Daughter of Smoke & Bone

Laini Taylor

Shelfie Score: 45%

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Publisher: Hachette UK
Pages: 432


The first book in the New York Times bestselling epic fantasy trilogy by award-winning author 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 grown 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...

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Mark Housley

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor September 2011 YA Fantasy 4.25/5

Daughter of Smoke and Bone is a novel about a girl who knows nothing of her parents or history. She was raised by a group of chimeras in a shop that specialized in teeth. She is an artist and student in Prague in modern times. In the novel, she finds out the truth of her birth and history.

The main character is a girl with blue hair named Karou, a word that means ‘hope’ in the chimeric language. She is a fairly well-rounded character. We learn about her fears, desires, and questions about her history. The love interest has a good backstory. The secondary characters are mostly placeholders without much development.

The book is set in modern Prague. The location is very well developed and lends itself to the story. The tooth shop is in a place called ‘elsewhere’ with a mysterious back door that Karou is dying to explore. There are secondary locations around the world that are very interesting and add to the ambiance.

This is a YA novel, so the themes are standard to that genre: orphan, first love, portal fantasy, undiscovered powers, and mysterious events. It strikes a good tone. The plot carries most of the story but it does bog down a bit. There is a very abrupt shift in the last third that is quite jarring, but it circles back around to the main plot pretty satisfactorily. I didn’t see the central mystery until the reveal. I -appreciated that. There’s a huge insta-love but it is explained in the finale and is well represented early. The middle third tears along until the abrupt shift.

I quite liked this debut novel by Laini Taylor. I read Strange the Dreamer first, so I went into this with high hopes and although this is not as good as StD, I still really liked it. I read it in two days and that is a good sign.


Bookaxe Characteristics for Daughter of Smoke & Bone

Character and Plot:

Characters in depth

Fast-paced plot

Language and Style:

Straight to the point

Language and style central

New Information:

Pure entertainment

Introduces you to new ideas


Explores the darker side of life
Light-hearted and optimistic


No swearing or violence etc
Frequent swearing and violence etc

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