Home FeatureBook Reviews ‘Daughter Of Smoke And Bone’ by Laini Taylor

‘Daughter Of Smoke And Bone’ by Laini Taylor

by Olivia Yayla

I am very aware of the fact that I find a new favorite book each time I write a book review, a quality which understandably takes me out of the running for the title of “Best Unbiased Book Reviewer.” But I have once again found it. Yes, the best book I have ever read. And I truly urge you all to give it a chance, as it is definitely unlike any literary world I have ever lived through.

“Daughter of Smoke and Bone” by Laini Taylor has shocked me to the core, especially since it is pretty far from the trashy romance novels I live and breathe. If you are familiar with my reviews, then you would know that I have not given a series this kind of praise since my very first review, “One Dark Window” by Rachel Gillig. But Laini Taylor has left Gillig’s kingdom of Blunder choking in the dust as it takes the lead for “Most Creative Fantasy Novel in Olivia’s Private Library.”

The sheer depth that Laini went to describe the gothic, marionette-themed streets of Prague, or the unpredictable tendencies of main character Karou and her magical beaded necklace used to grant wishes, had me not only shaking but quaking in my UGG slippers as an aspiring novelist. This book was one of those stories that almost scares writers back into their caves with the fear that anything they come up with will never compare to the artistry of “Daughter of Smoke and Bone.”

If Laini were a Montclair State University English major, she would have not only never missed a writing workshop class, but would have ignored every single critique on run-on and incomplete sentences. But it was, in a way, Laini’s own language that she had made up which in time began to make more and more sense with the flip of each page.

Karou, a talented (to say the least) art student in Prague, is the type of character that I wish I saw more in the book publishing field, as she was written in a way that I believe many women today would resonate with.

The women who get into their car after a long day of masquerading as what they believe society wants them to be and sit silently with their thoughts for a moment, wondering how long it would take for their friends to abandon them the moment they turned off their artificial bubbly, ditsy facade.

Women who come home and return to their world where they still feel as if they do not belong. Karou is for the women who sneak out of the function and pull out the cigarette they claim they would never smoke out of their current popular fast fashion school bag, desperate to fit in and fit the cookie cutter, yet still managing to stick out like a sore thumb.

Karou is the kind of girl who dyes her hair sapphire blue and tattoos herself with whatever she thinks is interesting or meaningful for the time. Karou is not afraid to be a teenage girl and embrace girlhood with teenage tendencies for boys and shopping, which is refreshing in the current climate of writers trying to write women as creatures who look down upon femininity.

She’s the epitome of a “girl’s girl,” sharing the sketches of her original human-animal hybrid characters with her classmates and her best friend Zuzana. Both of whom are regulars at their local cafe “Poison Kitchen” where they gossip and people watch in the same way we all do with our friends when the conversation goes stale, but that is where Karou’s connection with the human world ends, and her true calling drags her away.

Karou is an acquirer of sorts, called upon and raised by her spiritual guardian, Brimstone, a human-like creature with the head of a ram and the eyes of a crocodile. Sent through portals across the world and back, Karou obtains highly odd objects, such as elephant tusks from black market auctions in Paris and other irregular bobbles, in exchange for wishing beads she wears on a necklace.

Karou is split into two, always having to keep her human life at arm’s length, so that her family’s interdimensional business and cause remain behind closed doors. As an orphan with no prior knowledge of her past or her true origin, Karou feels trapped in both the human world where she wishes to be normal, and the mystical world where she feels indebted to her adopted family of half-human half-animal creatures she can’t fathom leaving out of the fear of being truly alone and misunderstood without them.

The story progresses into a whirlwind of paranormal romance, mystical warfare and gut-clenching cliffhangers I could not even begin to explain.

If this book review either confused you or intrigued you, then just wait till you are hooked on this wildcard of a book by page 10. My only downside with this is that if you do not have the sequel on hand, you will be itching like an addict with a bad habit until you can get your hands on it.

With that being said, the sequel, “Days of Blood and Starlight,” and the next, “Dreams of Gods and Monsters,” are available for purchase on Amazon or in your local Barnes and Noble. I hope at least one reader gives it a try, and as always, read at your own peril.

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