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From the Publisher
|Days of Blood & Starlight||Dreams of Gods & Monsters||Night of Cake & Puppets||Strange the Dreamer||Muse of Nightmares|
|Get lost in the visionary epic fantasy of National Book Award finalist Laini Taylor!||A monster's apprentice must decide how far she'll go to avenge her people in this riveting sequel to Daughter of Smoke & Bone.||Two worlds threaten to crumble in the face of a common enemy in the epic conclusion to the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy.||In this stand-alone companion to the Daughter of Smoke & Bone series comes the story of Mik and Zuzana's fantastical first date.||From National Book Award finalist Laini Taylor comes an epic fantasy about a mythic lost city and its dark past.||The highly anticipated, thrilling sequel to Strange the Dreamer, from Laini Taylor, author of the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy.|
* "National Book Award finalist Taylor (Lips Touch: Three Times) again weaves a masterful mix of reality and fantasy with cross-genre appeal. Exquisitely written and beautifully paced, the tale is set in ghostly, romantic Prague, where 17-year-old Karou is an art student--except when she is called "home" to do errands for the family of loving, albeit inhuman, creatures who raised her. Mysterious as Karou seems to her friends, her life is equally mysterious to her: How did she come to live with chimaera? Why does paternal Brimstone eternally require teeth--especially human ones? And why is she "plagued by the notion that she wasn't whole....a sensation akin to having forgotten something?" Taylor interlaces cleverly droll depictions of contemporary teenage life with equally believable portrayals of terrifying otherworldly beings. When black handprints begin appearing on doorways throughout the world, Karou is swept into the ancient deadly rivalry between devils and angels and gradually, painfully, acquires her longed-for self-knowledge. The book's final pages seemingly establish the triumph of true love--until a horrifying revelation sets the stage for a second book."―Publishers Weekly, starred review
* "[A]long with writing in such heightened language that even casual banter often comes off as wildly funny, the author crafts a fierce heroine with bright-blue hair, tattoos, martial skills, a growing attachment to a preternaturally hunky but not entirely sane warrior and, in episodes to come, an army of killer angels to confront. Rarely--perhaps not since the author's own Faeries of Dreamdark: Blackbringer (2007)--does a series kick off so deliciously."―Kirkus, starred review
* "Taylor crafts both her world and her romance with meticulous care, building the first on a wealth of thought-provoking details and making the second equal parts tender and antagonistic...Fans of torturously star-crossed lovers a la those in Marr's Wicked Lovely and Black's Tithe will find much to enjoy here, but those who flock to innovative, character-driven fantasy with thematic depth will be equally enthralled."―The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred review
"Author Taylor has created a variety of worlds, time frames, and creatures with such detail and craft that all are believable...Readers will look forward to the suggested sequel to this complex, exciting tale."―Booklist
"Wow. I wish I had written this book."―Patrick Rothfuss, author of The Wise Man's Fear
* "Lush description of a gothic and ghostly Prague beckons readers from the first page and fulfills its promise, leading to a star-crossed romance that spans worlds and transcends death...[Leaves] the reader both satisfied and eagerly anticipating a forthcoming sequel."
―The Horn Book (starred review)
"Daughter of Smoke and Bone is that rare beast: a novel that takes the familiar and makes it appear startling and new. Taylor has embraced the mythology of angels and reworked it in an extraordinary form, so that by the end of this lyrical, haunting book, I wanted to believe in the existence of these violent, tormented beings. I can hardly wait for the next installment."―John Connolly, author of The Book of Lost Things
"Daughter of Smoke and Bone is a lush, sweeping, romantic marvel of a book. Taylor's writing is a revelation, masterfully blending an intricate fantasy world into our own, with an artist's flair for exquisite details. Funny, devastating, delightful, unforgettable. Pure storytelling perfection."―Kiersten White, author of the Paranormalcy series
* "The suspense builds inexorably, and the philosophical as well as physical battles will hold action-oriented readers. The unfolding of character, place, and plot is smoothly intricate, and the conclusion is a beckoning door to the next volume."―School Library Journal (starred review)
"[A] breath-catching romantic fantasy about destiny, hope and the search for one's true self"―The New York Times Book Review
"Thrillingly fresh and new"―Entertainment Weekly
"An adventurous story of self-identity, "Daughter of Smoke and Bone" is written with high-stakes flair and a touch of humor...[It is] well-told and well-paced, raising intriguing questions about notions of identity, expectation, trust, betrayal and belonging."―The Los Angeles Times --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
- ASIN : B004QX076Y
- Publisher : Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; 1st edition (September 27, 2011)
- Publication date : September 27, 2011
- Language : English
- File size : 6689 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 433 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #63,656 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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Ahh. 2011. What a crappy time to be an adult reading young adult literature.
