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