Daughter of Smoke and Bone- Laini Taylor

Synopsis 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 otherworldly 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?

“She had been innocent once, a little girl playing with feathers on the floor of the devil’s lair. She wasn’t innocent now, but she didn’t know what to do about it. This was her life: magic and shame and secrets and teeth and a deep, nagging hollow at the centre of herself where something was most certainly missing.”

Initial Final Page Thoughts.
Oh hey jaw, have you met the floor? You have? Oh good.

High Points.
Epic love (and not a single eye-roll in sight). Prague/Marrakesh. Breath-taking prose- Ms Taylor has such an intricate way of twisting humour, history, magic and mythology together to produce some of the spectacular prose I’ve ever read. Myths and legends. Karou. Madrigal. Akiva. Brimstone. Smoke. Teeth. Masquerades balls. Sister moons. Betrayal. Secret trysts. Sun blood. Moon tears. Heartbreak. Zuzana. Marionettes. Breakfast at the cathedral. Ghost tours (I know we’re not supposed to like Kaz, but I would definitely go on one of his tours). Inessential penises. Life drawing. Scuppies. Hamsas. Elsewhere. Battles. Wishes. Infinite Patience. Papilos Stomachus. Rainwater and daydreams. Pre-order. Pre-order. Pre-order.

Low Points.
I’ve wanted to get a tattoo for so long now but I have been being good and resisting because I have no money… yeah, this book didn’t help at all.
To be continued?! You have got to be kidding me. GAH.
This final low point is all for me: The one thing that I was dreading the most in the beginning of this book happened and it became my favourite part.
The moral of this story: Trust Laini Taylor. She knows what she’s doing.

Dear Karou,
You will not believe the astronomical cost I had to pay the Royal Mail to get this letter to you. Get it? Astronomical? Because you… at the end… you are…Never mind.
Please consider this letter as an official invitation to join the elite group of ladies known as The League of Soul Sisters. You have been chosen for one of these coveted positions because you are strong, brave, hilarious, resilient, do very well at describing sexy angel abs loyal, would be useful where ex-boyfriends are concerned, determined, would bring me presents from Paris and, above all, you have amazing hair that I wouldn’t suit… DAMN YOU SKIN TONE you are something else entirely.
Please await further instructions.

Yours Faithfully,
– J

ps. You should probably go ahead and bring some of those beaded necklaces with you… we could have fun with those.

Love Interest.

“….and some butterflies react to other people’s on a chemical level, like pheromones, so that they’re nearby, your butterflies start to dance. They can’t help it- it’s chemical.”

I… I just can’t even think never mind write a sentence, because my heart is breaking so much.

ps. You’re totally smokin’.

Best Friend.
I want a bohemian puppeteer as my best friend.
And I’m going to whinge until I have one.
Zuzanna was possibly my favourite character in this book and she wasn’t even in it that much! I loved the flawlessly realistic dialogue between her and Karou. Their conversations are so similar to the ones I have with my friends (“Nice fiddling, handsome man!”/ Guinea pig s’mores/ “I met an angel in Morocco and all I got were these lousy scars”) and I couldn’t help but laugh. Their friendship provided a lot of comic relief that saved this book from being too heavy going.

“Oh, hell. Must. Mate. Immediately.”
HAHA. My thoughts exactly, Zuzana.

Theme Tune.
In my mind there are two stories told in this book… so I’m allowed two songs.
The first song is for the first story, the one that features in the second half of the book. I realise that makes no sense… but I promise you, it’s not nearly as confusing as I make it out to be.

“When we were strangers
I watched you from afar
When we were lovers
I loved you with all my heart.”

And the second song, pairing with the tale that starts and finishes our book, the one that tore my heart into little pieces so much so I wanted to use a whole handful of scuppies so I could wish myself a basket full of kittens to cuddle in vain hope that my grief would be alleviated.
Or… you know… something like that. Whatever.

That’s right. Portishead. I’m bringing the big guns out for this book.
This is for you, Karou.

Angst Level.
10/10. Even if I ignore the ANGST that Ms Taylor just inflicted on me in those final chapters, this book still gets a solid 10. Whether it is the beautiful prose, the heart-wrenching story or the characters that I fell in love with (Literally in some cases… HI AKIVA), this book hit me hard.
To explain more will breach the barricade topped with spoilery barbed wire and I’m not going to do that.
Just trust me on this one, yeah?

Recommended For.
Everyone. People who believe in hope. People who like prose that will take your breath away. People who wish they would have gone to Prague when they had a friend who was doing a TEFL course there *grumble*. People who wish they had gone to Marrakesh when their uncle lived there *double grumble*. People who believe that it isn’t breakfast without chocolate (Honestly, it’s like Zuzana can see into my soul.) People who have always wondered what the tooth fairy does with those teeth. People who think fingerless gloves are not just for homeless people. People who are willing to rummage around in a chicken carcass for a wishbone… just in case. People who are going to take their Shreddies to their nearest cathedral tomorrow morning and trespass and sit on the roof and wait patiently…. just in case.

3 thoughts on “Daughter of Smoke and Bone- Laini Taylor

  1. Thank you :)
    This book is fantastic… I'm recommending it to everyone who will sit still long enough :)
    I think you'll love it!
    I don't like fuss… I'm always worried that it looks too bare! So thank you!

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