Halloween Re-Read: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

13 Oct

In honor of Halloween I decided to re-read a book that I truly enjoyed last year but that I sort of rushed through because of things like work, college, toddler…the usual stuff that makes you start reading at 1 am. Now that I have a bit more time on my hands with college being finished and my son about to be in preschool, I decided to give this book another shot. Here’s the thing: I liked Daughter of Smoke and Bone when I originally read it but I didn’t love it…or so I thought. A few months ago I started getting that itch to read it again out of the blue and as it turns out, the story really did stick with me more than I had thought. I found myself wanting to go back to those Gothic, winding streets of Prague in winter which give way to jewel shaped buildings and portals to another world…Elsewhere. I found myself really, really wanting to travel back to Elsewhere where an angel and a demon fell in love.

If you haven’t before heard of Daughter of Smoke and Bone, you need to get yourself on board sister! Upon my re-reading of it, the story bloomed again before me with new life and felt more real than it had the first time (I blame my statistics class for squashing my poor, day-dreaming soul). This is one of those books that you just need to read to understand as the premise is so broad and strange but also completely addictive.

The big question of the book is “Who Is The Daughter Of Smoke And Bone?”

Karou is a young art student (with natural jewel-toned blue hair and a plethora of tattoos) living in modern day Prague. All her life she has felt a deep emptiness, struggling to understand who she is in the absence of a ‘normal’ family. A human girl, Karou has been ‘raised’ by monster-like devils or demons who exist in some strange, other-worldly portal between lands (ours and their own). Brimstone is a half man, half ram being  who has been as much a father to Karou as possible though his stern nature and elusive answers to her questions have always made him more of a mystery than a true parent. But despite her strange upbringing, Karou loves her Chimera family (Brimstone, Issa, Usari, Twiga and Kishmish: all variations of mixed animal and human parts) even if their existence makes no sense in her own, human world. She spent her childhood in Brimstone’s shop, watching him select, study and string teeth on necklaces as various poachers and nefarious characters came and went through the portal that connects Elsewhere to the human world. But as Karou grows up, she soon learns that the door of Brimston’es shop can open anywhere in the world whether that’s Prague, Paris or Florida and she now finds herself being sent on mysterious missions by Brimstone to collect, of all things, teeth. Now 17, Karou no longer lives in the shop but in her own loft apartment in Prague as she tries to create some semblance of a normal life.

Then one day, strange sightings start appearing all over the world, strangers whose wings are invisible to the naked eye but appear in their shadow, begin marking Brimstone’s portals with a hand print that cannot be removed. Somewhere, Elsewhere, a war is raging, one that will have a profound affect on Karou, the family that she loves, and a mysterious angel who is the enemy of her very blood but with whom she is irrevocably connected.


What I loved about this book (besides the stunning imagery and drool-worthy settings!) was they way Taylor created such rich and full back-stories for the characters. She didn’t just stuff them in here and there as fluff but rather wove them into the storyline so that when things finally came together at the end of the book, you feel like you have a truly deep understanding of characters and their motives. Karou is a kick-ass heroine but she’s not so tough-shelled that she’s impossible to relate to. She has a deep emotional emptiness, a longing for family and a strong desire to protect the ones she loves at any cost. I also love that her connection and romance with Akiva is a lot deeper than it first appears. I don’t want to spoil any parts of the story but let’s just say that if you have any contempt for insta-love (aka 90% of YA books out there these days) you’ll find this book to be refreshing and inspiring. On the surface, it’s a YA fantasy novel but once you get into it, you find that it is about so much more. Daughter of Smoke and Bone has that unique quality of not only good vs. evil but also the ramifications of war and the questioning of moral and obligatory responsibilities

Like I said, strange premise right? But trust me, you’ll fall in love with Taylor’s poetic writing style and her ability to keep you guessing until the very end! I don’t want to give away any more of the story because it’s just too good and you have to discover its magic for yourself!

The highly anticipated sequel title, Days of Blood and Starlight, comes out in November and I for one, cannot wait! Have you Read DOSAB? What do you think about it?




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