Daughter of Smoke & Bone

Daughter of Smoke & Bone

Book - 2011
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Seventeen-year-old Karou, a lovely, enigmatic art student in a Prague boarding school, carries a sketchbook of hideous, frightening monsters--the chimaerae who form the only family she has ever known.
Publisher: New York : Little, Brown, 2011
Characteristics: 418 p. ; 24 cm
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780316134026
Call Number: TEEN FICTION TAYLOR

Opinion

From Library Staff

Seventeen-year-old Karou, a lovely, enigmatic art student in a Prague boarding school, carries a sketchbook of hideous, frightening monsters--the chimaerae who form the only family she has ever known.

Meet Karou. She speaks many languages - not all of them human - and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out. When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the re... Read More »

An art student in Prague who was raised by demons, 17-year-old Karou has many questions about her past. The appearance of a gorgeous male angel to whom she feels connected adds to her confusion and propels her on a quest to find answers about her heritage, rescue her demon family, and understand ... Read More »

Karou is just your average art student in Prague, except for the fact that she has blue hair, speaks dozens of languages, and frequently travels the world on errands for her mysterious chimera caretaker. Even Karou doesn’t know what she is or where she’s from, and she’s desperate to learn the tru... Read More »


From the critics


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t
terryginz
Apr 17, 2019

This started out very strong and I was hooked from the very first page. I knew this was going to be a 5 star read and I burned through it. I was curious, excited and extremely happy that even though I am very late to the party, I am glad that I picked up this book. But soon all that excitement started going out the window and my curiosity started to turn to extreme eye rolling and my happiness turned towards anger.

Karou was this kick ass female lead who need no man. She has this secret foster family where she feels at ease even though she does run dangerous errands for them. She's flawed and she admits it but she isn't sorry for that and I loved it.

In the first half, we are introduced with her family and how she was raised by them and she runs these errands for them. This mysterious person appears and burns all the access points from our mortal world to Karou's family and she is determine to find access to them and find out what's become of them. I absolutely loved this. The world building was amazing. I couldn't wait to turn the pages.

But then halfway through the book she instantly becomes attracted to this angel and forgets all about her foster family. All she is thinking of the guy's eyes and how he is there to protect her and she's very happy about it even though she is perfectly capable of protecting herself and the guy did try to kill her in their first meeting. I just couldn't from that halfway through. I was constantly rolling my eyes and thinking really, seriously and things like that.

I don't know how I feel about Akiva, the Angel. Yes, he's an Angel and he has orange fire eyes and he's built very strongly but I just couldn't come to either like or dislike him. I have not been able to make up my mind about him. Let's see how he comes across in the next book.

Overall I did enjoy reading this book for the most part and I am still curious to find out more.
3 stars

Karou lives a seemingly normal life as an art student at a prestigious school in Prague. Secretly, she has been raised by chimaera, demons with monstrous and animalistic-features. Travelling through portals to collect teeth across the world for her “family,” Karou is mysteriously drawn to a stranger, Akiva. There seems to be some history between them, but to find out the truth behind their past, Karou must first examine her own. Who, and WHAT, is she? I couldn’t put it down. Loved it! Starting the sequel now… (submitted by EM)

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bookishmutant
Jul 11, 2018

Real rating: about 3.25 stars

The writing was probably my favorite aspect of this book. I could almost perfectly visualize Prague and all of the other mystical settings throughout. The world building and the mythology that came along with it were also very creative. The characters and creatures were very well designed, and, like the settings, I liked to visualize them in all of their quirkiness (Karou especially). That being said, many of the characters, though beautiful to envision, fell a little flat in some areas. Most of the Chimaera and Seraphim were rather bland in terms of personality, seeming to exist only as plot devices. I also thought that all of the scenes involving Madrigal dragged on WAY too long. There was a little too much skipping around, and most of it could have been shortened and summed up in a little bit less detail.
Overall, though, “Daughter of Smoke and Bone” was a pretty decent read. It didn’t quite live up to my expectations in some areas, but I liked the originality of it. I’m unsure of whether or not I’ll finish the trilogy.

g
GamerKat10
Jul 05, 2018

The book is a work of literature: A girl unknown of her past- If she even had one! -Goes working for her apparent father, collecting... Teeth?! What doesn't help the fact that her father...is..is... A Monster! A Chimera! How could a monster- A devil! -Possibly be a father to this unknown girl with blue hair growing unnaturally out of her scalp, with tattooed markings on her. Who is she? 𝑾𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝘪𝘴 𝘴𝘩𝘦? Later, she discovers a hidden love for a murder, A corrupted man, A war which she never wanted, and... The Truth.

