Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1
Release Date: September 27, 2011
Publisher: Little Brown and Company
Source: Bought
Rating: 3 stars

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? – Goodreads

So I’m depressed and because I believe in sharing my misery around like a plague made from sorrow and CW induced tears, I thought I’d talk about a book that I read last year. Incidentally, it also depressed me horribly although we’ll get to that.

The book in question is ‘Daughter of Smoke and Bone’ by Laini Taylor. Sigh. Just sigh. This book had all the ingredients to be an exceptional addition to YA; it’s beautifully written, the world building is stunning, and the characters and their development (for the first half of the novel, anyway) unfold wonderfully. The first half of this book is totally deserving of all the awards and it made me so excited to keep reading. I was engrossed, enamoured with Karou, the awesome female protagonist, and I wanted to know what would happen. The pages couldn’t turn fast enough to be honest.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone is a unique novel, with one of the most original storylines I’ve ever read. I LOVED the first half – the seamless interweaving of the real world and the world behind the door are one of the best aspects of the novel. I adored the characters (lol not Akiva, no-one likes you buddy) and how real they seemed, despite how fantastical some of them are. This is definitely the kind of novel in which the world draws you in; you can imagine everything in your mind as though it’s happening before your eyes – a compliment to Taylor’s ability as a writer. BUT THEN, around the halfway point of the novel, the generic love interest is introduced and everything good in life dies along with this book’s potential.

“He was the most beautiful thing Karou had ever seen.”
God. Help. Me.
From the point Akiva is introduced, the novel basically abandons all semblance of build-up and plot progression in favour of waxing lyrical about the epic romance between Karou and Akiva, which is a tragedy because of how good this book could have been. All that potential thrown away for a retelling of Romeo & Juliet, which by the way isn’t even that great a play! And if I wanted to read Romeo & Juliet, I would have bought the damn thing. YA, why do you hurt me this way?
I think this novel will be enjoyed by people who like love stories and I would recommend it to them; I’m pretty sure I’m in the minority when it comes to this book anyway. I do wonder if the sequel is any better and a part of me is curious but I just couldn’t put myself through another 400 or so pages of true love when I could barely get through this. Just, no way. 

31 comments on “Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

    • Tatum Turtle March 20, 2013 3:37 pm

      I have adopted a really great way of dealing with my disappointment – I don’t acknowledge the second half of the book. This way, I get to pretend that it was wonderful!

      Thank you for commenting!

  1. bookrockbetty.com March 20, 2013 12:45 pm

    Ouch! haha I’ve heard such great things about this book! I am a sucker for love (surprise!… hahaha) so this one might be right up my alley. Funny though, because I’ve heard this isn’t a kissing book! Now I’m extra curious. Love how blunt you are. 😉

    • Tatum Turtle March 20, 2013 3:45 pm

      Ohhh, tbh I am a cynical, horrible person with no time for romance but for anyone who enjoys that genre I think this book would be very enjoyable for them *nods*

      Haha, thanks for commenting! I do try to rein in the sarcasm but it doesn’t always work XD

  2. Ransom Reads March 20, 2013 1:10 pm

    The sequel, Days of Blood and Starlight is one of the most amazing books I’ve ever read. I can’t compare it to anything. It’s set during a bloody, violent war and there’s barely any time for romance, if that’s the biggest thing that really bothered you about the first book. I really think you should try it. I thought Daughter of Smoke and Bone was good. Like you said, it could have been better. Days of Blood and Starlight is… It was beyond 5 stars for me. I’m gushing cause I can’t think of the proper ways to describe it. Just lots of war. More details about the Eretz side of things, as that’s where it’s mostly set. Lots of action and conflict and character development. I definitely thing you should try it.

    • Tatum Turtle March 20, 2013 3:41 pm

      You’ve actually made me curious to read it now because the romance is my biggest sticking point with the first book. Blood and violence could sort that out 😀

  3. Cody Doll March 20, 2013 2:20 pm

    Thanks for reviewing this. I was thinking about reading this but if it’s a typical love story in the end..then I am good.


    • Tatum Turtle March 20, 2013 3:46 pm

      Yeah, I have nothing nice to say about the romance aspect. It annoys me to no end and I think I shouted about it to Amber the whole time I was reading it.

      Thank you for reading it 😀

  4. Christine D. March 20, 2013 4:09 pm

    Lmfao. Okay. One of my friends is dying for me to read this book, but she knows I despise when a book is consumed by generic love interest. Hahaha. She’s keeping that away from me. Thanks for this review, because now I know!

    I would be so disappointed, especially if like you the first half captivated me so well too. Thanks for sharing!

    • Tatum Turtle March 21, 2013 7:32 pm

      Lmao, glad I could help! Yup, I think if you picked this book up hoping for something other than a romance you’d most likely be horribly disappointed, just like I was :/

      Thanks for commenting 😀

  5. Nikki R March 20, 2013 6:14 pm

    Aw, so disappointing!! I’ll probably still check it out because I’ve heard book 2 is a lot better, but I’m glad to know what the deal is with Book 1 beforehand… =S

    Nikki @ There were books involved…

    • Tatum Turtle March 21, 2013 6:44 pm

      Everyone seems agreed that the second book is much better so I’ve got some hope left for this series!

      Thanks for commenting 😀

  6. Belle of the Literati March 20, 2013 8:07 pm

    Oh I am so sad to hear you didn’t like it more! I hate when I read books everyone raves about and I’m all…is that it? I did LOVE this book but hey, we all have different styles. I really think it was the writing itself that sells me so much. Her writing in these books are just epic to me. There is a lot less emphasis on the romance in the second book. A lot more history of the people, a lot darker.

