Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Book - 2011
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Seventeen-year-old Karou, a lovely, enigmatic art student in a Prague boarding school, carries a sketchbook of hideous, frightening monsters--the chimaerae who form the only family she has ever known.
Publisher: New York : Little, Brown, 2011
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780316134026
Characteristics: 418 p. ; 24 cm


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Karou lives a seemingly normal life as an art student at a prestigious school in Prague. Secretly, she has been raised by chimaera, demons with monstrous and animalistic-features. Travelling through portals to collect teeth across the world for her “family,” Karou is mysteriously drawn to a stranger, Akiva. There seems to be some history between them, but to find out the truth behind their past, Karou must first examine her own. Who, and WHAT, is she? I couldn’t put it down. Loved it! Starting the sequel now… (submitted by EM)

Jul 11, 2018

Real rating: about 3.25 stars

The writing was probably my favorite aspect of this book. I could almost perfectly visualize Prague and all of the other mystical settings throughout. The world building and the mythology that came along with it were also very creative. The characters and creatures were very well designed, and, like the settings, I liked to visualize them in all of their quirkiness (Karou especially). That being said, many of the characters, though beautiful to envision, fell a little flat in some areas. Most of the Chimaera and Seraphim were rather bland in terms of personality, seeming to exist only as plot devices. I also thought that all of the scenes involving Madrigal dragged on WAY too long. There was a little too much skipping around, and most of it could have been shortened and summed up in a little bit less detail.
Overall, though, “Daughter of Smoke and Bone” was a pretty decent read. It didn’t quite live up to my expectations in some areas, but I liked the originality of it. I’m unsure of whether or not I’ll finish the trilogy.

Jul 05, 2018

The book is a work of literature: A girl unknown of her past- If she even had one! -Goes working for her apparent father, collecting... Teeth?! What doesn't help the fact that her father...is..is... A Monster! A Chimera! How could a monster- A devil! -Possibly be a father to this unknown girl with blue hair growing unnaturally out of her scalp, with tattooed markings on her. Who is she? 𝑾𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝘪𝘴 𝘴𝘩𝘦? Later, she discovers a hidden love for a murder, A corrupted man, A war which she never wanted, and... The Truth.

However saying all this, the book was great in the beginning and dulling-out in the end. If you're a fan of long backstories, magic, and piecing together mysteries to form a puzzle with pieces still missing (It's a Trilogy) Then this book is for you. (I like a puzzle to complete, but long backstories- not so much.)

Jun 21, 2018

First in a trilogy about a girl who lives in "our" world, but has ties to a very different reality - one where angels and chimera are commonplace. The characters are engaging and unique, and I loved the banter between Karou's best friend Zuzana and her hapless crush Mik. The world-building is very intricate and atmospheric - I loved this series.

Apr 15, 2018

I went into this one completely blind- I had never read any of Laini Taylor's works, and I didn't know what this novel was about. I was blown away. The story was so deep and rich and different than anything else I've read in a long time. Technically it's urban fantasy, but it's so complex and multi-leveled that you forget that it's actually set in the real world and in the current time period. Karou is selfish, but also caring, and brave, headstrong and loyal. She is a real person with many layers- not like so many other manic-pixie-dreamgirls you find in YA nowadays. She speaks many languages. She's got multiple tattoos. She has blue hair and runs errands for a Chimera. Taylor throws us right in the deep end in this novel, so quickly that I needed to slow down to absorb the world she was weaving. Her story is punctuated with reveal after reveal, and I was just along for the ride. I was so enthralled with the characters that even though I was on vacation, I was waiting for downtime in the evening to get back into it. Akiva is a boy angel with a tortured soul. Yes, it sounds cliche. But Taylor takes this trope and builds on it- she fleshes him out so well that we aren't sure whether we love him or hate him, even though he's the main love interest. Taylor made me feel like I wasn't sure which side should win the war that has been raging between the Seraph and the Chimera- they are both made out to be relatable. They both have their strengths and flaws, their right causes and wrong. No one side is 'the bad guy', which is normally how things go. There are sympathetic characters on both sides, and that makes it harder for us to choose who we want to triumph. Daughter of Smoke and Bone leaves us on a doozy of a cliffhanger- and I'm so glad that I have the next one in my hands, ready to go.

SPPL_Violet Mar 17, 2018

Stunning first novel in a fantastic series.

PimaLib_ChristineR Feb 23, 2018

So, I came to this book after reading Strange the Dreamer, and maybe I just shouldn't have. Taylor is at the top of her game in that book, and unfortunately, that means that Daughter of Smoke and Bone suffers in comparison. Taylor plays on some of the same ideas, a race of "angels," someone finding a hidden side to themselves, but it does't play out nearly as cleanly here.

Karou has grown up in a small shop with her family, creatures that trade teeth for wishes. Now in college in Prague, she is still called back to spend time with her family, and collect teeth for them. The door that lets her enter the shop of teeth can let her out wherever she needs to be, until she finds the shop empty one day and sneaks out the other door, the forbidden door. When she's found by Brimstone, her "father" he promptly ejects her onto the streets of Prague.

