Title: Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Author: Laini Taylor

Grades 8-12

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: September 27, 2011

Plot 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.

Book Review

I had not heard much about this book…except the general hype about how awesome it was. However, I had heard that about two new books this year and they were both only 3-star reads for me. So I tend to shrug off extreme hype.

But the back cover blurb (quoted above) was so awesome with the handprints and the devil’s jar of teeth and Prague that I’ll admit, I wanted to love it.

Books Worth Reading:

I am so happy to be able to say I did.

I am not going to tell you anything about the plot. I didn’t know any about the plot going in and feel that is the best way to read this book.

9 Things I Can Say about Daughter of Smoke and Bone:

1) Writing: Beautiful. Anybody who thinks genre writing, and especially YA, cannot also be literary? Please read this book. I dare you.
2) Taylor’s imagination: Gaiman-esque. That is about the best thing I can think of to say about someone’s imagination.
3) Karou, the heroine: One of the most endearing, empathetic and kick-butt heroines I have come across in a long time.
4)  Zuzana, Karou’s best friend: Yay! A secondary character with a vivid personality of her own, plus a relationship of loyalty & trust that was so fun to read.
5)  World-building: Taken to a level of detail and richness (and originality) that will captivate you.
6)  Love story: Surprised me on every level. I was concerned about this element when it started up—I didn’t think it was necessary, there was so much awesome already. But I was wrong. It was necessary. I can’t really say more. You have to read it for yourself.
7)  Plotting: Complex and twisting and unpredictable.
8)  Details: This is a book where every word is chosen oh-so-carefully. There are no throwaways here. Pay attention…it will be so much more satisfying at the end if you do.
9) Order this for your library now. Teens are going to want to read it. Adults too. And, this is another one I expect to see awards for.

I only had two quibbles:
A)     The first half of the book is so very, very different from the second half. It was a little jarring for me at first. It was transitioned into very well, but I so loved loved loved the world of Prague and the art school and her ‘family,’ that when things changed, I was not ready to let go. I resisted. I wanted my first half back. I wanted the book I THOUGHT I was getting. I did not make peace with it until the end. But I DID make peace with it. 🙂

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B)      The last three words…To Be Continued… ‘nuff said.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone has all the ingredients for a pageturner…surprise, action, suspense, betrayal, love (lots of love), heartbreak (lots of heartbreak)…but best of all…hope.

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