Daughter of Smoke and Bone // More Like of Insta-Love and Bore

Author: Laini Taylor
Genre: Fantasy | YA
Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1
Goodreads rating: 4.04
My rating: ⭐⭐







Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

Daughter of Smoke and Bone had been on my tbr for years, and I’m not even sure why. I think because it’s a fantasy and it was really popular at the time, but I didn’t even know what it was about when I went in. I’m really grateful that iBooks offered it for free (for a limited time I think? I don’t know if it’s still up for free) because I’m saving money and I would’ve been bummed if I had wasted money on this. That sounds really harsh, I know, but this is the third book in a row that I read (while I’m writing this) that disappointed me (thankfully one of the other two was free as well) so I’m just glad it only wasted my time and not my money as well.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone started out strong and interesting. As someone who loves art, I always have a soft spot for characters who do as well, and are artists on top of that. So Karou being an artist and going to art school? Yes please. Having a great, supportive, fun friend in Zuzanna? Hell yeah. Then it turns out that the sketches in her sketch book aren’t just figments of her imagination, but real. Karou being raised by a family of ‘monsters’ was really interesting, especially when she goes around the world on errands for the father figure in her life, Brimstone. I also liked the worldbuilding: it was cool to see a fantasy story set in Prague, and the descriptions were vivid and it was easy to picture it all. 

We don’t know much about Karou’s past (nor does she) or the monsters that raised her, which really intrigued me. But then Akiva, an angel and Karou’s love interest, showed up and it already gave me a bad feeling. His POV wasn’t that interesting (throughout the entire book whenever it was his POV I just internally sighed ‘not him again’) and it gave me the feeling the book would soon focus on romance. A lot. 

And it did. Karou and Akiva’s first meeting doesn’t go so well. They’re enemies, so Akiva tries to kill her. Except he doesn’t. Why? I dunno, ’cause neither does he. Some kind of connection?? A ‘pull’?? It’s very vague. I love the enemies to lover trope, but I would’ve prefered if Karou and Akiva got to see each other’s side of the conflict that seperates them, understand that it’s not black and white, start to trust each other, bond, become friends and then fall in love. But deciding not to kill someone because of some kind of ‘pull’?? And then stalking her, watching her sleep? Might I direct you to Twilight, sir, I think you’d feel quite at home there.

Karou too immediately falls in love with him and I just

And why? I don’t know!! Oh wait I do, but it’s a spoiler so spoiler in white:

Because they were lovers in Karou’s past live but even then it was insta-love asjfbhdf And Karou ‘fell in love’ before she had her memories back? 

The book shifted a lot from an interesting fantasy novel with a kick-ass protagonist, a great female friendship, a mystery, the threat of a war, a family of monsters to… a lacklustre romance that felt incredibly forced and just too dramatic for my taste. 

The beginning of this book was interesting and I really thought I’d end up loving this, or at least liking it. It had a lot of potential and it’s the reason why I ended up giving this 2 stars, even though by the end I absolutely loathed it. I was bored and just

This implies that I DNF’ed this book. I did not. Because apparently I’m a masochist

Have you read Daughter of Smoke and Bone? How did you feel about it? What was your latest disappointment? Let me know in the comments!

30 thoughts on “Daughter of Smoke and Bone // More Like of Insta-Love and Bore

  1. I actually really loved this back when I read it haha but back then I didn’t mind insta-love as much. The story gets really different in the second and third book though and the love is not anymore the main focus of the story.
    I’m really curious now what I’d think of it if I read it now! Probably not as positive.
    Please tell me you liked Zuzanna though (you HAVE to like Zuzanna, she’s awesome!)

    • Yes I definitely liked Zuzanna! I wish she had played a bigger part. Maybe someday I’ll pick up the sequel (if it’s free on ibooks too haha), but right now I’m so put off by the first one I can’t even think about it haha
      Glad you loved this though!

  2. Oh no! I’m so sorry to hear you didn’t love this book so much -I feel like tons of people love this book and the whole series, so it was refreshing to read your unpopular opinion on this ahah :) I haven’t read this one, and haven’t read any other books by this author just yet. If I do read this series sometimes, thank you for not letting me get my hopes up too high, ahah :)

  3. THIS. I’ve been waiting for this review and you did not disappoint! 😂
    I also liked how this started out and then the romance ruined any plot that was there. The fantasy elements were so interesting and then they just weren’t anymore… I don’t know why I forced myself to finish it either, so I feel your pain.
    I have DNFed quite a few books lately because I couldn’t get into them, but my biggest disappointment of them all was An Ember in the Ashes.

