Tuesday 4 October 2011

Book Review & Giveaway: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor.

Product details:
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton.
Hardcover, 418 pages.
Release date: September 29th 2011.
Rating: 4½ out of 5.
Ages: 14+
Source: Received from publisher for review.

Featuring necklaces made of wishes; an underground shop dealing in teeth; magical tattoos; a wishbone on a cord, DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE is a thrilling story about Karou and her secret life as an apprentice to a wishmonger. Karou manages to keep her two lives in balance. On the one hand, she is a seventeen-year-old art student in Prague; on the other, errand-girl to an inhuman creature who deals in wishes and is the closest thing she has to family. Her life is surrounded by mysteries she is desperate to unveil

A wonderfully imaginative tale containing an abundance of sumptuous prose and vivid imagery Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone tells a genre-defying story of hope, heartbreak, love and loss in a book that has all the makings of a modern classic.

I cannot tell you what an unexpected treat this book was for me. In truth I am a little nervous when  books delve into fantasy worlds containing otherworldly creatures with unusual body parts and even more unusual names, and so it was with some trepidation that I entered into my reading of Daughter of Smoke and Bone. But I needn’t have worried.  Daughter of Smoke and Bone is like nothing I’ve ever read before and for that, I loved it.  Uniquely imaginative with a glorious setting and a heart-wrenching romance Daughter of Smoke and Bone combines elements of fantasy with paranormal romance and in the hands of a masterful storyteller such as Laini Taylor is it becomes something really special.

In both its setting and its characters, Daughter of Smoke and Bone is refreshingly different from anything else in YA literature right now. The story opens as Karou; a sassy seventeen year old art student makes her way to class in Prague. Right from the start we know that there is something very different about Karou. She has blue hair, but it has not been dyed, instead she has crafted it from a necklace made of wishes. Her sketch book is filled with drawings of otherworldly beastly beings, but these are not imagined, they are real. Karou lives between this world and another world where wishes are made in teeth and where she is an errand girl for an otherworldly being called Brimstone, who has raised her since birth.   Karou is a girl who is caught between two worlds with no real identity of her own.  We join her as she embarks on a journey to find the answers of her origin which when they come will be shocking and unexpected and will change Karou’s worlds forever.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone has a plot that unfolds like a dream, and just like a dream it contains a myriad of surprises, dark twists and unexpected conclusions. Laini Taylor’s world building is flawless while in Karou she has created a character that readers can really root for.  Here is a girl who is street smart and savvy, who has witnessed unspeakable terrors and shocking acts of atrocity. A girl who is fierce and brave, but who has a soft center, and more than anything  a girl who wants to find her place in the world or the person that can become her world.  We yearn for a happy ending for Karou. There is romance in this book and it will make your heart skip a beat. It is a romance of longing, of wanting and of need.  There is friendship too, and you will feel as though you are catching up with old friends as Karou and Zuzanna make their way through the cobbled streets of Prague to gossip over goulash at their favourite hangout, a gothic café called Poison, which was one of my favourite settings in the book.   I want to tell you so much more about Karou, her world, her friends and her romance, but I feel as though you are better off discovering this book and all the perfect words that lie within its pages for yourself.

Each sentence that Laini Taylor writes is a perfect little piece of prose to be savoured over and over again. I was astounded by the mesmeric quality of the writing in this book. All at once it is both sophisticated and whimsical while the mystical setting of Prague, with its old meets new world sensibilities is such a perfect setting for this book that sees a girl living between two worlds, but feeling as though she doesn’t fully belong to either.

A perfectly crafted book, Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone may inhibit a fantastical world, but it carries a very real message of hope and heartbreak, truth and honor and trust in a story where the lines between good and evil are blurred.  With a conclusion that tore at my heartstrings, Taylor has left me wanting more of Karou and her adventures, and it’s safe to say that I can’t wait to find out what happens next. This is a beautifully written book and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Thanks to those lovely people at Hodder I have a copy of Daughter of Smoke and Bone up for grabs!
Competition is: International.
Competition Ends: October 23rd 2011.
One entry per person.
Following the blog is not required to gain entry to the competition, but is always appreciated. :)



  1. I've been hearing such great things about this book. Fantasy worlds make me nervous, too, but it sounds awesome. Thanks for hosting a giveaway!

  2. This book sounds great! Thanks a lot for the chance.

  3. Stunning review Leanna, I loved this book so much! I agree about wanting to savor each of Laini's words, they way she put them together was just hypnotic and beautiful. I was a little hesitant to start this one too for the same reasons you listed, but I've never been more glad to be shown I'm an idiot for waiting:)

  4. I loved this book so, so much, I got it from the UK Book Tours site so I dont have my own copy. Need to buy one soon! brilliant review!

  5. Daughter of Smoke and Bone has very beautiful story. Thank you for the giveaway!!!

  6. I've heard nothing but good things about this one. I love that it's set in Europe and has a good mixture of romance and friendship. Also, the world building sounds amazing, and that's one of the things I really look forward to when reading fantasies.

  7. So happy you liked this one, especially since you're not usually too sure about fantasy worlds! Great review :).

  8. Ahhh! Your review has me so mad, because I was going to pick up a copy of this for my classroom the other day and put it down after reading the synopsis. I wasn't sure about it (like you said- strange fantasy worlds, otherworldly creatures, etc) but since you enjoyed it so much, I'm sure I will love it too. And it sounds like Taylor is such a brilliant writer. I can't wait to read it! Great review, Leanna!

  9. It sounds great! I can´t wait to read it.

  10. Brilliant, lovely and articulate review, Leanna! This one is one of my new favourites - Laini is a literary genius :)

  11. This is wonderful thank you.


  12. This book sounds great! Thanks a lot for the chance. the uk cover, love it

  13. Fantastic review! I really agree that the book does have a dream-like quality to it. I also loved the cafe that Karou and Zuzanna visited. It made me crave some goulash! I can't wait to read more.

  14. An impeccable review, if I hadn't already bought a copy of this I would be rushing out to get one today. Your descriptions of the prose, plot, and main character are exceptional. Cannot wait to open this one and experience its perfection.

  15. I simply can not wait to read this, but I am holding off and keeping it as a reward :)

    Thanks for the giveaway and the great review :)

  16. This seems to be THE book that everyone's raving about lately. I think the premise sounds different from a lot of the books that have been coming out recently, and that (along with the hype) definitely makes me want to read it!

  17. I've read so many great things about this book that I need to read it next!! However, I'm with you on strange body parts and names. I love dark twists and surprises. Its great to see a unique and refreshing YA bok on the market right now.

  18. Fantastic Giveaway Thank you!!

  19. Thanks for the giveaway Leanna! Can't wait to read this!

  20. Thanks for the great giveaway! Here's hoping for a big win!

  21. Thanks for the giveaway!
    Email: hernandezcassandra50 (at) yahoo (dot) com


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