Vulpes Libris

A collective of bibliophiles talking about books. Book Fox (vulpes libris): small bibliovorous mammal of overactive imagination and uncommonly large bookshop expenses. Habitat: anywhere the rustle of pages can be heard.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke and BoneGet your diaries out!  Right, 29th September… I know it’s quite a bit away but flick through until you find it.  Take a Sharpie (or similar authoritative marker) and write “BUY Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor” in huge bold letters.  Cover the entire square.  Never mind if you have anything else to fit in on that day, those things are obviously secondary.  No-one actually *needs* to go to the doctors/dentist/get married… right?

So why am I forcing you to do such a thing?  Read on, dear people…

I first became aware of this book when I received through the post at work, a small black envelope. Inside the envelope was a feather.  Nothing else, just a feather.  Then I got another black envelope and inside was a fake moustache.  Nothing else but a moustache.  By now I was in fear that I was being targeted by Big Bird with a Poirot fetish.  Then came the envelope with the gold beads… I didn’t have time to freak out that Big Bird was turning to a life of crime (thus ruining all my fond memories of Sesame Street)… when I got a large package containing a proof copy of Daughter of Smoke and Bone.


But now I was intrigued.  A number of colleagues who were less freaked out than me had been telling me to get reading, so of course, I did as I was told.

The story is set in Prague and the main character is Karou.  She is an artist with tattooed palms and bright blue hair. (How much do I love her… blue hair people, blue-bloody-hair! WANT!)  So she goes to art school by day and by night she works in a strange little shop for a weird creature called Brimstone.  Her job – to travel the world via the ever moving door to collect teeth which Brimstone buys for wish stones.  Okay… breather… how much are you loving this so far?  Eh?

The writing in this book is exceptional.  The language is evocative and beautifully done. The scenes are gorgeously realised and I have moved Prague right to the top of my wish list of places to visit.  Karou is also not a girl to be trifled with.  Her ex-boyfriend cheated on her and she gets her revenge by using one of her small wishes to give him an embarrassing itch during a life drawing class. While he is naked.  On a podium.  In front of everyone.

Being a bit of a dystopian fiend at the moment, I found Daughter of Smoke and Bone rather refreshing.  It does feature Angels and also Chimera, which is new to me.  And usually anything Angelish coupled with romance makes me yawn.  However this is wholly new and a fantastic twist on the genre.  Be warned, this is a first book rather than a stand alone so there is a “To be Continued…” at the end.  But then it’s such a massive concept that I would have been disappointed if it had been confined to one book.

The main theme running through the book is wish vs hope and in my opinion, it’s about the futility of wishing for something against the power of hoping. I would be giving too much away if I described the scenes and the message given towards the end, but hope figures very strongly and in such an incredible way that it made me cry.  There’s certainly a lot of war and fighting but also true love that crosses all boundaries and the joy of thinking of the future, and changing that future. For the better.

I was swept away by Daughter of Smoke and Bone. It was compelling, addictive and utterly superb.  I expect nothing in your diaries on the 29th September, except to buy a copy of this book.

About Eve Harvey

Eve Harvey is a bookaholic. She is forever to be found with her nose in a book. If there are none around then newspapers, magazines, the back of cereal packets, road signs or the tiny washing labels found on the seams of jumpers will do. Eve used to have full time job as a children's bookseller and she was the very first Waterstone's Children's Expert Bookseller in Scotland. Her first love was definitely literature for children and teens, about which she has nerd-level knowledge. However she has since become involved in grown-up books and has co-written her first adult novel with Cath Murphy. Eve and Cath Podcast, blog and have far too much fun on their website Domestic Hell. Eve lives in a field just outside Edinburgh in Scotland with her daughter and son and two dogs and two rabbits. She also has some tanks of tropical fish and vows one day to start up a marine aquarium. And the day she signs her very first publishing deal she is going to celebrate by buying a pair of Horsefields tortoises. You can find Eve through her Agent, Ella Kahn at DKW Literary Agency. She's also on Twitter or on her website :

6 comments on “Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

  1. Lisa
    July 9, 2011

    Woweee, this sounds like a hugely imaginative book, Eve. It does sound like a massive concept – I don’t think I could ever come up with something like that. If I had a diary, I’d circle the date but since I don’t (and really, does anyone use the diary on their computer? Probably yes, but not me), you’ll have to come back here and remind us nearer the time. Lovely review.

  2. Hilary
    July 9, 2011

    I thought I’d stay in and wash my hair that day, but now I *must* change my mind! Great review – I agree that it sounds startlingly original and massively intriguing!

  3. ChrisCross53
    July 9, 2011

    Sounds fantastic… have pen, now where’s my diary…

  4. Jackie
    July 9, 2011

    What a funny, enthusiastic review of a book that sounds truly imaginative. I like how the heroine is an eccentric, strong female. And the philosophical exploration of wish vs. hope is a really intriguing idea. Hope this book does well.

  5. talei Loto
    July 18, 2011

    Oh, I can’t wait for this one. It really sounds fantastic. Congrats to Laini Taylor!

  6. Pingback: Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor « Waking Brain Cells

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This entry was posted on July 8, 2011 by in Entries by Eve, Fiction: young adult and tagged , , , , , .



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