be even more than she can handle.
With love, magic, battles, and loyalty, the creative tale from author Laini Taylor unfolds with style and intrigue. Each and every character was crucial to the story, thoughtful and compelling in their own ways, whether innocent, selfish, or even creepy and malicious. I particularly loved Zuzana, but that could be attributed as well to the incredible narrator bringing her to life. Daughter of Smoke and Bone is an adventure that in its last few pages becomes so incredibly amazing with each event that I was left thoroughly breathless and awestruck at the creative tale.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: fantasy stories are just that.much.better in audio. Even more so in this case, as Daughter of Smoke and Bone is read by Khristine Hvam, one of the most talented narrators in town. This was my first time listening to her voice, but I can assure you, it will not be my last. With Hvam in control, every character became so immensely distinct that the story stepped up with its magical moments.
My absolute only issue is pretty ridiculous and more than likely to be expected, as I'm well out of my teen years. *sadface* At first, all of the "ooey-gooey-lovey-dovey" stuff was a little over the top, but I had to remind myself I'm not the intended audience. As a general reader who is appreciative of Young Adult fiction, however, the initial first blush of romance was a little more than actually needed. But, no matter. It's simply my own gentle reminder that you should push through it; a little elderly eye-roll every now and again is no big deal when the story ultimately is so incredibly worth it.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone will not let you down; it will likely make you stamp your feet, though, annoyed that you have to wait for Days of Blood and Starlight, the next installment in the series, to be released on November 6, 2012. I think I'm going to just pre-order it right now because I am so impatient. *hatestrilogies*
Khristine Hvam was absolutely wonderful for this story. She clearly felt comfortable voicing each of the characters, easily punching up drama and emotion and love when necessary. What a talent she is! I can't wait to listen to more from her.
I would have loved the book if I had read it myself, but the narration brought the characters so vividly to life. There was never a false moment or mispronunciation that reminded you there was a narrator and a story, just a fascinating tale where the voices/accents helped to color the image the author created. Can't wait for the next one.
Busy mom who loves to read but doesn't always have the time. I enjoy YA, Romance and the occasional Best Seller.
It's in my top 20
When Karou and Akiva see each other again in Marrakesh. It was just so beautifully written.
I liked the different accents she used for all the characters. I really enjoyed Brimstone and Zuzana the best.
"Be careful what you wish for" or "The truth may not set you free"
I'm looking forward to the next book. I usually don't read books that are part of a planned series until at least 2 books are published. (I don't enjoy big cliffhangers) However, if you don't mind the wait then I highly recommend reading this book now. Otherwise, wait until the 2nd book is released.
Short, Simple, No Spoilers
Blue haired, free spirited Karou runs between worlds to gather special items for her mentor/father figure, Brimstone. He gives her wishes when she completes her tasks and like a spoiled child, frivolously wastes them at times. On one particular errand, she meets someone from her past whom she doesn't yet remember and you travel with her to find out the answers.
The writing is fluid, detailed, and rich with character development in this YA novel. The explanation of why Karou collects the items is fascinating.
Khristine Hvam is flawless and sounds exactly as I imagine Karou would.
What I would change is the characters' flawless beauty. A little imperfection makes the story more plausible and the references to perfection are irritating. Also didn't care for the half animal, fantastical other world and relationships. The book would have been better without it, however the writing is lyrical, lovely, and I recommend this YA romance.
This book is flippin fantastic. I read it in about a day and was pretty much caught up in "Elsewhere". And that is just one of the many, many things that makes Daughter of Smoke and Bone so darn good. Here are some reasons why you should read this book:
The world building is stunning.
I mean, really. Some of the best world building I've seen this year between the demons, the angels, and the war. The descriptions of the places that Karou sees while she is in "Elsewhere" and also just the whole notion of this other world where demons are reincarnated during battle. There are such intricate details of this world that it feels real. If you like fantasy, you're going to love this book. So epic.
The writing in this book is incredible, bar none. Great descriptions, whisking you away in this fantasy tale of star-crossed lovers and a battle as old as time. I could literally see everything playing out right in front of me. I haven't read Ms. Taylor's other work but I've heard great things about Lips Touch: Three Times and if it's anything like Daughter of Smoke and Bone, I'll be raving over it as well.
Simply amazing. I was on the edge of my seat and now I'm waiting for more.
