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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

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 otherwordly war. Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; 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 one of the strangers--beautiful, haunted Akiva--fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?…

Overall Book Review:

I could not put this book down! Laini Taylor is a master storyteller–her writing is gorgeous and her plotline unique. Her characters are complex and relatable. The worlds she has created are believable and easy to imagine. 

Daughter of Smoke and Bone is a tangled web of flashbacks, memories, and various points of view, but Taylor handles them all so well that the reader is never confused or lost.  This novel is an effortless read, due to skillful, well-paced writing.

Even after the climax, which came earlier than expected–about 100 pages from the end, I was enthralled enough to finish it up in one sitting. Daughter of Smoke and Bone starts the beginning of a new fantasy series with a bang, and readers will want to have the next volume on hand as soon as they finish this one. 

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  31 religious exclamations; 14 mild obscenities; 1 religious obscenity; 14 derogatory names; 2 scatological words; 6 anatomical terms.

Violence/Gore:  Reference to a historical brutal killing; reference to war violence; reference to the practice of spitting dead enemies on pikes; reference to a story in which someone is strangled by a snake; characters reminisce about the following: being shot (no details), seeing victims of human trafficking; in an extended scene (6 pgs), two characters fight–one receives serious wounds; a character is attacked and choked with no serious injury; a character is violently dragged and thrown out a door; two characters fight brutally with no serious injury; a character threatens another character at gunpoint; a character bleeds profusely from mortal wounds (twice); three characters fight with no serious injury; a character is executed by beheading; a character is heard screaming from torture; a character is beaten badly; a character is unharmed after being thrown through a plate glass door; a character commits suicide by throwing himself from the top of a building.

Sex/Nudity:  A character thinks about kissing someone; reference to losing virginity; nude models pose in front of an art class (twice); characters reminisce about the following: being undressed by a member of the opposite sex, kissing, lying together; a naked man is seen sleeping (twice); characters kiss and touch each other on the face and neck (3 times); characters kiss briefly (4 times); a character refers to being aroused; characters hold hands; characters think about kissing and caressing one another (3 times); a character expresses the desire to have sex; characters embrace romantically; characters kiss passionately; a character thinks about what it would be like to have sex with another character (twice–no details); an immodestly dressed character receives intense attention with some innuendo; a folk tale involving rape (vague reference, no detail) is related; characters (teenagers, but they are fantasy creatures who have lived hundreds of years) are known to have had sex (twice–no details).

Mature Subject Matter:

War, abandonment, criminal activity, suicide.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

Occasional social drinking (adults).

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

I’ve been an avid reader for as long as I can remember. My mother would often find me curled up in a corner, avoiding chores with a book–or two. When I was growing up, there wasn’t a large selection of YA books. I had children’s books and adult literature to choose from. I’ve come to love YA fiction as an adult and read almost nothing else when I read for pleasure–any genre will do.