Series Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy by Laini Taylor

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Published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers

Synopsis of Daughter of Smoke and Bone

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?

Let’s do list-style because I find that the funnest way to do things.

  1. Well. If you haven’t heard about this trilogy, you probably haven’t been reading the right kind of YA novels. *cough* Or, on a slightly less polemic note, you prefer your books to be more realistic and not fantastical.
  2. Because angels with flaming wings (or not) are about as fantastical as you can get not to mention the chimaera with their weird body parts.
  3. So reasons you will like this book are many but before we go on let me say this: the first book nearly turned me off the other two simply because I am not a fan of the mush and this one was romance-heavy in the first installment but since I had already bought book 2 and had no choice but to read it, I did.
  4. And wahhh.
  5. *hearts in eyes*
  6. It was amazing. 
  7. No seriously, it was crazy amazing. Because Taylor had established the feels in the first book, the characters were free to move on and deal with the fall out that inevitably occurs when Kaoru makes certain discoveries the angel fella is not so forthcoming about. And Kaoru, well, she’s not the Katniss kinda heroine but she has her own strength and she comes into her own in a big way in book 2. I even started feeling the romance because that was reined in. There were more important things to think about like, oh I don’t know, the ending of the world?
  8. Plus the worldbuilding kicked up several notches in book and just went on until the absolutely mindblowing book 2.
  9. There is a love triangle and sigh, it hurt because I didn’t know how to choose and I could see her being happy with both of them.
  10. Still, the characterizations are brilliant and it was wonderful to read stories that were set in places you don’t usually get to see YA novels set in. Ya know?
  11. The best friend and her boyfriend were the greatest side characters/sidekicks anyone could ever ask for.
  12. These books are not for the weak-hearted, mind you. People die a lot and things happen and there is pain and tragedy but at the same time, Taylor does not diverge from her journey? aim? goal? whatever which is to tell Kaoru’s story.
  13. What makes this book stick in my mind out of the thousands I have read is that the ending is so brilliantly done.
  14. We have had two pretty strong series (The Hunger Games and Harry Potter) end on ‘happy’ notes which show the protagonists living happily ever which apparently means reproducing in certain circles (hee) but Taylor does not show the diverse cast of characters reaching any plateau. We leave them in action and I cannot stress how amazing it is to leave them while they are living and moving ahead with their lives rather than when they have reached some improbably utopian version of happiness.
  15. I just had to get it out of my system.
  16. This is a portal fantasy so Chris Owen may enjoy this. The writing is absolutely gorgeous and I think the audiobooks are pretty amazing (how many times have I used that word now? sorry.) if Yash is to be believed and I think we can believe her. (Ha.)
  17. So if you want books with a lot of action, good romance (yes, I was much more forgiving when I reread the first one after I finished the entire series; it’s not as bad, I was overreacting), wonderful portrayals of friendship, a diverse cast, wonderful prose, heck, all the superlatives, if you want books like these ones, you should get them. And probably call in sick and hole up in your room while you read your eyes out (I’m just saying, please don’t).
  18. It’s very satisfying.
  19. Enjoy it.
  • Thanks for this! I’ve really wanted to read this series. After reading this, it’s a done deal <3

  • Grrr I really need to start this series!! It’s been on my to-read-list forever! – ashley

    • Maybe it can be a new year’s resolution.

      • That’s a great idea! Or holiday reading. I will get on it!

  • Yes! Yes! and yes!!
    #14 – I didn’t think of it that way but yes!!

    Isn’t this series the best kept secret ever?!
    I ran into it while I was trying to put my son to sleep and browsing kindle sales. It was .99 …. good lord I was in love!

    • Putting kids to bed should be an Olympic sport. Why is it to difficult to get them to sleep? O.O

      • kids = cutest monsters you’ll ever meet. 🙂

  • Haha love that you did this in list form- I agree with everything you said (except nearly being put off by how mushy it was- cos I’m a big ol’ softie at heart)

    • Aw, it’s okay to be a softie. I think when everything was in context and I understood Akiva a bit more, I was more forgiving (and dare I say welcoming) of the mush.

  • So sad..i wait the second book to publish in my country for about three years..
    And i’m not so sure if the second book really will be publish… 🙁
    Nice to read the review.. 😀

  • One of my favourite series! But I do have reservations about it being turned into a film, I think it works best on the page but because they’ll do it anyway it would be amazing if it was done in Pan’s Labyrinth style.

    • Has it been optioned? I have mixed feelings about this made into a movie as well.

  • I started into the first book awhile ago but was a little discouraged by all the flashbacks…. Would you suggest forging onward?? I liked the series up until it was bringing in all these characters and other plots. Suggestions??

    • The flashbacks are pretty important to the narrative and tie Kaoru’s past and present together. I reckon if you get through the first book, you’ll find the next two books easier. They don’t have any flashbacks and things occur in the present.

      • Maybe I’ll give it another try then!!! Thank you, and this was an excellent review 🙂

        • No problem! I’m glad you enjoyed it.