Review: 'Daughter of Smoke and Bone' by Laini Taylor

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Laini Taylor 

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 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 actuallygrows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery 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?


Here Be the Players
Kaoru was pretty cool. She was very artistic. She had talent. Reminds me of Addison Stone actually. Too bad we didn't get to see her drawings. I loved that she knew so many languages. I wanted that for myself. Collecting languages. I would love to know Ancient Greek if that is even possible. I liked that she could kick butt too. She could fight. She wasn't defenseless. She could hold her own. Which was great. I loved her determination. To find her family and help them.
Akiva was pretty awesome. And he would be a good lover. Wow. That doesn't sound weird at all. But he was loyal. Kind. And he was a good fighter. I can't say much other than that, though. When he was with Madrigal, he was good. A nice lover. Kind. Sweet. Caring. But without her, he was a shell. With Kaoru, he was different. He had to be. He didn't know who she was until the wishbone. It was confusing for him. Seeing him lost and confused was interesting. Who is this girl to him? Who is Madrigal? Why is he so willing to give up things for her? It isn't until we reach the backstory that we get more. Who he was. Who was with her. It expanded on his character. We learned more. I'm surprised a seraphim could enter chimaera territory and be fine. (How do you spell spell both of those? I feel like I'm botching it up.) Which was confusing to say the least. Who knows what magic he worked?
Madrigal was so kind. I liked that she did what she had to make people suffer less. And how she saved a seraphim. Do I see Madrigal as a separate person? Actually, yes. She was a good person. But not all good characters are interesting. She was mildly interesting. Her kindness would be her downfall. Loving would be the worst thing for her. But she didn't back down. That showed her bravery. As well as her love for Akiva. Which takes great commitment. And she had the chops to take it on.

The Adventure Begins (And Ends)

The plot was actually pretty cool. It had enough fight scenes. I liked when Akiva and Kaoru fought. They seemed evenly matched. The scenes were good. Fast-paced and interesting. Clever techniques. I wanted more fighting. Not just giving up and stalking her. That's creepy, dude.
The plot was partly on the past. I liked the past. Seeing Madrigal and Akiva. Them from the before. It was fascinating. Seeing their personalities. Their romance. I liked the past. And it made me get interested in the present. The past was entirely romance. Stealing away nights and kisses. Hoping and praying that no one will find them. These two couldn't slip up. No no. One slip up meant...KO. Sudden death. Especially for Madrigal. I feared for them. Hoped for the best. That's the sign of a good romance. When you worry with the characters about their worries.
It could have been better, though. Perhaps more action and less romance? I didn't mind the romance...but still. Maybe more about the past? Ooh. That would be great.

The Swoon-Gasp-Swoon Factor


Ka-Pow Power


Kiss Kiss Fall in Love

The romance wasn't bad. It was cute.
Madrigal and Akiva? Adorable. They had no reason to fall in love. He an seraphim. She a chimaera. But they did. Against all odds. And it was a spark. Not even looks. Just a spark. A knowing. A rush of heat. I might be babbling now, but I am allowed to. It was fascinating seeing them together. They had to hide in secret. To kiss underneath their lovers moon. (I'm babbling...) And they knew what would happen if they were caught. Punishment. Death. And they did it anyways. Perhaps, it's enemies-turned-lovers I enjoy. (And I know I do.) But these two had something different. I'm not sure what it is. It could be their races. It might be. Who knows?
Akiva and Kaoru seemed rushed. Even without the Madgrigal secret. Why? They met each other. Fought. Then...kiss, kiss, fall in love. (If you get that reference, plus ten points for you.) They didn't necessarily seem like who they were before. Kaoru was different. Akiva was different. I know you want me to say that they were destined...but they weren't. Kaoru wasn't the girl she was before at all. She was completely different. Nothing could change that. Loving the past her doesn't mean you'll like the present her, Akiva. Calm down. Reincarnations don't always work out how you want them.

Special Effects

The world was actually quite intricate. Well-built. It had many levels. The generals of the chimaera. The wars they fought. The 'why these two races were built'. TWO MOONS. It was interesting. The past between the two races. It wasn't anything like high fantasy. It was a good world, though.
And the world Kaoru lived in with her odd family of chimaera. The world built from there. The shop. The magic doors. The place she lived in. The work she had to do. Fetching teeth. Not knowing what they were for. And then finding out the truth? Interesting.
The magic was cool. As well as the two races. The magic from pain. Wow. That was actually really cool. That explained the teeth really well. Which was something I started to wonder about halfway in. And the magic was sorta lost. Lost but not really. That brought up some questions. How was it lost? Why? When? Where? By whom? And reincarnation? Like that? Awesome. You could remake yourself into someone entirely different. (And that could be the point.)

The End

The ending...I want more. It was a cliffhanger. I want how it ends. Does Kaoru ever forgive him? Who is she now? What will she do? It was such an ending. 
I need to know. I NEED TO KNOW. 
We're given so much information at the end. Who Kaoru is. Who Madgrigal is. Where Kaoru's family is. So much happening. So much going on. We get so much. I think we got a lot of swallow. Which isn't the best. Having the past unfold was a tad much. And then...Akiva? Wow, dude. Nice job ruining things with waifu. Only Akiva... Sigh. 
I am intrigued. I want to know more.


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