Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke and Bonesmoke and bone

418 pages
published in 2011

1. Daughter of Smoke and Bone
2. Days of Blood and Starlight
3. Dreams of Gods and Monsters

Errand requiring immediate attention. Come.

The note was on vellum, pierced by the talons of the almost-crow that delivered it. Karou read the message. ‘He never says please’, she sighed, but she gathered up her things.

When Brimstone called, she always came.

In general, Karou has managed to keep her two lives in balance. On the one hand, she’s a seventeen-year-old art student in Prague; on the other, errand-girl to a monstrous creature who is the closest thing she has to family. Raised half in our world, half in ‘Elsewhere’, she has never understood Brimstone’s dark work – buying teeth from hunters and murderers – nor how she came into his keeping. She is a secret even to herself, plagued by the sensation that she isn’t whole.

Now the doors to Elsewhere are closing, and Karou must choose between the safety of her human life and the dangers of a war-ravaged world that may hold the answers she has always sought.

Let’s start with the positive – the cover is really pretty.

I would have loved to list more things I liked about this book but unfortunately there is nothing. I really tried to get into it but it only succeeded in making me angry.

One of the biggest problems was the main character: Karou is a 17-year-old girl who, apart from being super beautiful, tough and mysterious
– was raised by Chimaera in a parallel world with access to the human world
– speaks 26ish languages
– is super talented at drawing and painting
– is a master in karate and other martial arts
– is filthy rich, she even owns property
– can travel through portals to ANY PLACE IN THE WORLD!
– can freaking FLY!!
she also seemed to have an unusual but very happy childhood surrounded by people who are different but showed her love & affection.

AND SHE IS STILL COMPLAINING!!! What an ungrateful little brat! Seriously, what is wrong with her? She is Mary Sue lvl 100 and still not happy with her life because there is some emptiness or whatever in her.. Girl, get a grip, you can do whatever you want, the whole world is open. You can just travel all the time!
I couldn’t feel sorry for Karou. Not at all. There is nothing to feel sorry about. She just needs a kick in the butt, that is all.

There are a lot of scenes that made me wonder about what Karou can’t do. She easily wins fights against grown men and of course she also has some awesome magical abilities that work against angels.

Speaking of angels.. enter second protagonist and for some unwritten rule the person who HAS to be the love interest. Akiva, the stunningly beautiful, strong & merciless angel who unfortunately whines and complains all the time. His description didn’t fit together with his actions at all. This is also a thing in the book. The author tells way too much and doesn’t show enough.

So Akiva and the other angels don’t like the Chimaera and they have been fighting non-stop for hundreds of years in their own parallel world. Nah, they don’t think about sitting down and talking about a treaty. Apparently they are just stupid or enjoy fighting. This means that Akiva and Karou, who grew up with her Chimaera friends, are supposed to be enemies.

Of course they are not.. The middle of the book goes a little like this:

Akiva: I should kill her. But there’s SOMETHING about her. Hm, I just try to kill her a little.. argh….

Akiva: Ah well, she got away.. And she also has super-powers. She probably isn’t as human as she thinks she is. I better go against my orders and stalk her.

Akiva: Oh, she is so pretty and special and reminds me of my long lost girlfriend…

Akiva: But we are enemies..

Akiva: I don’t want to kill anymore!

Akiva: *whine*

It’s really frustrating. The whole big part about Akiva and Karou fighting and then suddenly making peace and falling in love immediately was unfortunately quite predictable and very annoying.. I can’t stand insta-love. It was boring and hard to believe and didn’t work for me at all. I didn’t have a connection with any of the characters. They were either too perfect or too bland.

Not only the love story and all the drama surrounding it was predictable. Most of the storyline was as well. It was obvious from the start that Karou is not just a plain human but something else and something that’s a big deal.. And it turned out just like that. Throw in the evil antagonist who got rejected by her and will probably be after her in part 2 and there you have it.

It was awful! Nothing new, boring characters, predictable storyline, insta-lovestory, no show don’t tell, over the top, can’t recommend it.


  1. That’s a pretty fair run down of all the things that frustrated me about the book. I found enough to like about the world-building to keep reading, but I completely understand where you’re coming from. Karou is too perfect (although I liked that she bought it all with wishes, much to her mentor’s irritation) and the romance drove me up the wall. It’s the main reason I typically avoid YA and urban fantasy. But I liked the Chimera a lot, so I stuck with it in the end.

    You would be right about your assumptions regards book 2 and the evil antagonist by the way – Karou goes to work for him. I do think the second and third book are better – the stage has been set, so the characters can develop more and the tone gets much darker. Still, this is why the world has wikipedia recaps 😉 And they still have their share of angst and star-crossed romance, so the teeth-grinding doesn’t stop entirely!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey imyril, thank you for your comment 🙂 Good to see that I am not the only one who was annoyed 🙂 If it wasn’t for the horrible romance, I might have tried the second one, especially since you say it’s getting darker & better. The setting was after all quite interesting.


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