Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Daughter of Smoke and Bone Series

Title: Daughter of Smoke and Bone | Days of Blood and Starlight | Dreams of Gods and Monsters

Author: Laini Taylor

Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks

Release Date: September 27th 2011 | November 6th 2012 | April 17th 2014

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.

– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com

“Once upon a time, a little girl was raised by monsters.
But angels burned the doorways to their world, and she was all alone.”
– Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Karou has lived her whole life between two worlds, one foot in each. During the day she’s an art student living in Prague, eccentric but content to spend her time either with her best friend Zuzana or drawing strange and fantastic creatures in her sketchbooks. However by night she strings small wishes onto her necklace and sits by Brimstone’s side as he resurrects those strange and fantastic creatures from the teeth Karou collects for him.

However when the war being waged between the angels and the Chimaera begins to spill over into Prague, when the angels destroy the portals between Earth and Eretz, Karou finds herself cut off from the only family she’s ever known. Her search for a way back to Brimstone leads Karou to Akiva, the angel responsible for burning the portals, and leads her to uncover the truth behind who she really is; a truth with throws her whole world into chaos.

“Let’s see. You know how, at the end of Romeo and Juliet, Juliet wakes up in the crypt and Romeo’s already dead? He thought she was dead so he killed himself right next to her?”
“Yeah. That was awesome.” A pause, followed by “Ow,” suggested elbow punctuation on the part of Mik.
Karou ignored it. “Well, imagine if she woke up and he was still alive, but…” She swallowed, waiting out a tremor in her voice. “But he had killed her whole family. And burned her city. And killed and enslaved her people.”
– Days of Blood and Starlight

The development of Karou and Akiva throughout the series, both as individual characters and as a couple, is a strong point for me. When it’s revealed who Karou is, who she once was to Akiva, she struggle with finding where she belongs. She sees herself and Madrigal as two separate people, and the Chimaera she should feel safe and at home with don’t trust her despite the fact that they need her. The actions Akiva made in the first book weigh on Karou heavily, after what he did to her people in the name of vengeance she can’t forgive him, trust him, or even love him.

When he lost Madrigal Akiva became consumed with his desire for vengeance. He forgot everything they promised one another, their dreams of peace between the angels and the Chimaera, and believed the only way to end the war was with death and blood. The development of Karou and Akiva mirrored each other in some ways, especially in the second book where it seemed that while Karou’s re-appearance brought Akiva hope it only brought the opposite to Karou herself.

“She had fallen in love with him twice. She loved him now with both loves, so overpowering it was almost unbearable.”
– Daughter of Smoke and Bone

The romance between Karou and Akiva is tragic to say the least. From the very beginning there were too many obstacles keeping them apart, and after all the death Akiva wrought in his grief and in light of Thiago’s gruesome plans for the angels it seems like there’s no hope for them. In Daughter of Smoke and Bone the romance between Karou and Akiva takes centre stage, and for some people parts may feel almost insta-love-like but I didn’t think that reading this series.

“We are the beginning…We always have been. This time, let it be more than a beginning.”
– Dreams of Gods and Monsters

In Days of Blood and Starlight and Dreams of Gods and Monsters the romance takes a step back as the overall story arc is expanded on. While interactions between Karou and Akiva are sparse you still feel for them and their tragic romance; neither is ever far from the others thoughts, despite both the physical and emotional distance growing between them.

Karou and Akiva aren’t at fault but they both bear the heavy weight of guilt on their shoulders and they each handle that guilt in very different ways. While Karou throws herself into following Thiago’s orders, doing whatever she can to prove her trustworthiness to the Chimaera left alive, Akiva tries to resurrect the dream he created with Madrigal once upon a time, of Chimaera and angels working together, of peace.

“You have only to begin, Lir. Mercy breeds mercy as slaughter breeds slaughter. We can’t expect the world to be better than we make it.”
– Days of Blood and Starlight

The Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy has some of the very best secondary characters. In all three books Zuzana was a firm favourite of mine; Karou’s best friend Zuze loves the magic and seems to be fearless to the danger. She offers Karou whatever help she can, more than Karou would ever expect, throughout all three books. Liraz is Akiva’s sister and one of the characters who has the best development as the series unfolds, changing from ruthless Chimaera killer to someone more vulnerable, losing a lot of her callousness in light of Akiva’s resurrected dream.