Side note: I do not like Prague. This is a personal bias against the city because of a bad experience there while I was studying abroad. Going into this book, I was extremely skeptical because it's set in Prague. I have been to the Charles Bridge and some of the other destinations mentioned and you know what? I actually liked this Prague. Seeing the city through Karou's eyes made me actually like Prague. Kudos, Laini Taylor!
Laini Taylor's worldbuilding is rich within the constraints of the dual framework of an otherworldly, very loosely mythological, paranormal romance and a Romeo and Juliet riff.
Her writing is luxuriant and evocative, definitely a cut above for YA.
Her characters approach three dimensions at times.
The story is compelling when it's not faffing off about hard-bodied angels with satiny shoulders and creamy-skinned blue-haired Mary Sues.
This is yet another book that would not exist if not for Twilight, and the 5-star reviews seem to mostly be written by teenage girls who will 5-star anything with a hot boy in it.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone is a YA paranormal romance pretending to be a doorway fantasy with angels and demons. Karou is a preternaturally adept teenager living in Prague, raised by magical beings who hide in an extra-dimensional cubbyhole, who goes on errands around the world, and incidentally picks up tons of languages and skills all over the place. Then an angel shows up and tries to kill her, something like a covert Armageddon goes down, and the rest of book becomes Karou uncovering her secret past while making out with angel-boy.
The rest of the book had an almost Narnia tone when it went to Elsewhere and the war between the seraphim and the chimaera. If only the author had capitalized more on these fantasy elements! But the epic war between these races is subsumed by, you guessed it, a pair of star-crossed lovers making kissy-face at masked balls and rolling on grassy hills.
I give this book 2.5 stars. The writing is great, the story and the setting are interesting enough to stand up with most fantasy novels. But at its heart, this is just another angsty teen romance with supernatural lovers, and many, many pages are spent dwelling on the physical perfection of the two protagonists and how they make each other feel hot and gooey inside.
I recognize that I am not the target audience. I picked this book by chance, and it's not for me. But that said, you can deliver a mature, sophisticated fantasy novel with romance, even for teenagers. This is not that book, though it does come painfully close at times.
Review originally posted at YA Love
It took me some time to get into this book both physically (my first attempt at reading it) and aurally. I’m so thankful I kept with the audio because it is one of my favorite audiobooks. To put it simply, the narration is wonderful. Khristine Hvam used a believable accent and differentiated between each character so well that I was never questioning which character was speaking. I love listening to audiobooks when I’m getting ready for work, driving to and from work, and getting chores/cooking done. I know I really love an audiobook when I find myself making excuses to drive somewhere or to get more cleaning done, which is what I did while listening to Daughter of Smoke and Bone.
The first thing I want to say about Daughter of Smoke and Bone is that I love Laini Taylor’s beautiful use of vocabulary. Her writing is lush and vibrant. I don’t know if I would have appreciated it as much if I wasn’t listening to the audio, but it’s seriously wonderful. I’ve never read a book that uses vocabulary and description to the degree that Taylor does, at least not recently.
The story itself is layered and engrossing. I love Karou and the incredible life she leads. She’s feisty, which I thoroughly enjoyed, but she’s vulnerable as well. I was a little lost during the Akiva back story, but when everything came together I was so impressed and excited. I’ll admit that the back story was beginning to bother me since I didn’t know where it was going, but it did make me love Akiva that much more.
I’m not sure if any movie rights for Daughter of Smoke and Bone have been purchased, but I would love to see this story come to life on the big screen. I know a movie wouldn’t do it justice (they rarely do), but I think I’d still enjoy it just the same.
If you decide to read Daughter of Smoke and Bone, which I hope you, make sure you have a copy of Days of Blood & Starlight handy because you’ll want to start reading it as soon as you can!
The narrator, Khristine Hvam, was absolutely excellent. She read beautifully and the tone of her voice was a perfect fit. All the characters were uniquely portrayed and I found nothing at all to complain about as far as the audio went.
I was a little apprehensive to read Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Angel reads and I don't always have the most amicable relationship. Also, a few people who's opinion I trust did not fall in love with it. I think because of that I did not let the story fully engulf me until I was about a third of the way through the book. The characters were engaging from the start and the humor aspect was fun but it was a slightly slow start. However, once the story really started to develop it completely grabbed me.