Like many, I suspect, I had been burned by the young adult genre, and burned badly. I bought books in series where the plot was stretched thin to accommodate the obligatory three other books in the quartet (all hoping for a film franchise because, come on). I read books where the unbelievably plain girl (who everyone else thinks is amazingly gorgeous) ends up with the male co-lead who treated her like dirt for a quarter of the book. I read books that found ridiculous, convoluted reasons for the couple to not get together, so that I had to keep reading in “hopes” that they did. I rolled my eyes at the number of Duckie, best-friend-who-passive-aggresively-wants-to-be-more-and-glowers-about-it-while-insisting-he’s-a-nice-guy’s. Books with love triangles for no reason other than to give readers something to argue over.
A lot of these books, I was sort of asking for it from. Some of them, I really wasn’t. Most of them went back and I continued my search. I wanted to find ones I honestly liked, but I was losing faith and getting burnt out.
It was dark, dark times, friends.
I knew about Daughter of Smoke and Bone when it first was published. I avoided it like the plague. Nay. I avoided it like the young adult supernatural romance genre because that was more terrifying than bubonic. At least, it had spread like bubonic and made me feel dirty to come into contact with it. I didn’t read the series until 2013 when I borrowed it from the public library. Ha! Disappoint me if you will, at least I would be disappointed for free.
I was not disappointed.
I wish I had read Daughter of Smoke and Bone earlier. It’s pretty much exactly what I was combing through endless clones for. It had plot and character, length without filler, a prose I could actually love, and something I’d found oddly missing from the fantasy genre: worldbuilding.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone is equal parts teen romance and Jim Henson. And I mean dark Jim Henson, circa Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal. The fantasy elements of the book are so dark but so grounded and easy to except. There was no suspension of disbelief because Laini Taylor makes the world live and breathe and bleed. You know that wide-eyed look most of us had with Diagon Alley in the first Harry Potter book? That’s the one.
Best of all, it’s one of those young adult entries that earns the title young adult. Karou’s quest for identity, love, and family and truth feels personal, and I can care about it because it’s so humanized. Karous herself is likeable because she stands out as a heroine. Her insecurities feel real without the need to make her sound self-loathing, which is a real plus in a genre with female leads who must find themselves ugly and stupid and boring so as to appear humble. Because you can only earn your unbelievably, enviously hot boyfriend if you don’t like yourself too much. I mean, how else can you devout all your time to him? How else can he rebuild your self-esteem?
I’m getting off point.
There is a romance in the book, but it’s more on the back burner because Karou first and foremost is concerned for her family of monsters, most concerned with finding out who she is, and most concerned with staying alive. Akiva’s arrival is at best a catalyst at this point, not the sum total of Karou’s concerns. There isn’t much to him yet, and that might be a problem for some readers. For me, I was braced to wait until the next book to pass judgment. Series, I usually rationalize, are one big story. If the payoff is there, I can wait. As long as my goodwill is not squandered. Besides, Karou is who I cared about here.
If I had to point to any detractors, I think others have pointed out the latter half of the book contains a reveal that is less of a twist and more an ‘of course’. I won’t outright call it a cliché, but I spent a good chunk of the book hoping that wasn’t the twist, just so that it would be something else. It isn’t disappointing, per se, I had just wanted the book to aspire to be a little different. It’s a small nit to pick, but there it is.
You could also find fault with the fact that Akiva almost falls in line with the other hostile male leads that inexplicably fall in love with the heroine after attempting to harm them in some way. For me, context mattered, and context was there later in the series. I can see it being an issue for others, it just wasn’t for me (it also mattered that he outright showed remorse. He didn’t shrug his shoulders and expect Karou to get over it. So point to him). She also doesn’t handwave his attack. There is introspection and not just, I’m not fussed about it, let’s just move on.
Lastly, I can see putting an age on the book of fifteen or sixteen and up because of references to sex that aren’t exactly oblique. For some that could be a deal breaker. Others will find it refreshing: teenage girls do talk about sex. They have their hearts broken. They get suckered in by emotional conartists. In my eyes, the more fantastic the story, the more grounded the human experience needs to be. Karou has a hell of a story in front of her, but she also has very human, believable experiences that have formed her. it’s what makes reading about a schoolgirl having adventures work: she’s recognizable.
And for what it’s worth, the next book in the series might be even better. This is my favorite for reasons I can’t get into, but I can say that the next book does not fall into that trap of filler middle book syndrome so many series suffer from.
What I didn't love: pretty much everything else about the book. It was an amazing world with a thin and shopworn plot, and not much in the way of character development. There were eye-roll moments like when what the main character was wearing at the time she was kicking butt was of no importance other than how cool she looked at the time.