“I…I sang,” she whispered, “if that matters,” and Karou felt her heart pulled to pieces. This Misbegotten warrior, fiercest of them all, had crouched in an icy stream bed to sing a Chimaera soul into her canteen, because she hadn’t known what else to do.
– Dreams of Gods and Monsters

Ziri is a stand out favourite character of mine, especially in the latter half of the second book and the third. As the last member of Madrigal’s tribe there’s an instant bond between Karou and Ziri, but Ziri is too fearful of the White Wolf’s command to risk disobeying his orders and reaching out to Karou. Ziri ends up sacrifices a lot for Karou and while it weighs on him really heavily in Dreams of Gods and Monsters he becomes a real leader for the Chimaera.

“The streets of Prague were a fantasia scarcely touched by the twenty-first century—or the twentieth or nineteenth, for that matter. It was a city of alchemists and dreamers, its medieval cobbles once trod by golems, mystics, invading armies.”
– Daughter of Smoke and Bone

When it comes to this trilogy the world building is something I’ve spoken a lot about. The writing is incredible and I felt that shows in the development of the settings more than anywhere else. The trilogy takes us to Prague, Morocco, Rome and Eretz; each city eerie yet ethereal, full of hidden gems that make me want to hop on a plane so I can experience it for myself. In fact the main reason I travelled to Prague a few years back was because of Daughter of Smoke and Bone. It’s not just the cities on Earth, the descriptions of the war between the angels and Chimaera, as well as the histories and ethnicities of the two races, were incredibly detailed and well thought out.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone:

Five Stars

Days of Blood and Starlight:
Buddy read with Sophie at Sophie’s Corner.

Five Stars

Dreams of Gods and Monsters:

Five Stars

There are a lot of incredible fantasy releases out there, and I talk a lot about my many all-time favourite books, but it’s hard to find anything that comes close to the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy. Laini Taylor has created a story, a cast of characters  and a world that is truly unique, where there is beauty and magic to be found around every corner and where nothing is what it seems. This is a series that’s stayed with me for a long time, and re-reading it was just as incredible as picking up these books for the first time was.

What did you think of the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.