However saying all this, the book was great in the beginning and dulling-out in the end. If you're a fan of long backstories, magic, and piecing together mysteries to form a puzzle with pieces still missing (It's a Trilogy) Then this book is for you. (I like a puzzle to complete, but long backstories- not so much.)

w
WoodneathRachel
Jun 21, 2018

First in a trilogy about a girl who lives in "our" world, but has ties to a very different reality - one where angels and chimera are commonplace. The characters are engaging and unique, and I loved the banter between Karou's best friend Zuzana and her hapless crush Mik. The world-building is very intricate and atmospheric - I loved this series.

r
RebelBelle13
Apr 15, 2018

I went into this one completely blind- I had never read any of Laini Taylor's works, and I didn't know what this novel was about. I was blown away. The story was so deep and rich and different than anything else I've read in a long time. Technically it's urban fantasy, but it's so complex and multi-leveled that you forget that it's actually set in the real world and in the current time period. Karou is selfish, but also caring, and brave, headstrong and loyal. She is a real person with many layers- not like so many other manic-pixie-dreamgirls you find in YA nowadays. She speaks many languages. She's got multiple tattoos. She has blue hair and runs errands for a Chimera. Taylor throws us right in the deep end in this novel, so quickly that I needed to slow down to absorb the world she was weaving. Her story is punctuated with reveal after reveal, and I was just along for the ride. I was so enthralled with the characters that even though I was on vacation, I was waiting for downtime in the evening to get back into it. Akiva is a boy angel with a tortured soul. Yes, it sounds cliche. But Taylor takes this trope and builds on it- she fleshes him out so well that we aren't sure whether we love him or hate him, even though he's the main love interest. Taylor made me feel like I wasn't sure which side should win the war that has been raging between the Seraph and the Chimera- they are both made out to be relatable. They both have their strengths and flaws, their right causes and wrong. No one side is 'the bad guy', which is normally how things go. There are sympathetic characters on both sides, and that makes it harder for us to choose who we want to triumph. Daughter of Smoke and Bone leaves us on a doozy of a cliffhanger- and I'm so glad that I have the next one in my hands, ready to go.

SPPL_Violet Mar 17, 2018

Stunning first novel in a fantastic series.

PimaLib_ChristineR Feb 23, 2018

So, I came to this book after reading Strange the Dreamer, and maybe I just shouldn't have. Taylor is at the top of her game in that book, and unfortunately, that means that Daughter of Smoke and Bone suffers in comparison. Taylor plays on some of the same ideas, a race of "angels," someone finding a hidden side to themselves, but it does't play out nearly as cleanly here.

Karou has grown up in a small shop with her family, creatures that trade teeth for wishes. Now in college in Prague, she is still called back to spend time with her family, and collect teeth for them. The door that lets her enter the shop of teeth can let her out wherever she needs to be, until she finds the shop empty one day and sneaks out the other door, the forbidden door. When she's found by Brimstone, her "father" he promptly ejects her onto the streets of Prague.

