Mythological Mondays: DAUGHTER OF SMOKE & BONE by Laini Taylor

Mythological Mondays is a feature I created to spotlight books brimming with--you guessed it--mythology! I adore this sub-genre and can't wait to share my love with all of my fellow bookworms! This feature isn't just focused on novel reviews; it may also include interviews, looks at original mythological tales, etc. Please feel free to do this with me! If you guys ever do a mythological feature and want to join this and snag my lovely mermaid, I would LOVE to see the feature. I’ve even included a Linkbox for you. It doesn’t have to be Greek mythology, or even mythology per say. It can be mermaids, unicorns, or heck, even fairy tales (because I’m too lazy to do a separate fairy tale feature…). It doesn’t even have to be every Monday. I’m sure there will be Mondays when I skip, too. ^_^ may agree to disagree with me over my decision to include DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE as a Mythological Mondays post. And that's okay. I went back and forth myself. But Laini Taylor has expertly woven her own mythology together. Heck, the first lines of the book are almost like a fairy tale:

Once upon a time,
an angel and a devil fell in love.

It did not end well.

The clincher in deciding to choose to post this today came after reading chapters 55 and 56, which are both creation stories. One involves the sun and two moons, while the other revolves around a trickster. Both deal with the creation of chimera and seraph. These two tales breath whispers of mythological roots from their every pore. And so... Here we are!

Author: Laini Taylor
Release Date: Out now (Sept. 27, 2011)
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
Received: Borrowed


Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages--not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.

When one of the strangers--beautiful, haunted Akiva--fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

Everyone has been buzzing about DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE. It's making all the top books of the year lists. It's on the New York Times list. It's the only book on the Amazon Top 20 that's YA. Reviewers are in love with it. It's selling like crazy. Of course I had to read this book! I knew it was about angels, and with the exception of UNEARTHLY, which I loved like mad, I've been give or take with angel books. Some are good, others...not so much. So when I had a choice between this and two other books a few months ago, well, I'll be honest: I picked up THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS by Rae Carson instead. And I don't regret that because I loved that, too. But because of that choice, I've had to wait on a hold list at my library. Now, it's finally my turn with this novel!

DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE is of mystery and intrigue. I don't want to give too many secrets away that will destroy the reading of this book. A loose summary is the fact that the main character, Karou, is an artist with crazy blue hair--Hair that is somehow natural. She works for a mysterious being named Brimstone who collects teeth pulled from victims in horrifying ways and doles out wishes. When mysterious handprints start appearing on doorways around the world and Karou meets a mysterious stranger named Akiva who tries to kill her, life as she knows it changes--and not just because her world literally goes up in flames.

Laini Taylor is an incredibly talented writer. It doesn't surprise me in the least that she has been previously nominated for a National Book Award. Her writing is beautiful and rich, lyrical and shimmering. I had to return my copy earlier tonight so I can't pull exact quotes, but Goodreads has several beautiful ones posted HERE. Taylor is one of THOSE writers. You know the kind: Writers with writing so nuanced and perfect that you feel inadequate, like your own work will never be so eloquent. I think this is why so many people have fallen in love with DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE. The novel also takes place in Prague (located in the Czech Republic), which is an unusual setting, especially for an author from the United States. She creates a fleshed-out world that's easy to imagine and slip into, as well as paints characters in such detail that they immediately come to the mind's eye. I wasn't, however, completely pulled in by the story itself, and found myself able to put the book down at night before bed. That said, now that the world-building is complete, I might become more immersed in the rest of the series. There are definitely adult themes in the novel that would make me uneasy recommending it to anyone younger than fifteen or sixteen, but Taylor writes in ways that are never too graphically visual. The biggest draw, again, is the fluidity with which she is able to write and tell a story. I could just read her words for days on end and find each one more beautiful than the last.


This cover is glitzy and intriguing. It makes you want to know more! I like the graffiti style of the title and author fonts. I love the beautiful blue of the girl's mask. I like the way this cover image is taken from a scene in the book and not pulled out of thin air. It's cool to see that the mask is the only color in the entire cover and makes it much more striking to look at.

Attention has also been paid to the book's interior. There's a beautiful design at the start of each segment:
(Um...ignore the REALLY bad quality. I apparently moved when I took the picture and thought it was steady. I don't have the book anymore to try again!)

And the beginning of each chapter looks like:

Lovely, no?

Did you do a Mythological Mondays post?


  1. I've been wanting to read this book for awhile! Great post!

  2. I still haven't read this one! I have no idea what is taking me so long to get my hot little hands on this book. I hear it's amazing.

  3. I don't buy books often, but this one I had to purchase for my collection. I haven't read it yet, sometimes, once I get a book I feel like the pressure is off to read it right away.

  4. Agreed. I want to marry this book. Laini Taylor is a goddess among us <333

  5. Ok so seriously, this book sounds amazing! Like, a lot amazing! :)

    I've seen almost nothing but awesome reviews for this one (although the one more negative review is from someone who has pretty much my EXACT Contemporary reading taste so...) but I've been really looking forward to this one!

    I'll have to get a move on and get it read soon! :)

  6. I've heard so much about this book, I likely won't purchase it but maybe Santa will have it miraculously waiting on my iPad come Christmas morning or under the tree. :-)

  7. Oh you've made me yearn for this book! I've been on the fence because of all the hype, but I think you are making me cave :)

  8. I just finished Daughter of Smoke and Bone today, and TOTALLY agree with you where you said, "Taylor is one of THOSE writers. You know the kind: Writers with writing so nuanced and perfect that you feel inadequate, like your own work will never be so eloquent."

    I feel like I could work a lifetime and never write with her beauty or grace. She's gifted!
    Lauren @ Hughes Reviews


Post a Comment

Thanks for taking the time to stop and comment! I appreciate it more than I can say. I try to respond to each one!