38 thoughts on “Daughter of Smoke and Bone

  1. Ahh it’s an absolutely fabulous series and you definitely did it justice! I reread the first one last year and it was definitely as good the second time round. The romance is amazing and tragic. I loved how the story expanded. And the world building is truly wonderful. I think we’re discussed this before, but I also went to Prague because of this series! 😀
    Amazing review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh thanks so much, and yeah this is definitely one of my all-time favourite series. It’s going to be one I re-read again and I’ll likely love it even more the next time around. I feel like the world building is part of the reason I love this series so much, definitely the reason I went to Prague (I wonder if there’s anyone who’s read this book who wasn’t inspired to visit the city?)
      Thanks so much. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I first read this way back when and I fell so hard for this series!! I absolutely loved the romance between Karou and Akiva and I can’t wait to Revisit them on a long overdue re read!
    There are so many aspects of this story that I’ve forgotten 😮😮 must make time for a re read, must make time for a re read
    Great review(s) 😊❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh same here, I think the second I finished the first book the first time I ever read it I knew it was going to be an all-time favourite series of mine (and it still is). I love Karou and Akiva and all the characters.
      God there was a lot about the story I’d forgotten, kind of strange how much actually.
      Thanks so much Lauren. 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hello Beth ❤ I am not surprised that you already finished reading the third book and wrote a series review! You are speedy 🙂
    Loved reading this review. What a great summary of the series without giving anything away! After reading this, I am even more motivated to continue the series, though I think I will have to take a break for now and read something light-hearted especially after this one and Obsidio haha 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha, yeah when it comes to books I love I can’t ever put them down, and I really do love this series! 😀
      Thanks so much Sophie, and yeah I tried to avoid all spoilers but it’s hard when writing series reviews rather than just single book reviews you know? Ohh that’s good to hear, but yeah after Obsidio I needed something a little lighter (I didn’t end up picking up something lighter but the feeling was there still!) 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes I know what you mean about reviewing books in a series. I’m wondering how I would review Obsidio (I’m done! yay!!) without saying too much haha :’) I remember when I was almost done Illuminae and thought that Ezra was dead, then I read the synopsis of Gemina on Goodreads which revealed that Ezra was still alive (that was a major but unintentional spoiler LOL!)
        It turned out I picked up The Book Thief after Obsidio (also a not-so-light book) lol :’)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yeah I’ve written my review for Obsidio and it was a hard book to sum up without giving too much away. I think I managed it in the end though. 🙂
        Ohh, yeah I’ve done something like that before as well, not with Illuminae but another book and it kind of sucked spoiling it a little for myself.
        Ha, definitely not light but an amazing book all the same! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I think for some reason, I have always confused those books with the Shadow and Bone Grishaverse stuff, which I don’t really feel like reading but … oh my, now that I have read what this is actually about and how much you loved the trilogy as a whole, I really want to give it a shot. I HAD NO IDEA! How could I have been so blind!?!?!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well I do really like the Grishaverse trilogy but honestly it can’t come close to Daughter of Smoke and Bone. It’s an amazing trilogy Kat, one of my all-time favourites and one I’d highly recommend so yes please give it a shot. 😀 I’ll keep my fingers crossed you end up loving it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh this is such a lovely review for the series, Beth, and you certainly make me want to give this series another try. I enjoyed the first book and the world-building was fantastic, but somehow I didn’t quite connect with it overall – you are making such great points about the rest of the series though, especially how the romance doesn’t take center stage in the second book… I’ll maybe give this another try someday 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh thanks so much Marie. 🙂 ❤ In that case I certainly hope you do give the series another try (and it enjoy it more the second time around too). The world building was the main thing that captured my attention the first time I read the trilogy, it's also what stayed with me the longest.
      Yeah if you weren't keen on the romance in the first book I'd still recommend the second because Days of Blood and Starlight does push the romance to the back a little. I'm sure you'll enjoy that one a little more. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Amazinggg review, you captured my thoughts perfectly!! I also ADORED Zuzana, she’s such a fierce little thing (and YES Liraz was such a badass). Taylor’s writing is so so pretty and lyrical, and from what I’ve heard about Strange the Dreamer, she’s progressed so much as an author!

    I’d love to visit Prague one day. For some reason, all the places I want to visit are inspired by books too xD

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Hannah. 🙂 Zuze and Liraz were amazing, Laini Taylor definitely knows how to write kickass and epic secondary characters, and yes Strange the Dreamer is a lot more lyrical so her writing has definitely progressed (I don’t think anything can beat the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy for me though).
      In that case I hope you make it to Prague one day, I’m sure you’ll love it there. 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh it’s a shame you didn’t like them then, but yeah the overall opinion for this trilogy does seem to be a positive one (personally it’s a favourite trilogy of mine).
      These are the UK paperback covers, they’re the ones I own and I brought these books as they were released. I definitely prefer them to the US ones. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh God, I really couldn’t have said it better, Beth… This trilogy has stuck with me waaay after I read it and even though I was disappointed in it at times, it really feels like a child to me: I love it and cherish it despite all its faults, and embrace them all.
    I was head over heels with Akiva, and with Akiva and Karou. I didn’t care much for Madrigal or their romance before and felt it was incredibly instalovey. I just didn’t see why they loved each other. Saving someone’s life is not enough of a reason for me, I’m sorry! And also, it took one glance for them to become soulmates. I mean, it’s a bit hard for me to grasp it. But then again, after the resurrection and when Karou and Akiva laid eyes on each other again and felt that pull I couldn’t help but adore it? I don’t know how to explain it but it just made sense to me with Karou. Not so much with Madrigal. I also had the hardest time wrapping my mind around the fact that she was basically two people in one.
    It’s interesting because Ziri, Zuze and Liraz were my favourite secondary characters as well! Although I did love Brimstone and the chimaera working with him a lot too. I adored little Kishmish and was devastated by what happened!
    Anyway, I’m so happy to be revisiting this trilogy through your amazing review, Beth ❤ If I could go back to that world and to those characters, it'd be a dream come true. But oh well. At least Laini keeps on writing!
    Lovely, lovely post ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t actually remember being disappointed at any point with this trilogy the first time I read it, and actually even the second time I was in love with all three books. Yeah it’s definitely one that stays with you,there’s a reason it’s my all-time favourite after all.
      I get what you mean, I was never a massive fan of Madrigal and Akiva, but I think for me that was just because we didn’t get to see much of Madrigal. We got a few of her memories and her interactions with Akiva through Karou but this series was all about Karou so it was kind of understandable in that way you know? I get what you mean, in a way it’s kind of like knowing him as Madrigal gave Karou that pull when she first saw him.
      Of course I loved Brimstone as well, but yeah Ziri, Zuze and Liraz were the best secondary characters in my opinion. I think Laini Taylor just develops all her characters, even the minor ones, so incredibly well.
      Oh that’s great to hear Sophie, do you think you’ll revisit the trilogy through the trilogy one day as well? Ha, yeah still plenty more books to come from Laini I’m sure.
      Thanks so much! 🙂 ❤