There was one quote I liked: "You were true to her, even if she was not to you. Never repent of your own goodness, child. To stay true in the face of evil is a feat of strength." This gives me hope for the author. If she would leave the poses out of it, and stop using the word "frisson", I think Taylor will bring great stories in the future.
I really really loved this book. I started reading it on a weekend and it took me a few chapters to get into it, but once I did I could not put it down! I read for 6 hours straight and was completely oblivious to everything else around me. That’s when you know you’ve got a good book.
The setting is unique and set in Prague with some beautiful descriptions. Laini Taylor’s writing is lovely and I thoroughly enjoyed this story in part because of her excellent writing and descriptions.
“…and Gothic steeples stood ready to impale fallen angels. The wind carried the memory of magic, revolution, violins, and the cobbles lanes meandered like creeks. Thugs wore Mozart wigs and pushed chamber music on street corners, and marionettes hung in windows, making the whole city seem like a theater with unseen puppeteers crouched behind velvet”
I think her writing is beautiful! She made Karou’s world feel very real- from the Gothic architecture to Karou’s favorite cafe Poison, where she and her friend Zuzana would enjoy goulash and catch up. Karou’s relationship with Zuzana was authentic and I thoroughly enjoyed their ridiculous dialogue. Karou is quite lonely in her world and Zuzana is her only companion apart from her chimaera, monster-like “family.” Zuzana and Karou would make absurd jokes and get carried away with it, which felt very real and unscripted.
Moving on, while Karou very much has a home in the human world, she was raised by strange part-animal, part-human monsters called chimaera. She runs errands for Brimstone, her surrogate father, to help him with his magic shop. While Karou truly loves her strange family, she does not understand who they are, where they come from, and why she runs these errands for Brimstone. She has so many questions, yet they are the only family she has so she accepts her life, for now. I loved the mystery in the first half of the book, there was so much build-up with just enough hints and clues to keep me satisfied. Karou is clearly not normal, but even she doesn’t understand her past although she does often comment that she feels she is “missing something.”
“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.”
I loved Karou as a character- she is brave, sarcastic, eccentric, tattooed and has bright blue hair- not your typical heroine! I also love her chimaera family. They clearly love her as well but it is obvious they are keeping secrets from her, which only adds to the mystery.
While Karou herself is not magical, Brimstone’s shop deals wishes out to traders in different denominations, similar to money. Karou can never make big wishes, but she does have a necklace of scuppies (the lowest denomination) to make small wishes. She also speaks a number of languages, which mostly come from wishes, but I think its awesome!
We also meet Akiva fairly early on, and soon learn that he is a kind of angel. Yes, there are angels but Taylor does it very well! The angels are beautiful, but their wings are more like flames and Akiva is constantly being described as having fiery eyes. They are fighting an eternal war, but we don’t really know where they come from or who they answer to. Karou and Akiva do have some insta-love moments, but I realized I was actually okay with it once I finished the book. Their relationship was sweet.
The plot itself is wonderful- aside from the mystery that carries us through most of the book, we are constantly being introduced to different creatures and places. The whole book had an otherworldly feel to it. I also wanted to touch on what a few other bloggers had warned me about- the 50% slump. The book is absolutely wonderful for the first half. There’s beautiful imagery, great character development and mystery surrounding Karou’s origins and the world Brimstone keeps hidden from her. However, about halfway through something happens and I now understand why people said they didn’t enjoy it as much. The focus and pacing change completely, and it was difficult for me to keep reading when everything slowed down so abruptly. I would give this book five stars, but I too unfortunately felt the slump and I will probably have to go re-read parts of it because I was too eager for answers to read patiently. However, I do believe it was necessary for the series! There was so much build up, and the entire time I was thinking, “There better be a great explanation for everything!” And for me, there was. Its absolutely worth the read, in my opinion.
I flew through this book and I thought it was fantastic. It was exciting, unique and a little strange at times. I will happily pick up the second book and I definitely recommend to anyone who is interested!
Top reviews from other countries
Alas, it is teen fiction. If you like reading books where the female lead is OF COURSE described as like a perfect ballerina, "with a long neck and willowy limbs", and the male lead is OF COURSE "truly, breath-stealingly beautiful", and they all talk like characters in the Gilmore Girls (endlessly glib) then this is the book for you. If you'd like to read a book with some sophistication, where the characters have complex emotions and genuine interactions; avoid this like the plague.
It's a shame because this Mary-Sue style of writing really does a disservice to some of the ideas at the heart of the plot. The world is well imagined, with lots of lovely details and rich backgrounds written for all the characters. Unfortunately the characterisation is entirely 2 dimensional, sickeningly Americanised, and painful to read. Judging by the reviews of book 2, I won't be investing further.
The 2 main characters Karou (human) who has grown up in a chimaera family and Akiva a seraph soldier bred to kill, are drawn together in some magical way.
