Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone)

Image of Daughter of Smoke & Bone
Author(s): 
Release Date: 
June 5, 2012
Publisher/Imprint: 
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pages: 
448
Reviewed by: 

“Laini Taylor writes with a lush use of words. They’re lyrical and sweeping. The characterizations are layered and full-bodied. She’s created a fanciful, but intense mythology.”

Daughter of Smoke & Bone is the latest novel of National Book Award finalist Laini Taylor. It’s a young adult book. It’s a magical and intriguing fantasy. It’s a love story.

“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 grows dangerously low.

“And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.”

The jacket copy is intriguing yet indicates could be just another paranormal story—but Laini Taylor exemplifies why she is a National Book Award finalist. She takes us into the world of Karou, the 17-year-old art student with the ultramarine colored hair—yes, it grows out of her head that color—and her most unusual family. They’re monsters, their anatomy consisting of a patchwork of varying creatures.

Karou lives the life of an average student—when she’s not running errands for Brimstone—the closest thing Karou has for a father. Human arms and torso, a ram’s head, and claws for hands—that’s what Brimstone consists of. He sends Karou on missions to collect the teeth that he needs. She slips in and out of doors that lead to all parts of the world, and all these doors lead back to her family—back to Elsewhere—that which is nowhere and everywhere.

Karou has tried to make sense of these creatures that have loved and cared for her for as long as she can remember. And there lies the problem. Karou knows there are missing components of her life. It’s like waking from a dream and having parts fade away like mist into the ether of the atmosphere, leaving a lingering flavor of a greater substance that is now obscured.

Laini Taylor writes with a lush use of words. They’re lyrical and sweeping. The characterizations are layered and full-bodied. She’s created a fanciful, but intense mythology. Karou shows us what she’s made of right from the start. She deals with an ex-boyfriend in ways that will make you laugh and clearly shows the depth and determination of her character.

You know this is a girl who’s not going to give up. The reader is fully engrossed in Karou’s journey and her world—and what a picturesque and rich world it is. Ms. Taylor has traveled to lush and exotic locales. She has a colorful, quirky spirit and shocking pink hair of her own! Her luxuriant descriptions and original turns of phrase are clear evidence of her creative sensibility.

This is a tale of star-crossed lovers. Karou’s connection to Akiva, the beautiful warrior, is a mystery. The truth is shocking. The conclusion of this tale will leave you with a gaping mouth. It must be continued—a sequel is on the way.