It's difficult to build a world when the only part of it we see is a single room. Taylor is most successful at portraying the "normal" side of Karou's life as an art student in Prague. She makes the city come alive, a mixture of fairy tale charm and punk aesthetic. The action is interesting, as Karou travels to try to find a way back into the world of her family, but all of it felt like it could have been compressed and been the first half of a really good novel.

Jan 23, 2018

Everyone loved this but i personally did not. I felt bored and the world described wasn't interesting enough for me to remember and understand how this world worked. The reveal at the end was so dramatic it annoyed me. Plus, this whole book lead up to something that took a totally different tone the next book. This book describes her live in the real world and then it gets into the magic world for the second half and it was so predictable who Karou was going to be. I didn't particularly like her either and I was barely invested in her or the side characters. I didn't like her friend and it annoyed me that her friend believes everything. I also didn't care for the ex-boyfriend. His entirely personality revolved around being desperate.

Sep 17, 2017

I would definitely recommend this to anyone out there craving for fantasy, action, and romance. The way this book twists and turns really captivated me and the intriguing way serephim and chimaera were portrayed really got me thinking. And yet, despite all these strange and magical things happening, this book managed to keep me rooted to "normalcy" and then slightly eased itself more into the magical realm of Angels and Demons.

Truly is a spell bounding book

Sep 07, 2017

After reading Strange the Dreamer by the same writer, I had very high hopes for this series!
This story is unusual and wrapped me into it quickly. I enjoyed that the book's first chapter reminded me of a teen angst novel, but quickly turned into something much more intriguing.
I am in love with the lyrical way Taylor weaved her tale, but I have to agree with a few of the other reviewers about this book having one-dimensional main characters. Though I love the way that Karou is characterized (being mysterious and in the dark about her own past, leaving the readers in the dark the entire 3/4 of the book), I felt like, even after the big revelation toward the end of the book, Karou had not undergone any serious character change. The same goes for Akiva-- it is like he started the way he ended, with some changes through the middle. Karou is strong and independent throughout the book, with sudden emotional upheavals being dealt with more calmly than a reader would have expected, which was kind of disappointing.
I enjoyed that I had no idea what was going on at some points, but I did not feel completely lost; I just wanted to keep reading! I would recommend this book for the world it opens up, with lots of political issues arising, and the tug and war of love between two different warriors that is not so sappy you have to stop reading.

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Add Age Suitability
Jan 23, 2018

manjari825 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

PimaLib_KimB Dec 16, 2015

PimaLib_KimB thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Aug 16, 2014

OliviaF2020 thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over

May 24, 2014

burgundy_dove_26 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 5 and 21

Nov 14, 2013

DarcieC thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Aug 07, 2013

violet_human_30 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Jul 02, 2012

KKPGIRL thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

ZoeBoe Apr 15, 2012

ZoeBoe thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over


Add a Quote
Jul 19, 2012

Mik was sandy-haired and fair-skinned, with sideburns and a goatee and the kind of knife-blade eyes that hinted at ancestors invading across the plains from Central Asia. He was handsome and gifted, he blushed easily and hummed when he concentrated, and he was soft-spoken but interesting – a good combination. He actually listened, rather than pretending to listen while waiting a suitable interval before it was his turn to talk again . . .

Jul 19, 2012

She kind of wanted to take off her boots, but that was something you didn’t do if there was any chance you might have to quickly flee or kick someone.

Jul 02, 2012

"Don't put anything unnecessary into yourself. No poisons or chemicals, no fumes or smoke or alcohol, no sharp objects, no inessential needles - drug or tattoo - and...no inessential penises, either."

"Inessential penises? Is there any such thing as an essential one?"


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ZoeBoe Apr 15, 2012

"Daughter of Smoke and Bone" is about this girl named Karou who lives in Prague. Karou is very mysterious and doesn't know where she came from, but knows that her only family, are half humans called Chimera. She soon finds out that there are other worlds beside her own, and that if she wants to keep her friends and family alive, she might have to go and explore unknown places.

I think that this book is for ages 13+. I am 12-13 but I read adult fiction daily... Just the concept of it, the inside story, would need an older mind to keep straight what's happening. Some of my friends read it, and they got lost, and didn't end up with the same conclusions. It's all just a matter of how experienced a reader you are.

“Once upon a time, a little girl was raised by monsters.”

For seventeen year old Karou life is spent juggling two worlds. In one she is the mysterious, blue-haired art student whose drawings of fantastical creatures and exotic tales delight her fellow classmates. In the other she’s errand girl for her adopted father, the chimera Brimstone, and as much in the dark about who she really is as any of her friends. Around the world sooty black handprints appear burned into doors; they symbolize the beginning of an otherworldly war. A chance meeting with the seraphim Akiva leads to a battle on the streets of Marrakesh and the beginning of the angel’s fascination with the blue-haired girl. After the angels destroy the portals between worlds Karou must find another way to reunite with her monstrous family. With a foot in both worlds Karou is caught in a war between angels and devils, between the only family she’s ever known and the beautiful winged man that haunts her. Whatever the result one thing is certain - Karou’s life will never be the same again.

“Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love. It did not end well.”
Grades 10-12, 418 pages


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