    • Haha I’m happy I didn’t disappoint 😂
      I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels like this about this book. So many people love it!
      Oh no, I hope you’ll read some good books soon! DNF’ing sucks. Ah really? I’ve heard good things about that one, but haven’t gotten around to picking it up myself yet

  4. YES YES YESSSSSS. Tbh idek why I rated this four stars because I really did not like it??? It was DEFINITELY insta-love and I honestly do not see what the hype is. Of course the setting was really great and the sitting style is pretty, but it was just too… weird for me, I guess??? But YES your review said it all. (Probably need to go back and re-rate this to 3 stars lol.)

    • Haha I’ve rated books way too high too even though I didn’t like it that much – I don’t know why either?? It’s a mystery
      Yes the setting is really great – it had so much potential! I’m just so sad that this one didn’t work out for me

  5. I bought this book as a full priced paperback because the UK cover is gorgeous, and EVERYONE told me how amazing this book would be, and I thought I’d like it from the sound of it. Turns out I wasn’t a big fan. I feel like there was so much potential, but it all just kind of fell away once the romance started. I totally agree with what you said in your spoiler section. I was 100% unimpressed by that little addition, and felt like it did a disservice to the romance to be honest.

    I have heard that the second book is better, but I don’t know if I have it in me to continue. My reading tastes have changed since I read this a few years ago so I feel like I should re-read it and then reassess whether I want to continue.

    Don’t ask me why I have two sets of this trilogy. Don’t.

    • Ahhh no that’s such a shame :( I definitely feel you though – there have been many books with gorgeous covers that I’d thought I’d love so I bought them and then.. I really disliked or even hated it.

      Yeah I’ve heard that too, but I have the exact same problem haha. By the time I finished it I hated it so much, so I don’t have the energy to pick up the next one (and if I do it does need to be free on ibooks again because I don’t want to spend my money on it haha)

    • Ah I’m glad to hear you ended up loving this series anyway! I just can’t make myself read the rest of the series; I loathed the first one so much by the end of it haha. I might consider it if I find the sequels for free, but still – so little time, so many books!

    • So glad I’m not alone! So many people love this series so I’m glad to find a few people who agree haha. I’m still amazed at how it started off so strong and then just went downhill like that

  6. Ahhh I’m so sad you didn’t like this one! I absolutely adored her newest book, Strange the Dreamer, and I’ve been wanting to read this one for ages. I have really high hopes, so I might have to bring those down a notch. Fingers crossed I enjoy it more than you did though!

  7. Aw that’s disappointing. I’m currently reading Strange the Dreaner by the sand author and I’ve had Smoke and Bone in my TBR list for a while, too. I like paranormal romance. It’s one of my favorite genres (in terms of writing, too) so maybe I’ll be able to stomach it.

    • Yeah a lot of people love it, so I think it’s probably a case of ‘it’s not the book, it’s me’ Definitely don’t let my negative review stop you from giving this a shot! :)

      • Have you read any of her other novels? I’m finding that I’ll like some things are author wrote, but not others more and more. I used to think if I liked/didn’t like a novel by someone that was it, but that is NOT the case all the time.

      • I haven’t! I definitely believe in giving authors second chances (if they’re other book(s) sound interesting), but I’ve read a negative review of Stranger the Dreamer and they had the exact same problem with it that I had with Daughter of Smoke and Bone so I’m now a bit worried to pick it up 😅

  8. Pingback: The Monthly and Weekly Hufflepuff #60 | I Live – The Writing Hufflepuff

  9. Yeah this book made me scream, the romance in LT’s books pretty much dominate and are instalove always… I did LOVE the chimera race and pretty much all the teeth dealio because yeah I’m odd like that 😁 I enjoyed your review, totally refreshing! ♥️

    • Yeah I read a negative review for Stranger the Dreamer and they had the exact same problem with it that I had with Daughter of Smoke and Bone, so I guess that’s just Laini Taylor’s thing? Her books are not for me then. Glad I’m not the only one that wanted to scream while reading this though haha.
      Yes I loved that too! I was so intrigued by it but then the romance happened *sigh*
      Thank you! ♥️

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