Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #1) by Laini Taylor (2011)
YA Fiction | Fantasy
Around the world, black handprints 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 grown dangerously low.
And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly 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?
pooled ink Review:
Yes, yes, I know. This book came out 11 years ago and I’m only now getting to it. Well, I’ll be honest. Sometimes my brain is weird. I remember this book coming out and the hype was so big that my silly little brain became stubborn and refused to read it. Finally, all of these years later, the book club I attend announced this as their next book so it reentered my life and, because when I say stubborn I mean stubborn, I was almost hoping I wouldn’t like it. (Don’t bother trying to understand because it doesn’t make sense lol).
ANYWAY, despite my stubborn brain and the, erm, low-budget cover, I opened up this book and quickly found myself falling under Laini Taylor’s spell.
We follow Karou, an art student in Prague whom was raised by Chimera/monsters. Once she was old enough she was sent to all corners of the world running errands for Brimstone, her father figure, and the jobs were pretty grim/gross. You see, Brimstone collected teeth and paid in wishes. There’s a lot more to it than that, in fact there’s an entire other world, but neither Karou nor the reader get to know that quite yet. The only door Karou is allowed to use is the one between Earth/the human world and Brimstone’s workshop.
We’re treated to Karou’s quirky, occasionally adventurous (and dangerous) life as she studies art, hangs out with her equally quirky best friend, and groans as many teenagers do over inconvenient chores her parents demand she do. That is until Karou is running an errand only to find a smoking handprint burned into the door. (Does she tell Brimstone about this concerning mark? No, of course not. Lol.) But things don’t really start falling apart until Akiva shows up, an angel set on killing Karou. Except when he gets his chance and has her cornered…he can’t.
Who is Karou? Where did she come from? Why didn’t Akiva kill her when he had the chance? Why can’t either of them shake the other from their thoughts? Where does the second door in Brimstone’s workshop lead to? What exactly does Brimstone do with all of those horrible teeth he collects?
Laini Taylor has a beautiful, artistic way of spinning words that sung like a lullaby and before I knew it I’d finished the book. It was such a fascinating world! Such a curious story! Did I skim occasionally when her descriptive prose got a bit out of hand? Yes, I admit I did though it was lovely.
For me, this was a rare occasion when it wasn’t the characters that sold me to the story. Similar to The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, it was the lovely writing and the sheer fascination for the story itself. It wasn’t a completely unique idea and yet somehow it was. I don’t quite know how to put my finger on it but my curiosity couldn’t let it go until I’d read every last page. The story spun together angels with fiery wings, monsters forged of various animal parts, a wishmonger guarding the door to a thousand-year war, and a blue-haired orphan named “Hope” whom is one part of the key to it all.
Daughter of Smoke & Bone spills the ink of a fantasy world just a breath away from our own. Utterly fascinating and wildly romantic singed with tragic, this is but the beginning of a tale filled with love and loss, hope and vengeance, that will keep readers everywhere up late into the night needing to read just one more page.
Meet Laini Taylor!
Hi! I write fantasy books. My latest is STRANGE THE DREAMER, about a young librarian, a mythic lost city, and the half-human children of murdered gods. Check it out 🙂 Before that I wrote the DAUGHTER OF SMOKE & BONE trilogy, which has been translated into 32 languages. It’s about a blue-haired art student raised by monsters, a broken angel, and a war that has raged for 1000 years in another world. I also wrote LIPS TOUCH: THREE TIMES, which was a National Book Award finalist, and the DREAMDARK books. As well as various short stories and novellas.