Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Laini Taylor

11 March 2019
Daughter of Smoke and Bone Book Cover Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Laini Taylor
Hodder Paperbacks
June 26, 2012

Errand requiring immediate attention. Come. The note was on vellum, pierced by the talons of the almost-crow that delivered it. Karou read the message. 'He never says please', she sighed, but she gathered up her things. When Brimstone called, she always came. In general, Karou has managed to keep her two lives in balance. On the one hand, she's a seventeen-year-old art student in Prague; on the other, errand-girl to a monstrous creature who is the closest thing she has to family. Raised half in our world, half in 'Elsewhere', she has never understood Brimstone's dark work - buying teeth from hunters and murderers - nor how she came into his keeping. She is a secret even to herself, plagued by the sensation that she isn't whole. Now the doors to Elsewhere are closing, and Karou must choose between the safety of her human life and the dangers of a war-ravaged world that may hold the answers she has always sought.


Alongside our world, Laini Taylor has created a world (Elsewhere) where seraph (angels) and chimaera (hybrids of animal and human form) have fought a war for the last 1000 years. Generations know nothing else, where hatred between angels and chimaera consume their lives and any interaction between the races is the highest treason. Cultures have been formed where generations no longer understand why they are fighting just that they hate and fear the other side, with absolutely no tolerance. Each side is able to cite inflicted atrocities why forgiveness isn’t possible. Within this conflict, stems a love between a seraph and a chimaera. Can they convince others that there is another way? Is there hope for an end to the war and if so at what price? The ulterior motives of those in a political or financial position to bring about peace, when they have much to lose by that very peace, is very well depicted and weaved into the deception and power struggles that exist. Sorry I nearly forgot I was talking about Elsewhere there.

The 2 main characters Karou (human) who has grown up in a chimaera family and Akiva a seraph soldier bred to kill, are drawn together in some magical way. 

This is a wonderful epic fantasy story with its myths and legends, where the depth of detail is superb, where characters are introduced to create expanse and various perspectives in the story. Some of the characters, you will hate and others you will love – but will you change your mind as the story develops? The pictures that are weaved into the story are beautifully written. The story never loses pace while describing characters and the world around them. It is a kaleidoscopic tour of emotions as your experience love and hate, hope and despair, cruelty and kindness, trust and suspicion, and humour and sadness. 

At a deeper level, this is a story which portrays our own history where nations, races and religions find themselves slaves to the past, where forgiveness of crimes and oppression, is almost impossible. From the distance of fantasy you just can’t help seeing the futility of our history. Don’t let this affect your perspective as first and foremost it is a beautiful enjoyable read. 

I could keep heaping on superlatives for this book but you should really just read it – you won’t be disappointed if you like this genre and just want to escape into a rich new world of fantasy adventure. It is the first book in a trilogy so be prepared to read them all.

I highly recommend this book.

Peter Donnelly

Founder of The Reading Desk, supporting readers, authors, publishers and book industry. Top Reviewer on Amazon, Goodreads, and NetGalley

Find Reviews
High Quality Honest Reviews
Latest Tweets