Karou is anything but a typical young woman. She was raised by Chimera, demons ~ though she does not really understand that demons are really what they are. She grew up in a Wish Monger's shop and fetches him teeth whenever he is need. Yes, teeth. Teeth of all kinds, though she knows not what the teeth are for. In exchange he grants her wishes. Minor things, like her hair growing Peacock Blue or the sudden appearance, or disappearance, of tattoos.
Karou is a vivacious art student living in Prague, making up her life as she goes. She doesn't know who her parents were or where she came from. Her life is full of secrets and mystery yet, she is full of life and fun and a hard girl not to like. Though she is also utterly lonely inside the secrets she's forced to hold.
She has a wonderful best friend that warrants mention. Zuzana is a creative character and so, so much fun. She brings an element of lightness and playful cynicism. I adored her and think I would enjoy a book with her as the protagonist.
Karou's life changes entirely when the portals to her Chimera family are closed which coincides with Akiva (angel-boy) appearing in her life...and attempting to kill her.
Akiva will reveal answers to many of Karou's questions. Together they will unravel the mystery that is Karou and it will threaten to break them both.
Taylor writes with such a delicate hand. It has a nearly lyrical flow to it and I was enraptured by it. There were some shifts in points of view that did not always work though. Several times I became almost annoyed at the shift, it felt like we were rehashing too many details and I wanted the story to pick up its pace. I'm impatient that way... There is a ton of story here but there were times when the pacing was just not quick enough for me. Though, I think that may partially be because I couldn't wait to figure out where things were going. Again, I'm impatient that way.
By the end I was fully in love with many of the characters and the story itself. I am very excited to continue the series.
Though I'd seen Daughter of Smoke and Bone everywhere, I think I was avoiding it, assuming it was another one of "those" books: the standard YA fantasy about a high school girl who inexplicably gains the obsessive love of an angel and ends up saving the world or some such thing. And then, in possibly the weirdest book buying decision-maker ever for me, I spotted it on Laini's Pinterest page. Above a board filled with half man, half beast creatures, educated devils (I know this because they were wearing spectacles), spectacular angels, and drawings of all, was a smiling, pink-haired girl declaring simply, "I write fantasy books; my newest is Daughter of Smoke and Bone. My husband has awesome sideburns and my daughter's middle name is Pie." And I thought, maybe I was wrong about this being the same old fairy tale.
Turns out, I was.
At first, I wasn't convinced. But at about a third through, I was hooked. I'll admit there is a bit of that previously mentioned kind of story here, but it is far from same old. The writing is beautiful and characters interesting, nonstandard, and unexpected. The locations are wonderfully "there" and change throughout the story to new and enticing places. It is suspense and the unknown and lovely storytelling, but what really got me were the passages with Karou and Akiva. There were moments so deliciously well done, that I wanted to stop and rewind to listen again. But I couldn't, because I needed to know what happened next. And, in a way that only audiobooks can trap you, I found myself not wanting the trip to end. I was, more than once, simply sitting in the driveway listening because I couldn't bring myself to hit stop. Those "pages" were worth the whole book.
It's hard to tell more of the specifics without spoilers because, like all good books, the unwinding of the story is the best part. But I will say if you're a fan of anything in the genre, Daughter of Smoke and Bone is worth a try. The narration was flawless. And I've already purchased book two.
Mommy of twins
Laini Taylor’s DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE is such a different kind of modern fantasy; it’s hard to know where to start. So I guess I gotta just jump right into it.
I really liked this strange world Taylor created of humans, angels (Seraphim & Fallen) and mix of demon like creatures (pure & resurrected). The story takes place in “real” time and flash backs, as well as on earth (mostly Prague) and a demon realm.
Although DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE fascinated me from the start, the story did rollercoaster a bit. I was immediately drawn in by the oddly captivating tattooed artist Karou; with her blue hair and magical ways, then Smoke and Bones lost me a little in the middle and yet, re-captivated me again with Akiva and Madrigal story. So yes, I really liked this new and innovative tale of Love and Brimstone (pun intended ~_*) but the lulls midway through, dragged the story some, preventing a 5 star over-the-top declaration of love from me.
Slow bits aside, I did really love all the colorful characters and appreciated the uniqueness and imaginativeness of the story as a whole. I’d recommend DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE to any fan of curious dark worlds of demon creatures and angels... Oh yes and ‘love of overcoming’, of course.
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