Posts Tagged ‘Daughter of Smoke and Bone


“He read while he walked. He read while he ate. The other librarians suspected he somehow read while he slept, or perhaps didn’t sleep at all.” CBR9 Review 39.

UnknownI love Laini Taylor. I adored Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and I really liked Days of Blood and Starlight. (I admit, I was not 100% enthusiastic about Dreams of Gods and Monsters. But as a whole, the trilogy was top-notch.) So I was ready to love this.

And I did. Until the very last page.**

Super quick overview here:
Like the Smoke & Bone trilogy, Strange the Dreamer takes place in a fantasy world at an unknown time in history. Our hero, Lazlo Strange, is an orphan, who by chance, has his dream job working in the largest library in the land. There he spends every waking moment learning about the magical lost kingdom of Weep — a mythical land that disappeared years ago.

When out of nowhere, a band of soldiers from Weep arrives in his city, looking for the smartest scholars and scientists to come and help them save their magical kingdom, Lazlo can’t imagine not being allowed to join them. Fortunately, he impresses their leader with his knowledge of their history and language, and finds himself along for the journey as the leader’s personal secretary.

Meanwhile, we learn about a strange group of isolated teenagers who live somewhere near Weep, and all have magical powers of some sort. One can control the weather. One can control the growth of any plant she comes in contact with. And one can enter and manipulate the dreams of the citizens of Weep. And none of them ever know she’s there.

Until Lazlo Strange.

Really, I could go on and on for 100 more paragraphs, telling you all of my favorite parts. But as alwaysanswerb said earlier this year in her most excellent review, “Just read it.”

Seriously, if you’ve ever read and liked anything at all by Laini Taylor, you need to read this.

And if you’ve never read anything by Laini Taylor, what the hell?

Its beautifully written. The fantasy world is amazingly real. It is at times shocking and heartbreaking and funny and sad and it made me feel all the feels. A story of love and hope and magic and intolerance and hate. It had everything.

**Ugh. After over 500 pages, I was pretty angry when I got to the end of this one.

I should have known that this book would be the beginning of a series of books. Its really my own fault for not researching this fact. Because when I got to the last page, and saw this:


I was so invested in the story that I was really annoyed. It was like a slap in the face.


Scootsa1000’s #CBR4 Review 52: Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

Yay! Finally book #52, and I’m happy to report its a really good one.

But first, a bit of housekeeping. Now that I’ve hit my goal, I have to say I just don’t think I’m going to get around to reviewing the stack on the “to review” pile. These books include: Then Came You by Jennifer Weiner, World War Z by Max Brooks, Enders’ Game by Orson Scott Card, Julia’s Child by Sarah Pinneo, 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson, Wool Vol. 1 by Hugh Howey, Messy by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan, and The Truth About Forever/Keeping the Moon/Someone Like You/This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen. Some were great (World War Z, Wool). Some were completely entertaining (Messy, Julia’s Child). Some were formulaic and predictable (Then Came You, all books by Sarah Dessen). And some I just didn’t get (I’m looking at you, Ender’s Game). I’ll start reviewing again in January for CBR5, but until then will be helping Joemyjoe and Bunnybean meet their Cannonball quotas by posting some reviews for them.

Earlier this year, along with many of my fellow Cannonballers, I fell under the spell of Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I immediately pre-ordered the sequel on my Kindle, and was pleasantly surprised when it showed up last week.

Days of Blood and Starlight takes place pretty much immediately after the end of Smoke and Bone. After breaking her wishbone, Karou remembered her life as Madrigal, and her love story with Akiva. Now that she knows he is responsible for the deaths of Brimstone and the rest of her chimaera family, she will never forgive him or allow herself to love him again.

The brutal war between the chimaera and seraphim wages on. The chimaera are almost completely destroyed, but for a small group of rebels who are holding their own against the armies of angels attacking them night after night. For both sides, the only strategy is to kill as many of their enemies as possible — all of the potential peace and harmony once dreamed of by Madrigal and Akiva is now an impossibility.

While Karou and Akiva are still the main characters in the story, Taylor has introduced and/or expanded the roles of a lot of the others, and the narrative jumps from human to angel to chimeara smoothly. We spend time with Karou’s friends from Prague; Akiva’s bastard brother and sister; the seraphim emperor and his horrible brother; Thiago the wolf (who originally had Madrigal be-headed); jumping from past to present without a hitch.

The last book was a bit of a war-torn love story. In this book, I’d call it more of a love-torn war story (is love-torn a thing?). We spend a lot of time reading about the brutality of this ongoing war, and of the innocence lost by so many good souls. The love story is still lurking around in the background, but is by no means the main attraction here.

I’ll be honest, I had a tough time getting into the story. I expected to jump right in and be as swept up as I was last time. But it took me about 70 pages until I really got into its rhythm — and then, I couldn’t put it down. For once, I’m looking forward to the last book in a trilogy!




Scootsa1000’s #CBR4 Review #3: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

I read a few really great reviews of this book last year and kept meaning to pick it up, but there was something about the art on the front cover that made me say “meh”…and I kept putting it off.  A vague face in a blue Mardi Gras mask?  Whatever.  But then, around Christmas, I had some free time — with grandparents visiting and playing with the kids, I could actually sit down and read a few books — so, I finally gave it a shot.  And am so glad I did.

This is the story of Karou, a 17 year-old living in Prague and going to art school.  She has no traditional family, but instead was raised by a group of mysterious creatures called chimaera — creatures who are made up of various different animal or human parts (e.g., human body with lizard head, female head and torso with snake bottom, male torso and head with wolf legs, etc.).

Her foster father is Brimstone, who mysteriously collects human teeth and then uses them to grant wishes.  Brimstone and his team live in a mysterious world that is not quite our world, but accessible through portals (actual doors in various cities on Earth).  Karou acts as a messenger for Brimstone, traveling across the globe and collecting teeth for him, but never fully understanding why.

On a trip to Morocco, she notices that the portal door has a black handprint burned into it (and each door around the world receives a similar marking), and then she comes across a ferocious — and beautiful — angel named Akiva.

The story then becomes the tale of Akiva, the angel warrior, and the war between his people and the chimaera.  And it gives background on who Karou is and why/how she was raised in Brimstone’s mysterious world.

This was a terrific story, with lively characters and beautiful descriptions.  It made me want to go back to Prague for a second visit, as it brought the city to life in my memory. I was never annoyed by the potential romance between the characters (unlike say, any stories with sparkly vampires in it), and would happily read the next book in the series.


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