Will anyone tell her what’s going on?
Publisher: Hodder (Hachette)
First Published: 27th September 2011
Date Reviewed: 5th June 2014
Karou lives with chimeras, but she’s human and knows that there’s a story to be told, if only her friends would tell it to her. They won’t. Instead Karou has to keep running errands all over the world, using portals to collect teeth from various countries for yet another story she’s not allowed to know. She does get to make wishes, a small benefit when you consider she only gets the slight ones like making people itch. She’d much rather know how to fly. She’s at university now and pretty frustrated with her lack of knowledge. Surely it’s time she learned the truth?
Daughter Of Smoke And Bone is a low-fantasy tale, the start of a trilogy, that is often engrossing and promises much for the series as a whole.
Taylor makes sure her world is amply populated with interesting characters. She explores the world – our world – a fair amount. Karou visits many places in her time, using doors to move from her newest residence in Prague (she moves a lot and asks for languages for her birthday) and illustrating just how routine such a ‘dream’ of fast travel can be. The routine, coupled with Karou’s otherwise usual life does a good job of both stunning you and keeping you down to earth. Travelling is downright boring for Karou at times, and you come to emphasise with her from the start due to her approach. All this to say that Taylor is very good at making the awesome average, and rather than being a drawback it’s an interesting and absorbing concept. It makes Karou feel real, which is always a good thing.
This is a book to set up a trilogy but it’s complete in itself aside from the open threads at the end. Given it’s a trilogy, you might be surprised by how much happens. And it’s just fun. Daughter Of Smoke And Bone is exciting to read, it lets you escape into another world, it drenches you in culture even if only for moments at a time, it has wars and wings and… well, Karou doesn’t know yet, so it’d be unfair to tell you first.
Many people have written favourably of the twist – it’s a fair twist. How much you like it, however, will depend on the amount of YA and which types of YA you’ve consumed over the past few years. The twist is similar to those of other books so it’s likely you’ll predict it early on. This said, the evidence so far (as in this far into the series) indicates that Taylor is going to treat the trope differently.
This difference, the maturity and overall respect of reader’s intelligence, is the overall takeaway that will end this review. Beyond the general appreciation you’ll have of Daughter Of Smoke And Bone, you’ll appreciate the handling of the themes. Taylor has taken a genre and a handful of tropes that many people like, that half of those people have felt lacking in execution elsewhere. She’s taken them and she’s written something that matches what they were wanting. Daughter Of Smoke And Bone is quite possibly the YA fantasy romance that you’ve been looking for. If you’re jaded, give the tropes one more chance, here.
Before this review repeats its repetitiveness let’s leave it there. This is a good book. You’ll like it.
June 6, 2014, 3:03 am
I listened to this and the second in the series on audio and absolutely loved it! The narrator is incredible and truly adds to the overall experience, and this reminds me that the final installment in the series is out!
June 6, 2014, 12:20 pm
(Sighs) I promised myself not to start any more books that formed a series and yet this sounds too good to miss. Oh, and I love the cover.
June 6, 2014, 12:24 pm
Love the last line (“this is a good book. you’ll like it.”) Will look for it!
June 7, 2014, 12:44 am
This was a good book and I DID like it. Have you started reading the sequels yet? The author got a smidge enamored of some of her writing as the books proceeded, but the plots kept on being awesome.
June 7, 2014, 9:15 am
I’ve not read this but I’ve been interested for a while. Now having read your thoughts Charlie I’m pretty sure I’d like this.