Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Taylor, L. (2010). Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Great Brittan: Hodder & Stoughton. 

ISBN-13: 978-0316133999

Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Chimera, Angels, War, Supernatural

Reading level/ interest age: 16+

Plot summary:

Karou never thought of herself as strange. Why would having naturally blue hair and buying teeth for a chimera boss be odd? She has few friends as most become fed up with her wild “stories” of portals and wishes. Even partially alienated, Karou still loves her mostly carefree life of art classes, teeth auctions, and eating at the Poison Café. Running errands for her chimera family can be difficult but strangely rewarding. Little does Karou know, the universe is changing around her. 

Walking back from class one day, Karou is attacked by an angel. She barely survives the encounter and is laughed at by her ex-boyfriend upon hearing the story. Her chimera family find Karou’s tale less humorous but still choose to send her away on another mission. However, when Karou returns, she finds the portal home burned and unusable. Karou is forced to use all of her cunning and wits to find a way back to her chimera family while dodging the enemy angel.

Reader’s annotation:

Angels and chimera have been locked in battle for thousands of years. Can a lover’s long lost dream bring the two races back together?

Information about the author:

“Laini Taylor was born 1971 in Chico, California. She moved around a lot growing up (Hawaii, Italy, Belgium, Virginia, California) and can speak some French and Italian. She graduated from Fountain Valley High School in Orange County CA in 1989 and then from UC Berkeley with a degree in English in 1994.

“She has always wanted to be a writer and past jobs include working as a travel book editor (Lonely Planet), a bookseller, a waitress, and an illustrator/designer. She is married with a daughter” (FantacyBookReview.com, 2014).

Curriculum ties: N/A

Booktalking ideas:

1.       If you had as many wishes as Karou does, what would you spend them on?
2.       Would you be willing to pull out all of your teeth for the wish of a lifetime?

Critical evaluation:

Daughter of Smoke and Bone is hard to follow and difficult to read because of the numerous strange characters and differences between worlds. This can be very discouraging as the author seems to forget that the reader does not have any prior knowledge of the fantasy world she has created. Once about half way through the book, concepts begin sticking and the reader is transported into an amazing story reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet

Daughter of Smoke and Bone is the first book in the series and focuses quite a bit on Karou and Akiva’s romance. The author also spends a lot of time developing Karou’s friendships as the characters become more important in the later books. This is an interesting novel because the descriptions are more in depth than is traditional for the young adult genre. If not for the large amount of dialogue and the first-person-perspective, Daughter of Smoke and Bone could easily pass as adult fiction. 

Challenge issues: N/A

Why included:

Daughter of Smoke and Bone is an amazing fantasy story with many elements that should entertain readers. It is also part of a trilogy which could entice readers to pick up the other books in the series.


FantacyBookReview.com. (2014). Laini Taylor biography. Retrieved August 22, 2014 from

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