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Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone) Hardcover – September 27, 2011
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Amazon Best Books of the Month, September 2011: Karou is a seventeen-year-old art student with a most unusual family. From his desk in a dusty, otherworldly shop, her mysterious, monstrous father sends her on errands across the globe, collecting teeth for a shadowy purpose. On one such errand, Karou encounters an angel, and soon the mysteries of her life and her family are unraveled--with consequences both beautiful and dreadful. National Book Award finalist Laini Taylor has created a lushly imaginative, fully realized world in Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Taylor’s writing is as sumptuous as poetry, and the story overflows with dark and delightful magic, star-crossed love, and difficult choices with heartbreaking repercussions. Readers of all ages will be utterly enchanted. --Juliet Disparte
YALSA Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults
* "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)
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The word that comes to mind when reading this book is lush. Lush and magical and mysterious. This book made me think of cold winds and pouring rain. I don’t normally think things like that when reading a book, but there you go. This book was truly enchanting and I can’t think of the reason I only gave it three stars before.
There were so many wonderful things about this book. Starting, of course, with the friendship between Karou and Zuzana. Their friendship was delightful and I was glad they had so many scenes together.
Another few things that were wonderful? This book is set in the Czech Republic! The main character has blue hair! Brimstone! Magic! Everything!
Okay, okay. I bet you're wondering why if everything was so wonderful did I only rate it 4 stars? Well, that's mostly because the middle kind of drags and the book ends a bit abruptly. Just one of those things I could of ignored, but both? Nope. Points have to taken off.
Overall though, this book was amazing and I loved it and I can't wait to pick up the second one!
I DNFed this the first time I tried it. There's just a part halfway through the book where I just felt bored. It was a little after Akiva and Karou meet and it's like . . . it's like some of the story's magic was lost. I wasn't very interested in what had been going on at that time, and I wasn't anymore interested the second time through. However, both before and after that point, the story was fascinating!
Laini Taylor's writing is beautiful. Her descriptions were vivid and the world she created was so wonderful and magical and unique and I just LOVED it.
"It was cold, and it was dark--in the dead of winter the sun didn't rise until eight--but it was lovely. The falling snow and the early hour conspired to paint Prague ghostly, like a tintype photograph, all silver and haze."
Beautiful, right? Here's another:
"Her thoughts had flown outward, darting and dipping with the hummingbird-moths that flocked by the thousands to the lanterns hanging overhead, as she wondered, with a wild timpani heart, where her angel had gone."
The concepts of the seraph, the chimaera, the teeth, the wishes--everything--were incredibly creative and done so well. The setting, the characters, the weapons, the mythology, the romance gave the story a certain richness that has the ability to captivate a reader. Yet, at the same time, it had a very grimy feel to it. Grimy in a very "smoke and bone" sort of way. This quote captures that feel well:
"Prague entranced you, lured you in, like the mythic fey who trick travelers deep into forests until they're lost beyond hope."
Karou was an awesome heroine. At least, most of the way. Towards the end, she didn't seem to have that same Karou attitude as she had before she met Akiva. She was funny and had some seriously cool blue hair.
"'I don't know your customs, but here, if you don't want to frighten someone, you don't go looming over their sleeping body with knives.'"
Akiva was okay. He's very serious and romantic, but also a bit on the boring side. I'm hoping he impresses me more in the sequel. I'm also hoping to see him with more imperfections. He had a couple, but mostly he was too beautiful and perfect for my taste.
Zuzana was an entertaining best friend! I want to see more from her because I always liked the scenes she was in.
"She was fierce, ready to scold, but when she saw him, she faltered. Her expression warred with itself--ferocity with awe--and awe won out. She cast a sidelong glance and Karou and said, in helpless amazement, 'Oh, hell. Must. Mate. Immediately.'"
Now, for the not-so-good. This book was soooo sloooow. While I loved the world, the writing, and concepts, they did weigh down the pace for me. There was a lot of details to soak in and, as I said before, there was a portion of the book that bored me. I trudged through that part. The last 20-ish percent went much quicker because the story (the Madrigal parts) got really interesting. That part and the first section, before Karou meets Akiva, are my favorite parts. They're the ones that interested me the most.
The ending made me very curious about what happens next in the story. I have questions that need answers!
Overall, I definitely liked this book. It was a pretty different and, for the most part, quite fascinating read and I'm glad that I gave it another try. I'll be reading the second one, for sure! If you're looking for book with incredible writing and with unique concepts, this is the one for you to read.
There aren’t many authors where the very first thing that I’ll mention is the lyrical prose that they write with. I can think of a handful off the top of my head, and I love a great many books, for many reasons. But there are some books where the beauty of the language, the way the words are strung together, jump out and slap me (in a good way). Make me sit and take notice, re-read for the lushness of them. Laini Taylor is one of those authors. Now, I will qualify this with the fact that it went a little off the rails in the third book, and where I said many times that she could re-write a phone book and I’d love to read it, I’m a little more cautious now. But here? In this book? It’s beautiful and captivating. Just as much this time as it ever was before.
And then there were the characters. Not just the main characters, though the gods know I loved them, but there were many characters that were so well developed, so real that I felt they surely existed just outside my knowledge. Karou is amazing. As I was saying to a friend of mine, she’s so much muchier than other characters in other books. Then there’s Akiva, Brimstone, Issa, ZUZANNA, and so many others. I love them. I want to know them, and my heart breaks for them – especially knowing what’s coming.
So that’s a warning I’ll issue. This isn’t light. It’s a dark fairy-tale, and there’s pain and torture before we get through to the end. A lot of it. Be prepared. (I feel like I’m quoting a lot of Disney today….)
The world. Oh, the world. How I want to visit. Prague sounds fabulous, and it draws me to it. I’ll visit you one day soon, my lovely. I felt like I’ve been there already based on the lush descriptions in this novel, in fact. Laini Taylor effortlessly, it seems, weaves in every mythology to this story, making it plausible, and realistic, and seemingly the grain of truth that every story holds. True Story never seemed so accurate as while absorbed in this novel. As you meet more and more characters, learn more of the world, you begin to see where the Christian, Muslim, and Jewish faiths got their angels. Where the ancient Greeks, and Hindu peoples found their Naja and Minotaurs. Among so many others. And in the hands of Karou, there are the hamsas. I know the first time I read this book I was fascinated and curious – incredibly so – by the world and how everything fit together. How did the wishes work? I wondered. What were the teeth for? Where is Elsewhere? The answers do not disappoint.
This book captured me so completely. It had the quadfecta going for it: prose, plot, world, and characters. In this world, in Eretz, everything combined to entrance and entice, urging me along, dreading the pain and still willing to pay the tithe.
Most recent customer reviews
It did not end well."
Karou is a girl in lives in a world of art, magic, and wishes.Read more
It did not end well.”
I can't even start a review on this book because it's just so unlike anything I have...Read more