Guest Book Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone series

Posted August 21, 2014 by Lyn Kaye in book review, Guest Post / 7 Comments

Guest Book Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone seriesDaughter of Smoke and Bone series by Laini Taylor
Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Published by Little Brown Books For Young Readers Genres: fantasy, young adult
Source: Purchased
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The perfect gift for readers who want to be swept away.
The Daughter of Smoke & Bone Trilogy Gift Set includes three hardcovers:Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Days of Blood & Starlight, and Dreams of Gods & Monsters.

From master storyteller and National Book Award finalist Laini Taylor comes a sweeping and gorgeously written modern fantasy series about a forbidden love, an ancient and epic battle, and hope for a world remade.

Hello everyone! Lyn here! So a few months back, I convinced my sister to read the Daughter of Smoke and Bones series.  I love that series, and she asked for a recommendation.  After she was finished with the trilogy, I thought it was interested to see her take on the book.  Most of the time, we’re steeped in the hobby that it is refreshing to take a look at a virgin reader’s opinion of a well-beloved series.  My sister, Trillion, is here today to discuss her thoughts about Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bones series.

 

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Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy: what can be said about it that hasn’t already been typed in italicized caps with a helping of emotional gifs on the side?  Not much, but I need an outlet for my mourning.  I’m having withdrawals.  I can’t believe I have to make it through my lunch hour without a dose of this barely-biblical war between Angels and Demons.  If I’m in pain, I’m going to try to get the last few stragglers to feel it with me.

In the first book we meet Karou and her sketchbook of Chimaera “family” members: amalgams of various animals and human features.  We also get a glimpse at Akiva, the angry Angel with a mission, and his sibling Angels.  Akiva’s of the quiet, mysterious brand with Special Eyes and (we’re told ad infinitum) otherworldly hotness.

This book doesn’t have much in the way of plot, comparatively; it’s mostly Taylor setting up the rules of her world and introducing much of the cast that we’re going to be following throughout the trilogy.  Think more Empire Records, less Die Hard.

So we’ve got our guy and our girl.  Oh boy, we all know where that’s going.  But putting aside their sudden yet inevitable attraction to each other, there’s a whole world of characters that are ten times more interesting.  Days of Blood and Starlight ramps up the action and the character count.  There’s a Tolkienesque unfolding of mythology threaded around an overdose of angst and eight times more action than book one.  Things happen, mysteries are answered as others are introduced.  If you liked Karou’s human sidekick Zuzana in book one, you’ll be happy with her large presence book two.

If you’ve made it through the first two books but are on the fence about picking up Dreams of Gods and Monsters, know that book 3 is absolutely crammed full of all of the goodness that kept you reading up till now.  There’s an abundance of what Karou and Akiva have got going on between them; there’s battles, bodies, blood, and betrayal.  It’s so worth the hundreds and hundreds of pages to see this trilogy through.  And the side characters you’ve been secretly rooting for will have their moments.

If you started reading into book three only to put it down because of tritagonist Eliza, please don’t give up.  I’m not a fan of authors forcing us into caring about an important character late in a series (looking at you and your disappointing ending to Dark is Rising, Susan Cooper).  But Eliza and her backstory won’t demand too much of you, and her presence fills gaps introduced way back in book one.

I have endless good things to say about this series, but abide me a moment to mention what didn’t work: the because-I-said-so romance between Karou and Akiva.  I never felt but, but I was shown lots of trembling and keening, fast heartbeats and “woe, but our star-crossed love transcends all” head speeches.  Individually the pair of them were worth loving; I’m just not sure that they recognized that in each other.  They were too busy staring at each other’s Special beautifulness.

Also: it’s 2014.  We’re still using the easy out of physical imperfection = wicked?  The uncle’s gross deformity felt cheap.  I suppose I can give it a pass considering that the “monsters” are as beautiful as the angels.

Finally: I love a build up, but the action and lore had to be so tightly crammed into the third book while the first two books had a tendency to drag a bit.  This trilogy grew too big to be housed in a three-book home.  We are introduced to the most fascinating concepts towards the end of book 3!  I’m all for open endings, but come on!

But none of that is unforgivable.  Taylor’s writing, world, and mythos are vibrant and compelling.  Pick up this trilogy if you enjoy Disney’s Gargoyles, character “sleep-overs”, Cirque Du Soleil (especially Varekai), The Neverending Story, or Cynthia Hand’s Unearthly series.

Final note: I am compelled to speak to the announcement that Universal has picked up the movie rights.  I am not a hater of books-turned-movie.  I believe the phenomenon actually encourages kids, young adults, and adults to read more.  But Universal: you’re going to need a team of resurrectionists if you go Percy Jackson or Eragon on this beloved series.

 

Daughter of Smoke and Bone

four-stars

Days of Blood and Starlight

four-stars

Dreams of Gods and Monsters

four-half-stars

 

7 responses to “Guest Book Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone series

  1. Celine

    I absolutely LOVE this series – it’s one of my all-time favourites. So seeing other people reading & loving it makes me really happy, haha. I myself recommend this series to basically anyone with a beating heart, so *high five* to Lyn for the recommendation 😛

    I’m glad you liked it, Trillion!

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