Friday, 8 January 2016

Return to Reviewing: Daugther of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

As this year marks the year I shall finish maternity leave and return to my librarian ways I thought it was a good a time as any to return to my book blogging ways. Although I have not been blogging I have been reading and have discovered some new authors and series that I have absolutely loved. I have not managed to read quite as many books as I usually do but having a baby will do that to you!

As before the blog will feature a variety of books and I will try my best not to pick just fantasy series. Having said that I am going to kick of this years blogging with a phenomenal fantasy series I devoured in the final few weeks before my little girl arrived.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Do you belong here or Elsewhere?

My eldest sister like me is a keen reader. As part of her book group this fantasy title was suggested and after storming through it she recommended it to me. As I was eagerly awaiting the arrival of little miss I decided to treat myself to the whole trilogy . I was worried I would struggle to read all three before her arrival but they are a truly spectacular series that hooked me from the first few chapters. 

Although I had heard of the series I had missed all the hype surrounding it so was not really aware of what the story was about.  The central character Karou has been precariously balancing two lives. One in which she is a semi-normal teenager with a flair for drawing whilst simultaneously living with a group of Chimera and collecting teeth for the intriguing Brimstone.  She has no idea what Brimstone uses the teeth for but she continues to collect teeth from a whole array of different places and animals.  Her discoveries throughout each book plunge her deeper into a world where teeth are more important than gold and she has a pivotal role in a war that has been raging between Angels and Chimera for centuries. 

Karou is an enigmatic and feisty lead character and Taylor’s writing style brings her to life brilliantly.  A book can pass or fail for me on the way a lead female is written – I really dislike sappy and somewhat pathetic female leads (Bella – Twilight for one).  Karou is far from this and if one dynamic female character is not enough Taylor creates several strong female characters throughout the series that demand a readers respect. Zuzana is by far my favourite and is used instrumentally by Taylor to provide a lighter side to the darker moments in the story. Zuzana, as Karou's best friend in the real world, allows Karou’s  worlds to mix. In many fantasy sagas two worlds are often mutually exclusive and it is difficult for the protagonist to have a foot in the real world still. Zuzana helps to keep Karou involved in both worlds which I loved.  The other central character is Akiva, the male lead and as is often the case he is insanely handsome. Fortunately there is depth to his character that thankfully means his otherworldly looks do not ruin him. Several moments in the books with Akiva brought me to tears.  

This series is also a fantastically written love story and is one that spans decades, species and worlds and is written fluidly and beautifully by Taylor.  Her writing jumps off the page keeping you reading and reading. Taylor manages to create emotion with her words without laying it on too thick. Yet even though this is a superbly written love story it is an incredible fantasy epic. The world she writes is hauntingly beautiful and she challenges the perception of war having to be good versus evil.

If you are toying with the idea of reading a fantasy book give this series a try. It is a complicated fantasy but Taylor’s writing style is so clever and she keeps the pace steady and manages not to overdo it, giving you time to really absorb and enjoy the story. Her writing style is almost melodic, never weighing you down and although you are in the midst of some dramatic scenes she still manages to interject humour just when you really need someone to cut the tension.

My only criticism is that I actually think this should have been a quartet. I feel parts of the story in the third instalment were rushed. In particular new characters were introduced with little background for them to then suddenly play a quintessential role.  For me this did a disservice to her well developed original characters. I think stretching the story over four books would have meant she did not need to suddenly introduce a character in order for them to be a plot catalyst. Really I am just greedy and wanted to read more from this world. 

On the whole I did love them. I laughed, cried and devoured this whole trilogy and would gladly read them again.


  1. I loooooved these books, but I totally agree about the third one! Glad you're back :)

  2. I thought they might be up your street! Thank you I'm looking forward to getting back into it 😀