Frankie Rose is the author of The Hope series. You can find more about Frankie Rose at her website.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Review by Frankie Rose
Errand requiring immediate attention. Come.
Karou is a seventeen-year-old art student living in Prague, but she’s not from around those parts. She’s from elsewhere. An enigma to most, including her best friend Zuzana, Karou only lets people know as much as she wants them to know. For instance, Zuzana has no idea why Karou can speak so many languages, or why her hair grows out of her head blue. And she certainly has no idea why Karou is so frequently called away on strange “errands” without warning.
Karou leads a double life. In one, she is a regular teenage student, running the gauntlet of her extra-charming yet skeevy ex-boyfriend’s salacious attempts to win back her favour. In her other life, Karou is a something different. It is difficult to quantify what that different is, because Karou doesn’t really know herself. All she knows is that when Brimstone- the chimera creature who raised her from a baby- calls, she has to go.
Brimstone’s work is in teeth. Any kind of teeth will do, but human teeth are best. Karou has no idea what Brimstone does with them all, but she is expected to obtain them for him whenever he asks. This strange existence of Karou’s is flipped on its head when she is out on one of Brimstone’s errands, collecting teeth, and she is attacked by an angel.
Theoretically he should kill her, but Akiva is drawn to a Karou in such a way that he can’t make himself harm her. The story follows Karou and Akiva as she battles to find her way back to her strange family, and to discover who and what she really is.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone was recommended to me, and I have to say I was a little hesitant to pick it up for a while. I’d never heard of it, and the concept sounded a little strange at first. When I did start reading it, however, it quickly turned into one of those instant obsessions, or it would have if I hadn’t read it in a day. I regret tearing through it so greedily now, because it’s one of those stories you should really savour.
Why do I think that?
Laini Taylor’s writing blew me away. She has such a magnetic, beautiful kind of prose that really pulls you in and soaks you in the atmosphere of the book. It truly is wonderful. Her descriptions of Prague are stunning, and even though I’ve spent quite a bit of time in there, I found myself desperate to go back.
The concept of the book- the one that threw me when I first read the blurb- was also astounding. The world of the Chimera and the angels is so utterly different to anything I’ve ever read before, and Laini Taylor went about creating their surroundings in such a way that you aren’t grossed out by the fact that Brimstone collects teeth, of all things, or that the Chimera are weird combinations of different animal parts all mixed together.
The whole idea of wishes as currency was ingenious, and I really enjoyed that the portrayal of the angels in Karou’s world was not you’re A-typical benevolent, caring creature. They are harsh and cold and calculating. And they are killers.
The only minor point I would say disappointed me with this book was that Karou and Akiva’s relationship didn’t really get chance to develop properly. I’m a sucker for a flourishing romance, and I didn’t feel that happened in Daughter of Smoke and Bone. There are a few reasons why Karou and Akiva kind of fell together so quickly, but it would be impossible to explain why without spoiling the story. Despite this, Taylor’s plot worked really well, and even though there wasn’t a grand build up to the romance between the main characters, you still find yourself invested in their relationship and rooting for them.
I’d definitely recommend Daughter of Smoke and Bone. It’s an incredible read, and you’ll be wishing November would come around already so you could catch Days of Blood and Starlight, Laini Taylor’s sequel.