It's difficult to build a world when the only part of it we see is a single room. Taylor is most successful at portraying the "normal" side of Karou's life as an art student in Prague. She makes the city come alive, a mixture of fairy tale charm and punk aesthetic. The action is interesting, as Karou travels to try to find a way back into the world of her family, but all of it felt like it could have been compressed and been the first half of a really good novel.

m
manjari825
Jan 23, 2018

Everyone loved this but i personally did not. I felt bored and the world described wasn't interesting enough for me to remember and understand how this world worked. The reveal at the end was so dramatic it annoyed me. Plus, this whole book lead up to something that took a totally different tone the next book. This book describes her live in the real world and then it gets into the magic world for the second half and it was so predictable who Karou was going to be. I didn't particularly like her either and I was barely invested in her or the side characters. I didn't like her friend and it annoyed me that her friend believes everything. I also didn't care for the ex-boyfriend. His entirely personality revolved around being desperate.

a
Assassin_J_Reader
Sep 17, 2017

I would definitely recommend this to anyone out there craving for fantasy, action, and romance. The way this book twists and turns really captivated me and the intriguing way serephim and chimaera were portrayed really got me thinking. And yet, despite all these strange and magical things happening, this book managed to keep me rooted to "normalcy" and then slightly eased itself more into the magical realm of Angels and Demons.

Truly is a spell bounding book

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Age

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manjari825
Jan 23, 2018

manjari825 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

PimaLib_KimB Dec 16, 2015

PimaLib_KimB thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

o
OliviaF2020
Aug 16, 2014

OliviaF2020 thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over

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burgundy_dove_26
May 24, 2014

burgundy_dove_26 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 5 and 21

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DarcieC
Nov 14, 2013

DarcieC thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

v
violet_human_30
Aug 07, 2013

violet_human_30 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

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KKPGIRL
Jul 02, 2012

KKPGIRL thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

ZoeBoe Apr 15, 2012

ZoeBoe thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Quotes

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Marleny_Martini
Apr 04, 2019

"Was there any fate more bitter than to get what you long for most, when it's too late?"

m
Marleny_Martini
Apr 04, 2019

"Hope can be a powerful force. Maybe there's no actual magic in it, but when you know what you hope for most and hold it like a light within you, you can make things happen, almost like magic."

a
andreareads
Jul 19, 2012

Mik was sandy-haired and fair-skinned, with sideburns and a goatee and the kind of knife-blade eyes that hinted at ancestors invading across the plains from Central Asia. He was handsome and gifted, he blushed easily and hummed when he concentrated, and he was soft-spoken but interesting – a good combination. He actually listened, rather than pretending to listen while waiting a suitable interval before it was his turn to talk again . . .

a
andreareads
Jul 19, 2012

She kind of wanted to take off her boots, but that was something you didn’t do if there was any chance you might have to quickly flee or kick someone.

k
KKPGIRL
Jul 02, 2012

"Don't put anything unnecessary into yourself. No poisons or chemicals, no fumes or smoke or alcohol, no sharp objects, no inessential needles - drug or tattoo - and...no inessential penises, either."

"Inessential penises? Is there any such thing as an essential one?"

Summary

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ZoeBoe Apr 15, 2012

"Daughter of Smoke and Bone" is about this girl named Karou who lives in Prague. Karou is very mysterious and doesn't know where she came from, but knows that her only family, are half humans called Chimera. She soon finds out that there are other worlds beside her own, and that if she wants to keep her friends and family alive, she might have to go and explore unknown places.

I think that this book is for ages 13+. I am 12-13 but I read adult fiction daily... Just the concept of it, the inside story, would need an older mind to keep straight what's happening. Some of my friends read it, and they got lost, and didn't end up with the same conclusions. It's all just a matter of how experienced a reader you are.

“Once upon a time, a little girl was raised by monsters.”

For seventeen year old Karou life is spent juggling two worlds. In one she is the mysterious, blue-haired art student whose drawings of fantastical creatures and exotic tales delight her fellow classmates. In the other she’s errand girl for her adopted father, the chimera Brimstone, and as much in the dark about who she really is as any of her friends. Around the world sooty black handprints appear burned into doors; they symbolize the beginning of an otherworldly war. A chance meeting with the seraphim Akiva leads to a battle on the streets of Marrakesh and the beginning of the angel’s fascination with the blue-haired girl. After the angels destroy the portals between worlds Karou must find another way to reunite with her monstrous family. With a foot in both worlds Karou is caught in a war between angels and devils, between the only family she’s ever known and the beautiful winged man that haunts her. Whatever the result one thing is certain - Karou’s life will never be the same again.

“Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love. It did not end well.”
Grades 10-12, 418 pages

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