This is a wonderful fantasy story with its myths and legends, where the depth of detail is superb, where characters are introduced to create expanse and various perspectives in the story. Some of the characters, you will hate and others you will love – but will you change your mind as the story develops? The pictures that are weaved into the story are beautifully written. The story never loses pace while describing characters and the world around them. It is a rollercoaster of emotions as your experience love and hate, hope and despair, cruelty and kindness, trust and suspicion, and humour and sadness.
At a deeper level, this is a story which portrays our own history where nations, races and religions find themselves slaves to the past, where forgiveness of crimes and oppression, is almost impossible. From the distance of fantasy you just can’t help seeing the futility of our history. Don’t let this affect your perspective as first and foremost it is a beautiful enjoyable read.
I could keep on heaping on superlatives for this book but you should really just read it – you won’t be disappointed if you like this genre and just want to escape into a rich new world of fantasy adventure. It is the first book in a trilogy so be prepared to read them all – not to be read out of sequence.
This is a captivating and imaginative read, with incredible world building by Laini Taylor; though I also liked the parallel setting in the human world, and thought she painted a vivid picture of Prague, with its cobbled lanes and gothic spires.
The story unravels slowly, though this is needed to set up the mystery of who Karou is, and the mysterious teeth trade that Brimstone deals in, as well as Elsewhere. Furthermore Taylor writes her story so richly that I enjoyed its graudal unfolding, and getting to know the different characters; from the imposing yet at the same time loveable Brimstone, to Karou's feisty best friend Zuzanna.
Karou as the lead character makes for an engaging heroine, quirky and a little mischeivious, fierce and independent, with an aloneness to her that at the same time renders her vulnerable.
It is when Karou meets Avika that she begins to discover more about who she is, and she also learns of the bloodied history of the seraphim and chimera. This is when the story really gets started, and I loved discovering about these different races and the terrible war raging between them; Taylor doing a particularly good job of being able to depict two different sides of the story. The chimera may look like, and at times behave, like monsters, however, it is easy to understand their motivations when one considers their prior oppression. At the same time whilst the seraphim are far from the angels they appear, one can but have sympathy for soldiers like Akiva, who have been bred for nothing but fighting.
Even as Karou appreciates that Avika and those she considers her family are in fact enemies, she can but find herself drawn towards him, a compelling pull between the two. At this point in the story some readers might be put off at the amount of time dedicated to the developing romance between the two, and also the almost instantaenous nature of their attraction. However, if so I would urge you to reserve judgement till the end of the story, as a lot becomes clear (though I did personally pick up on the clues to this revelation much earlier), and certainly it becomes apparent how their relationship is in fact integral to the story. Whilst I have no doubt that the romance will still not be everyone's cup of tea, I personally enjoyed its unfolding, and thought Taylor suceeded in portraying them as star-crossed lovers.
I really liked the parts of the story towards the end that were set in Elsewhere, and the glimpse we got of the chimera and seraphim here; and am looking forward to this being expanded upon in the sequel. I have to say that perhaps I was expecting just a little more of the actual ending, however, given there are two further books I can appreciate the cliffhanger, and am certainly invested in following the story on.
Black handprints start randomly appearing on doorways around the world, 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 has grown dangerously low, and in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student named Karou is about to be caught up in a brutal war. Karou is prone to running mysterious "errands"; she speaks various languages - not all of them human; and her bright blue hair grows that colour. Who is she? She is about to find out. When one of the winged strangers fixes his eyes on her in Marrakesh, the secrets that are unveiled with shake Karou to her core.
The setting of this book was so weird and unique. The first half is mostly set in Prague, and we see Karou going about her daily life. I've been to Prague before, so it was easy to visualise her travelling around the city, and I was pulled in from the beginning. Around the middle of the book, we start to discover Akiva's backstory, and I just lost interest. I didn't really care about him. After that, we start to discover Madrigal's backstory - how she and Akiva met and fell in love - and although I began to enjoy the book again, it felt like I was reading a completely different book from the one I had started. Madrigal and Akiva live in another world, and it is just so different from Karou's.
We don't really see Karou again until the very end of the book, after spending the first half getting to know her and becoming invested in her story, which I was really disappointed about.
I did see the plot twist coming a mile off but I thought it was written really well. I don't think it was supposed to shock the reader, as the author dropped several obvious hints. Once I had figured it out, I began to really enjoy the book again. It now made sense why we were delving so much into Madrigal and Akiva's story, which at first I didn't care about, because I didn't see how it was relevant to Karou.
I think I might enjoy the second and third books a bit more than this one, because I think they'll be centred around Karou, who was a perfectly written character. This wasn't a bad book - I actually thought it was really good - I just felt that there was something missing for me.