      1. I understand what you mean but for me, it really messed up my emotions xD
        I’m not so sure it was because we didn’t get to see too much of her… The few bits we did get access to just didn’t win me over, you know? It always felt so bland and kind of interrupted the flow of the story for me, as I really just wanted to get back to the present and Karou’s struggle. In short, I sort of disliked Madrigal’s character and didn’t care for her? I know it sounds weird because she is technically Karou but I guess it’s the whole nature vs nurture thing. She was her but wasn’t really her. I could definitely see pieces of her in Karou but as a whole they were just too very different people. And I preferred Karou a lot more.
        I agree, though, Laini Taylor is a master at everything she does! Be it world building or character development. She’s just amazing ❤
        I rarely do re-reads because I just have so little free time already I need to use it on new books hahaha But I definitely will revisit the trilogy some day 🙂 It's just one of those unique things that I wouldn't be able to say no to, you know?
        No problem! ^^

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I get what you mean. I didn’t dislike Madrigal’s character it anything like that but I certainly preferred reading Karou’s story and seeing everything okay out in the present. Yeah I get that too, even though they’re the same character overall they were both raised very differently and I guess Karou was more of a main character I could connect with than Madrigal was in the end.
        I love her writing but her world building is what stands out the most for me. It can’t be beat! 🙂
        Before this year I didn’t do as many re-reads as I would have liked, but this year I’ve kind of made the time and it’s been good going back to some of my old favourite series you know? 🙂


  8. Strange the Dreamer was the first book by LT that I had read and I loved it so much that I was hesitant to read this series. Also the US paperback covers are hideous 😬 anyway I was pining for Lazlo so I decided to give them a shot. It is now one of my favorite series of all time and I am constantly recommending it to others. I listened to part of it on audio and Kristine Hvam does an amazing job of bringing the characters to life with different accents and she absolutely nails the tone and humor. Great review ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh that’s brilliant to hear. I know there was a lot of love for Strange the Dreamer (and Lazlo) going around when it was released so it’s great that it’s potentially introduced a load of people to this series as well. This is definitely my all-time favourite of Laini Taylor’s work so far.
      Yeah I definitely prefer the UK covers, they’re the ones I own. I haven’t ever tried listening to an audiobook, but I keep meaning to. Glad this one was well done, and thanks so much! 🙂 ❤


  9. This is a great review! I had some trouble getting into Daughter of Smoke and Bone when I read it last month, mainly because I wasn’t totally on board with the romance, but I still want to read the rest of the series. Glad to hear such a high opinion on it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much. 🙂 Oh that’s a shame, yeah I know some people were a bit so-so about the romance (I think because it felt insta-love). It wasn’t as much of a focus in the second or third book so hopefully you’ll enjoy those better. It’s great you still want to pick them up. 😀


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