Thursday, January 26, 2012

Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, #1)Title:  Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Author:  Laini Taylor
Series:  Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Publisher:  Little, Brown & Company (hardcover) and Hachette Audio (audiobook)
Publication Date:  September 27, 2011
Source:  purchased
Links:  Amazon | Goodreads
Rating: Photobucket

From Goodreads:

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 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?

Okay, this review is going to be a little different, since I both read and listened to this book. So, here goes:

First, a random thought: Do mustache bars really exist? Because that would be the most awesome thing since…ever. My sister and I have decided that, regardless of whether this has been done before or not, we are going to open up a bar in Dallas where everyone wears fake mustaches and said fake mustaches can be purchased from vending machines in the bar, just like in Daughter of Smoke and Bone. And if this is a real and normal thing where you’re from, please disregard the crazy lady behind the keyboard and read ahead. That is all.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, I can gush about this book. I don’t know what I was expecting going into this novel – I know it probably wasn’t much, considering I’m trying this new thing where I don’t read a synopsys so that there’s less of a chance I’ll have the whole thing figured out by the 10th chapter – but what I got was something incredible and mesmerizing and completely unique. I read the actual book in the middle of December, but then a friend was raving about the audio on Goodreads, and lo and behold, Audible was having a sale on said audiobook, and so I just HAD to pick it up and see for myself. I was not disappointed.

The book: In a word? Fantastic. So much thought-provoking fantasy weaved into one beautiful love story. The world-building was phenomenal, and the way the author started at the end, went back to the past, and brought the story full-circle to that incredible ending? Wow. This is why I read. Books like this.

I loved every single character in this book. Even Svetla, with her caterpillar eyebrows, and Kazimir, the robber of innocence. The characters, complete with horns and hooves and scales, are described in unwavering prose, beautiful in their hideousness and ugly in their beauty. I appreciated the focus on Karou and Akiva, but I’m glad for further novels in this series so that I can get to know the chimaera better. I’m rather indifferent to the Seraphin, but I’m sure the author can change my mind on that front.

The love story is one of those “we’re drawn to each other” types, but this does not even begin to describe the relationship between Karou and Akiva. Akiva is a changed man upon encountering Karou for the first time. And Karou may be young, but she’s not innocent or naïve. She’s seen much more than most would believe. They are drawn to each other, even once they realize they are truly meant to be enemies. But what good love story would stop there?

The audio: I love, love, love Khristine Hvam. She is so awesome with accents, be they that of Scottish hotties or creepy monsters or Russian vampire protectors. I’m familiar enough with her work now that the second I see she’s the narrator, I’m pretty much assured that audiobook will end up in my collection.

With some audiobooks, I still feel like I missed something in the story by not having read it myself. But with Daughter of Smoke and Bone, that is definitely not the case, and it’s not just because I only read the book a month before listening to the audio. I feel confident that I would feel the same had I not previously read the book.

So, whichever way you go, audio or a traditional read-through, I feel secure in saying you will enjoy this book. I know it was hyped quite a bit last year when it was released, but I feel all of that praise came honestly and was well-deserved. This will definitely be one of those novels that I re-read many times, searching for any nuances and details I missed on my first several reads (or listens, as the case may be).


  1. I love audiobooks, and even though I've read this, I think I should listen to it as well. This was a great review, it reminded me of do many things I'd forgotten about the book.

  2. Lovely review, Jenn, truly! I absolutely loved this book. It was probably my favorite read of 2011. The writing was mesmerizing and gorgeous and amazing... well you get the point. I loved trying to write my review, I couldn't begin to convey the breathtaking beauty of the passages in this book. It was just stunning. Loved your idea about the mustache bar. That would be fun, a mustache bar or a Masquerade bar... don't you want to go to a Masquerade ball sometime??

  3. Um..... mustaches? I have read a dozen reviews of this and I don't remember this gem!

    I really have to pick this one up one of these days. I have tried one audio book, but I couldn't get into it.. I guess it was just weird.. I'll try again someday, I'm not giving up.. they would save me hella time. :)

    Oooh, I love drawn to you love stories. I love all love stories.. anything I can add to the spank bank, ya know? lol

    This cover makes me think of phantom of the opera meets the smurfs. that is all.

    Oh, and speaking of covers.. I found the cover I want to use for my first segment.. Ooh it's a good one. lol.


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