Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor: Old Book Review

Title: Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Author: Laini Taylor
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 2011
Number of Pages: 424
Series Notes: #1 of Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Reason for Discovery: Vaginal Fantasy Book Club

 According to 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 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?
This is a challenging book to review. On one hand, I felt that the characters and the world building in this book were excellent. I felt the characters (except for one) were fairly well-rounded and three-dimensional. I could really imagine them in my head. Also the fantasy world and these creatures’ history was amazing. It was really well thought out. On the other hand, this book was simply a setup for the next book. Nothing happens in this book. Well, okay, yes, something happens; however, a lot of this book could have been condensed, so an actual plot could have happened.

Spoilers below!

I should have known something was up when Karou still didn’t know who she was two-thirds into the book. By that point, she should have at least some clue as to who she was. Then, to make matters worse, it is at this point, we go into an elaborate flashback that fills up the rest of the book. Granted, I found the back story interesting; however, it was longer than it needed to be. In fact, the rest of the book was longer than it needed to be. I enjoyed the book, but I am really disappointed that nothing happened in it except for Karou discovering who she was. Robin Hobb said in an interview that each book in her trilogies can stand by themselves. In other words, you can pick up book two in a trilogy and have a complete adventure. Book one in a trilogy should not be Act One.

End of spoilers!

I know that this review is fairly harsh. Everyone I know who has read this book has loved it. As I said before, the world building is fantastic. The writing is great. I just need more forward motion in this book. I am planning on reading the second book in the series at some point.

I give this book 3 out of 5 masks.


Anonymous said...
October 17, 2013 at 1:18 AM

Hmm I am interested in seeing how I like this one! I don't say no to a good world building but that's too bad that nothing much happens. I didn't read the spoilers since I haven't read but I'll have to see what I think when I read this!

Chanzie said...
October 17, 2013 at 5:43 AM

Very interesting review Pamela :) I agree a drawn out plot can get very boring no matter how well it is written. It has a very pretty cover though :)

Tabitha (Pabkins) said...
October 17, 2013 at 7:26 PM

Ok so I didn't read the spoiler section - thanks for the warning! I think I have a copy of this somewhere. I hate feeling like chunks could be shaven off. I'm one that needs awesome movement throughout the whole book or I just get bored and bogged down.

An example of lack of movement ....Shadow & Bone then the sequel Siege and Storm. While I liked them. I feel they really needed more movement in them.

Unknown said...
October 17, 2013 at 10:17 PM

Everyone I know who read this book loves it. I am the outlier. I am sure you will like it.

Unknown said...
October 17, 2013 at 10:17 PM

The cover is really pretty! I wish I had the physical books, so I could look at them more often. This is the one problem with reading e-books.

Unknown said...
October 17, 2013 at 10:23 PM

This book definitely took a weird turn with a huge flashback on the backend of the book; however, everyone (except for me) really enjoyed this book, so I would encourage you to give it a try. The book isn't too long (~400 pages). :)

Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer said...
October 17, 2013 at 11:59 PM

Nothing happens..LOL, sometimes it feels that way with all the world building and character intros. This is on my wishlist, I just haven't picked it up..LOL

Berls said...
October 18, 2013 at 11:16 PM

I've been curious about this one - I have had it on my TBR for a while. (I think I may have even bought it and it's sitting on my eReader...) sounds like it has FBS (First Book Syndrome), which is okay for me if there's potential. Great review :)

Stormy @ Book.Blog.Bake. said...
October 19, 2013 at 10:53 AM

Hmm, you make an interesting point about book 1 being "Act 1". I really LOVED this book, but I have to say I agree there. I think I was still focused in on the mystery of who Karou really was to not pay attention, but it was mostly built up towards the next book. I think I didn't mind as much because the world was just so fantastical and I love Laini Taylor's writing, but I wonder if I would feel differently if I did a re-read.

Unknown said...
October 19, 2013 at 6:50 PM

I guess I am more of an action girl than I thought I was. The concept is cool. I am sure that you will love it, because, seriously, everyone else I know loved it. :)

Unknown said...
October 19, 2013 at 6:53 PM

There is definitely room for potential. I am holding off on the second one until the third book comes out next year.

Unknown said...
October 19, 2013 at 6:55 PM

The world was awesome, and I am probably going to read the other books. I think I was just expecting there to be more action than there was. I was all geared up for it and then I was told to read the second book! But I guess the book did its job, if it makes me want to read the second book.

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