    • Tatum Turtle March 21, 2013 6:59 pm

      Oooh, yes, I actually loved the writing; it was one of the biggest selling points for me on this book and the main reason I still gave it a relatively high rating.

      Thank you for commenting 😀

  7. Renae M. March 20, 2013 9:22 pm

    I agree—the second half of the novel, particularly the last quarter or so, REALLY sucks. Seriously, I walked away from this book all disgusted and grumpy.

    BUT THEN I read Days of Blood & Starlight and BOOM, I was in love with Laini Taylor. VERY little (really, NO) romance in that book. Mostly focused on war and saving lives. That one kind of destroyed me, honestly. So freakin’ good!

    So, I’m sorry you didn’t love this book as much as you’d hoped, but I think you might like book 2 a bit more. I understand if you’re not willing to risk it, though! :)

    • Tatum Turtle March 21, 2013 6:40 pm

      Apparently I am just really easily convinced because I’ve decided I’m gonna read the second book just based on all the comments I’ve gotten about it XD Mostly I’m just excited at the lack of romance but the war aspect totally intrigues me too.

      Thank you for commenting :)

  8. Mel@Thedailyprophecy March 20, 2013 9:40 pm

    Oh no, Oh no, Oh no! :(

    So many people are raving about this book and I’m so sorry that this book went downhill. What is up with all these authors and their horrible romances? I don’t need it to enjoy a book and I definitely don’t want it to overtake the plot. If I want romance, I would have picked up a romance book!

    I’ve bought a cheap copy a while ago, so I will be reading it, but I will keep in mind that I will become disappointed.


    • Tatum Turtle March 21, 2013 6:33 pm

      EXACTLY! I don’t know whether it’s considered more marketable for YA to include romance but ohmygod, it drives me crazy. There were so many other things going on that would have been interesting to focus on but instead the latter half is devoted to their love -_______-

      Thank you for commenting :)

  9. Amber (Books of Amber) March 20, 2013 9:59 pm

    Hahaha. I’ll be reading this because I won a copy, no matter how much you tell me I won’t like Akiva. I plan on hating him. I guess not every love interest can be Logan Echolls.

    I’m still impressed that you gave it three whole stars.

    • Tatum Turtle March 21, 2013 6:19 pm

      I got a free copy too *high five* In my head he looks like the bloke off The Mortal Instrument Covers and it didn’t really do much for my opinion of him tbh.

      You need to give me a rating system okay this is a lot of pressure

  10. Vegan YA Nerds March 21, 2013 12:48 am

    I haven’t read many negative reviews of this book, or series, but there have to be some because no book is as perfect as all the rave reviews claim. I’m a bit worried about the romantic-focus in the latter half but I do plan on reading this!

    • Tatum Turtle March 21, 2013 6:16 pm

      Yup, I am pretty much in the minority when it comes to this book. It’s a shame tbh because it had so much potential and just didn’t deliver. Everyone keeps telling me the next book is brilliant though so I might have to read it just to judge for myself XD

      Thank you for commenting :)

  11. Carly March 21, 2013 7:59 am

    I have only read big positive reviews for this book, so your review is refreshing! I actually have a copy of this sitting on my shelf looking pretty – will I or won’t I though?? No idea! lol!

    Thanks for wonderful review! :)

    • Tatum Turtle March 21, 2013 6:14 pm

      Awww, don’t be put off by my review – if you don’t mind romance this will probably be a very enjoyable read!

      Thank you for reading and commenting :)

  12. Maji Bookshelf March 21, 2013 9:32 pm

    oh wow finally someone who AGREES WITH ME!! I completely agree.. when Akiva was introduced.. thats it.. the novel went NO WHERE.. It was a very unpleasant reading experience.

    great review Amber,
    – Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf

  13. John Doe March 22, 2013 3:18 am

    Daughter of Smoke and Bone is one of my Top 5 reads of 2012, but I didn’t enjoy the sequel nearly as much. Compared to the dregs of YA out there (Hello, Colleen Hoover and Jamie McGuire) Laini Taylor is an enormous, exceptional talent. Her world-building alone is astonishing, and the love story felt very real and emotional, despite the “he’s so pretty” trope.

    Read Taylor’s earlier works also — she’s a mind-blowing author.

  14. Kelley March 22, 2013 5:01 pm

    Oof! Have you read the sequel? I think things get much bigger than *love* and it becomes much more than a Romeo and Juliet retelling. I hope you’ll give it a chance, if you haven’t yet. :(

  15. Ivana -WTSL March 22, 2013 9:43 pm

    I gave this book five stars because I adore Karou and the writing, but the moment Akiva appeared I went all grumpy. Still don’t like him. Great review, and I hope we’re not disappointed with the sequel :)

  16. Anya @ On Starships and Dragonwings March 24, 2013 9:17 pm

    I have to say first that I did end up adoring both this book and the sequel, but I completely understand the dislike of the second half of this one, since I also didn’t like it as much as the beginning. The sequel however has barely any romance (expect Zuz :D), since Karou is pretty pissed at Akiva. There are some bittersweet moments, but it is not a romance story at all. I think you would really like continuing 😉

  17. Judith April 4, 2013 7:37 pm

    “lol not Akiva, no-one likes you buddy” HAHAHA. Okay, so I haven’t read this book. And after reading your review I am VERY excited to pick it up. I love amazing world building, so yay for that. However, I’ve heard about the Romeo and Juliet thing, and… I just. I don’t know. I like romances, but I don’t like it when it’s forced or cliche and this sounds… Hmm. I don’t understand why they would like comparing themselves to Romeo and Juliet either. It’s not like they were happy or anything! Also they were like thirteen and knew each other for 3 days but OH WELL. I’ll be reading this book anyway.

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