Thursday, August 16, 2012

Review of Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, #1)by Isabelle Doan

Random Info:
Release Date: September 27th 2011
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Pages: 417 pages (hardcover)
Series: Yes, this is #1
My Format: Library (audiobook)
Time it Took me to Read: audio is 14 hours
Rating: Library/Borrow/e-book/Paperback/Hardcover
Around the world, black hand prints 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.

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?
I believe it’s an age thing.

I’ve often been told that teenagers are just as viable as adults- that our opinions matter, too. That we count as people as much as the next forty year old. And yes, I agree with that to a certain degree.

But as a young person, I can tell you that there’s a lot that I don’t understand. That I’ve never experienced- that I can’t imagine until I’ve seen it, felt it, heard its harrowing cries.

One of these things is love.

That’s where Daughter of Smoke and Bone has its biggest fault. The first line of the book is “Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love.” This is referring to the two main characters of the story, Karou and Akiva. The only problem is that I didn’t get their love. I didn’t feel a connection. It was, to put it simply, insta love.

Maybe that’s not the author’s fault at all. Everyone over the age of twenty who has read this book has given it such high praise- anybody under that age had less than good things to say. I read and watched a lot of reviews on this book before writing my own, and while reading many teenagers’, I began to realize that their main complaint was the so-called insta-love.

[Here’s where I add that I say that I mean majority, meaning… my Goodreads friends. If you’re 85 and you hated this book, good for you! Comment and we can talk, because I like you.]

One of the goals of writing is to make a reader understand and sympathize. Laini Taylor did this nicely with Karou, as I thought she was a great heroine. However, the romance- MY biggest gripe as well- left me wondering if I was missing something. I wanted to rate this five stars so badly. The world building was stunning, and it had a rich cast of characters, and it was so beautifully imagined. But the romance between Akiva and Karou was just depressing and made me not want to read.

The romance was comparable to the one in City of Bones. Utterly ridiculous, and full of yawn, yawn whatever. Karou and Clary both drew their perfect love interests in sketchbooks, half of the book was filled with descriptions of Jace’s and Akiva’s perfectness, blah blah twinkies are dry. The difference between the two books is that the last half of City of Bones didn’t completely revolve around the romance. Being such a large book as well, that’s a lot of pages! It boggled my mind how Daughter of Smoke and Bone would spend 200 pages on a romance, yet let the actual falling in love last about 10 pages, sans 50 pages of Akiva stalking Karou.

I kept reading anyway because everything outside of that was great. But whenever Akiva showed up, he brought everything crashing down. For one, he had this “pity me” vibe going on. I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to sympathize with him because of that, but it just sort of made me angry, like the people with problems who go on reality shows just to get attention. (I’m not talking about actual people with actual problems. I’m talking about those chicks that appear on Dr. Phil, or My Strange Addiction.)

Secondly, he was described as beautiful repeatedly. I get that beautiful people make the world go round, but that should not be the only prerequisite for a relationship.

But wait. This wasn’t a relationship. It was full on, desperate, desperate love- the kind that is told so gorgeously, that I really wanted to love it myself. But I couldn’t really bring myself to, because I just didn’t understand it. I didn’t understand the romance.

Considering the romance takes up half of the book, this is a problem. I felt like it was used to move along some plot points that could have been resolved with more action, because, believe, me, Laini Taylor can write good action scenes.

But I think Laini Taylor can write, period. (Although I should add that this is the type of writing with an adjective before each word. Not for the people who think beauty is in simple things.) Maybe later in life, I can appreciate the beauty of this book. For now, I will say that Daughter of Smoke and Bone was humorous with riveting creativity, but I could easily put it down.


  1. Great review, so sorry that it wasn't all you wanted it to be, especially with the love story.

    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

  2. Personally, I loved this book and I am a teenager although it wasn't the romance I was attracted to. I just really loved the lore behind it. Its depiction of the angel-demon war was just epic. And I also excused their insta-love by saying it happened in their past lives and since it wasn't fully disclosed, I wouldn't understand it.

    Still, thank you for giving your honest review! :D

  3. Good review! The insta-love was the problem for me too.

    I really enjoyed the front part of the book (before Akiva showed up.. >.>) The descriptions of Prague, the cafe and the funny scenes in the art class! I gave this DoSAB a high rating because the writing and good parts outweighed the bad but if I were to re-read it I have a feeling it would be bumped down.

  4. I bought this book some time back but I haven't read it yet. I totally get what you're saying. Insta-love doesn't make sense to me either.