I finally did it. I read and loved a Laini Taylor book! I honestly never thought that I would love any of her works, not because of the plots or characters, but because I’m not the biggest fan of flowery writing and everything I’ve seen everywhere made me a little afraid to pick anything up.
This is one of those books that makes me want to write a really detailed and stirring review, but I don’t really think that that’s in me to write that kind of a review. So to save myself the embarrassment of attempting to be deep and thoughtful and coming across as…not, I’ll just talk about everything that I loved about this book!
“Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love. It did not end well.”
I read that sentence and immediately had this feeling that this would be the book to break my month long reading slump, and when I took to twitter to post this particular sentence, so many people responded that they love both this series and Laini Taylor in general. And let me just say that every single one of you were right. This book is amazing and I am so excited to get to more of Laini Taylor’s works! (Looking at you, Strange the Dreamer) But I’m getting ahead of myself. I’m here to talk about Daughter of Smoke and Bone!
The characters in this book were all so interesting! I think my favorite is probably Zuzana because she is so small and has such a big personality! She’s honestly the kind of friend I would want: she’s always there for Karou and is so much fun and always has little jokes to lighten the mood. Karou herself is an extremely interesting character, mainly because hse is so mysterious and doesn’t really know who (or what) she is. Then we have Akiva, who I honestly thought I would hate but I ended up really loving his character and his development, without giving too much of the plot away. Akiva reminds me a lot of Rhysand, but maybe that’s because their tough exteriors give way to reveal a romantic, emotional, and lovable inside. Plus, they both have wings and that’s pretty much a bonus point for them both. IRL boys have nothing on them!
Out of all the characters and races that we see in this book, the chimera are probably my absolute favorites! I love all the different varieties they have and how they are considered the “devils” in this world. We meet four in this book who are all Karou’s “family”, as they raised her since birth. Brimstone, who is Karou’s father figure, collects teeth for an unknown reason and sends Karou on those retrival errands. Because these are more magical/mythical creatures, Karou keeps that part of her life a secret from everyone she knows, including Zuzana. Of course, both parts of Karou’s life come together in an altogether epic way.
I do want to mention that this book has quite a lot of romance, but for me, it was just enough to make it interesting. It’s like a mix of hate to love and insta-love, but when you get to the end and the “twist”, the whole weird insta-lovey thing makes a lot more sense than it does in the beginning.
And then we have the setting. Prague is so beautiful and magical and it makes me feel like I’m there, even though I’ve never been there myself. The worldbuilding is amazing! Since I’m (currently) in the middle of the second book, I do want to mention that not only does the fantastic worldbuilding continue, but the world is expanded and explained! The magic system in this book is also very interesting, although it wasn’t really explained in detail, but again, book two goes into a lot more detail on the magic system as well.
I already mentioned the writing at the beginning of this review, but I want to say it again: the writing was fantastic! Normally I’m a fan of plain language that is easy to follow and is there, but not intrusive, if that makes any sense. I like my books to feel like I don’t have to work at them to understand them, which is usually why I stay away from more flowery, lyrical writing. Because of that, I thought that anything Laini wrote wouldn’t really be for me (even though I own this entire series and Strange the Dreamer, go figure). If you are also like that, I HIGHLY recommend giving this series a shot, because it was still easy to get into and didn’t require much effort!
As far as negatives, right now I don’t really have any, at least with the first book. I’m sure once it really sinks in I’ll be able to think of something that I didn’t really like, but it’s still a fantastic book and thankfully broke my reading slump! So if you like romances with mysterious blue haired girls, demons and angels with a beautiful setting, I think you would like this book. Like, a lot.
Have you read Daughter of Smoke and Bone? Please please please tell me what you thought! I would love to discuss it in the comments!