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.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780316133999
Branch Call Number: FIC/TAYLOR
Characteristics: 418 p. ; 24 cm.
Alternative Title: Daughter of smoke and bone


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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.

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.

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

Sep 07, 2017

After reading Strange the Dreamer by the same writer, I had very high hopes for this series!
This story is unusual and wrapped me into it quickly. I enjoyed that the book's first chapter reminded me of a teen angst novel, but quickly turned into something much more intriguing.
I am in love with the lyrical way Taylor weaved her tale, but I have to agree with a few of the other reviewers about this book having one-dimensional main characters. Though I love the way that Karou is characterized (being mysterious and in the dark about her own past, leaving the readers in the dark the entire 3/4 of the book), I felt like, even after the big revelation toward the end of the book, Karou had not undergone any serious character change. The same goes for Akiva-- it is like he started the way he ended, with some changes through the middle. Karou is strong and independent throughout the book, with sudden emotional upheavals being dealt with more calmly than a reader would have expected, which was kind of disappointing.
I enjoyed that I had no idea what was going on at some points, but I did not feel completely lost; I just wanted to keep reading! I would recommend this book for the world it opens up, with lots of political issues arising, and the tug and war of love between two different warriors that is not so sappy you have to stop reading.

Beatricksy Aug 29, 2017

I was supposed to enjoy this. Everyone else enjoys it. But...no. The book is as beautiful as expected, with lovely and lyrical worlds. But the characters are flat, and disgustingly perfect, and the plot drags on for huge periods of time, even going so far as to make the end just one giant flashback. Secrets are intentionally hidden from the readers, but the payoff is too predictable, and the romance is dull because our protagonists are basically flawless. There's too little intrigue and too many cliches. Pretty prose does not make up for some serious issues. Had this book been half the length, it's possible it would have survived...but there's too much stuff for these cardboard protagonists to carry, and it quickly wilts.

Jul 27, 2017

this was a very very very unusual one but it was really good

Jul 18, 2017

An art student in Prague, blue-haired Karou delights her friends with images of curious, otherworldly creatures she draws in her sketchbooks. How would they react if they knew the beings were in fact real, and that they frequently send her on errands through magical doorways? While on one such assignment, Karou is viciously attacked by a winged human in a Moroccan market, extinguishing the possibility of ever returning to her "normal" life.

I was captivated from beginning to end by this rich fantasy tale, and I'm looking forward to the next in the series.

ELPLTeenLibrarian Jun 30, 2017

Lush writing. Vivid imagery. Incredible worldbuilding. Characters who are easy to adore. I'm crying a little just thinking about how great this trilogy is. Why are you still here. Go pick up this first book.

Feb 12, 2017

I am so late to the party on this one, but I'm really glad I finally got around to reading this. The worldbuilding is so complex and fascinating, and the non-linear way Taylor chose to tell the story makes this book SO MUCH more interesting than it would have been if she'd just relayed the events chronologically. Readers get to join Karou on her journey of self-discovery in a way that is really satisfying, and my main complaint for the first half of the book (that the romance felt totally overblown and like it came out of nowhere) was voided by the events of the latter half. This is really nothing more than a looooong introduction to a series, and I can't wait to read the two sequels.

AL_LESLEY Nov 16, 2016

Despite this whole book being a glorified introduction I did have trouble putting it down in the final 100 pages. I'll probably continue with the series.

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Add Age Suitability

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

Aug 16, 2014

OliviaF2020 thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over

Aug 08, 2014

erin89 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

May 24, 2014

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

Nov 14, 2013

DarcieC thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Aug 07, 2013

violet_human_30 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

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


Add a Quote

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 . . .

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.

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?"


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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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