You’re probably going to roll your eyes when you hear the summary of Daughter of Smoke and Bone. In one sentence, the story can be summarized as, “A blue-haired girl named Karou meets a mysterious man and questions who she is.” It’s a very typical YA novel plot since the last couple of YA novels that I read followed a similar theme of girl meets boy, allowing her to see something new about herself or the world that she lives in. Quite original, really.
However, with Daughter of Smoke and Bone, readers come for the intrigue, and stay for the lyrical writing. When the book says, “from master storyteller… Laini Taylor comes a sweeping and gorgeously written modern fantasy about a forbidden love, an ancient and epic battle, and hope for a world remade.” The publishers aren’t exaggerating when they wrote “master storyteller”; Laini Taylor is amazing. She’s able to weave together an elaborate plot and make it seem effortless. The story plot of “forbidden love, an ancient and epic battle and hope for a world remade” is a combination of been-there-done-that stories. Twilight, anyone? Forbidden love right there. Ancient and epic battle? There’s tons of stories with that. Hope for a world remade? Tons of that too, stories with heroines that come charging into the battlefield with swords at the ready, fearless. However, in Daughter of Smoke and Bone, the heroine does have a power, in a sense, to change her world but that’s not why she’s so relatable. We’ve already had tons of “girl power” stories where the girl can do anything. The girl is fearless, and the message here is “girls can do anything”. Daughter of Smoke and Bone is different. The girl is real. Karou, the main character, has hopes, doubts, dreams, wishes, and nightmares. Sometimes she’s not so sure that she can do things and she knows that she’s not Superwoman. She’s not fearless, though Karou does have a lot of guts. That’s what makes her so enduring, so human. She makes mistakes and has doubts. Real doubts, not the kind where the protagonist assures herself against in the same chapter.
It’s funny, really that I’m blogging about this book now. I had gotten the ARC for the book in late summer of last year (has it really been that long?) and I’ve read the book so many times. I adore the YA book, yet I never got the chance to blog about it. Well, here it is.
The story starts off with a blue-haired artist girl named Karou. She loves to fill her journals up with wonderful sketches and she has some connections with some not so human people. She disappears mysteriously to do “errands” for said not so human people, and Karou is very, very mysterious. So mysterious that she doesn’t know who she is. The question haunts her and on one of her journeys, she’s about to find out.
There are multiple layers to this book. It’s has an elaborate plot, with an equally copious amount of themes. Family. Love. The need for hope in a chaotic world. Loyalty, etc. These elements are all in this book, from the pen of another writer, the book would’ve turned out to be a horrendous mess of a book that’s trying too hard. As I said earlier, the book flows so seamlessly, and there are small details that the author has thought of and pieced together in the story. Even Karou’s blue hair has significance.
I said earlier in this post that people come for the intrigue and stay for the prose. It’s true. The story is woven together in a string of little whimsical words. Yes, people read for the story, but also for the words, to see where it leads them.
There’s a sequel to Daughter of Smoke and Bone that I’m excited to read, but for you dear reader, I think you should read Daughter of Smoke and Bone first.
I’ll leave you with little teaser of Daughter of Smoke and Bone:
“Oh, it’s not magic. The wishes don’t really come true.”Fun Fact:
“Then why do it?”
She shrugged. “Hope? Hope can be a powerful force. Maybe there’s no actual magic in it, but when you know what you hope for most and hold it like a light within you, you can make things happen, almost like magic.”
The cover of the ARC for Daughter of Smoke and Bone looked like this:
Personally, I like the new cover better. Not really sure what's going on with the layering of the bird, blue skinned girl and hair (?).