Hi, we’re introducing a new feature on our blog called a “sound off.” Basically, we’ll do this when we disagree on a book and hash it out. For our very first sound off, we decided to go with Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. SPOILERS ahoy! It WILL spoil the book for you.

Title: Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Author: Laini Taylor
Release Date: September 27th 2011
Add It: Goodreads

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.

Kendra: Elena, I  am a horrible person for not liking Daughter of Smoke and Bone but it was so dull.
Elena: No!! Okay, the plot isn’t anything new, but the writing really elevated the book for me. Plus, I like that it’s set in Prague.
Kendra: The writing was very nice, I agree. And cool setting also agree. But the characters were the definition of dull for me. Kuro or whatever the main characters name is
Elena: KAROU.
Kendra: has zero personality. WHO CARES I CAN’T EVEN REMEMBER HER NAME BECAUSE SHE WAS BORING. Also the love the interest like I cannot name one thing about him other than he is an angel. And probably good looking because this is YA.
Elena: Well DUH! I really liked Karou in the beginning! The no personality worked for me because she didn’t know who she was so of course the readers didn’t know who she was either.
Kendra: That is not an excuse to be boring.
Elena:  I like Karou because she’s not your typical WOE IS ME I’M NOTHING SPECIAL NOT PRETTY heroines.
Kendra: Yeah, those actually have a personality.
Elena: THEY DO NOT. WHAT IS THEIR PERSONALITY? WET BLANKET?
Kendra: I didn’t say it was a GOOD one but you know, they aren’t a blank slate with blue hair.
Elena: She draws!!! She’s artistic!! She’s caring!
Kendra: She’s still a mostly dull main character. She’s the entire book, dressed up really nice, has a lot of elements I should enjoy but completely shallow and devoid of any real emotion.
Elena: SHE IS A CONFIDENT YOUNG WOMAN.
Kendra: Sure! Whatever, I still cannot bring myself to care about her in a serious way.
Elena:  I will give you the love interest though because all I can remember is they fought in the sky. WHATEVER. I CAN HANDWAVE IT BECAUSE IT DIDN’T BOTHER ME. Also, someone on Twitter said the heartbreak was why they liked it so much.
Kendra: WHAT HEARTBREAK WE KNOW I FELT NOTHING FOR THESE CHARACTERS.
Elena: IT WAS A TRAGIC LOVE STORY OK. HE BURNED DOWN HER FAMILY.
Kendra: Like, sorry there is a war for reasons and your half deer girlfriend died.
Elena: I am so curious how she would redeem him because he killed her family. Sort of hard to bounce back from.
Kendra: Well you know, all relationships have problems! It can’t be all half deer/angel sexy times always. OH AND can I say that the we loved each other in another life blah blah thing is a lazy way to make insta-love happen?
Elena: Their relationship happened in the flashbacks you hate!! It’s how they fell in love. They had picnics and convos and lots of lovin’!
Kendra: AND OK I AM SORRY BUT YOU DON’T GET TO HAVE THE LAST FOURTH FOR THE BOOK THE CLIMAX BE FLASHBACKS to something the reader probably put together FOREVER AGO you just don’t get to do that. It’s lazy storytelling.
Elena: Yeah, that took me off guard too! Especially since it was pretty obvious and I wished it stayed focused on the ‘now’ story.
Kendra: It’s a lazy way to excuse a sequel and finish nothing in the first book. Like spoiler alert! Here is a twist you probably already put together because this probably ISN’T the first story you’ve ever heard and instead of getting it out of the way because it’s not even that good of a twist, we’re going to MAKE THE ENTIRE LAST PART OF THE BOOK ABOUT TELLING YOU WHAT YOU ALREADY KNOW. SURPRISE! Now read book 2 before anything really happens. ALSO: FINALLY A POPULAR YA BOOK WITH SEX AND IT’S SEX WITH A BEAST DEMON THING.
Elena: CRYING. I JUST PRETENDED THEY WERE HUMAN. I DON’T WANT TO THINK ABOUT BEAST SEX.
Kendra: I wanted to like this book a lot! I feel like it’s one of the books even people who don’t like YA that much enjoy but I really don’t think it’s one of the best in its genre. The writing is nice, lovely prose, but there is nothing underneath the pretty picture for me.
Elena: With a different setting and lush prose, I really enjoyed Daughter of Smoke and Bone for its nuances. Although the romance may not have been the greatest, Laini Taylor’s writing was exemplary.

That’s it! We have some outtakes such as Kendra saying “so all teenagers feel like half deer beast demons? cool” but I shall spare you. How did you guys feel about Daughter of Smoke & Bone? Love it or hate it?

15 Responses to “sound off: daughter of smoke and bone by laini taylor”

  1. Ha! This is great fun! I have this one on my TBR, so I’ll let you know which side of the ranty fence I wind up on! :)
    Stephanie @ Read in a Single Sitting recently posted..Book Review: Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler and Maira KalmanMy Profile

  2. Brita says:

    Obviously I had to jump in on this because as previously discussed, I am TEAM KENDRA aka TEAM HATING EVERYTHING THAT WASN’T THE SCORPIO RACES WHEN I READ THIS. But seriously, the plot and characters are not worthy of the setting/worldbuilding/prose. I wanted this whole book to be about Karou’s demon family having adventures in Prague, those guys were the best! TOO BAD HER BORINGASS LOVE INTERESTING SET THEM ON FIRE, JUST LIKE THE PLOT.

    I am a super-helpful commenter, sorry guys!

  3. Shirley says:

    LOL I LOVE THIS FEATUREEEE! I only just finished reading DoSaB and ABSOLUTELY LOVEDDDD IT! But I do see where Kendra’s coming from :) I guess I’m just a huge fan of the whole “tragic love story” thing, and since the writing was so beautiful, it immediately jumped to my all-time favourites list! I also wanted more of the ‘now’ story rather than flashbacks, but ahh well…it’s LAINI TAYLOR. AND I LOVE HER STORIES!<3
    Shirley recently posted..Blog Tour: Rapture – Author Interview!My Profile

  4. Kim says:

    Ahahah this is great! I actually COMPLETELY agree with Kendra (sorry, Elena!). I seriously did not like DoSaB as much as I should have. I mean, like you guys said, the writing is pretty damn amazing and world-building is like wow, but THE CHARACTERS KILLED IT. I liked Karou at first but when she met the angel guy (can’t remember his name) and all that smooshy lovey-dovey love at first sight insta-love stuff started, I just lost interest in the whole book. Plus, YOU’RE SO RIGHT, KENDRA! The last quarter of the book made me so frustrated and I kept willing it to get back to the present and GAH, it was so predictable and oh my gosh, the characters throughout the book were just so boring D: Well… apart from Brimstone and Issa and all of the other demon-beast-chimaera family but since it was only them, I can’t say DoSaB was a good experience for me :/

    Sorry for the little rant haha! But I LOVE this new feature, you guys! Can’t wait for your next one <3

  5. Haha ! This is fun and at the same time very informative. You get to see both the positive and negative sides of the book. I only skimmed the above because I haven’t read the book yet and you guys mentioned that it’s a little spoilerish. Great idea though! I look forward to more of this feature. :D
    Nick @ Nick’s Book Blog recently posted..Review : Something Strange and Deadly by Susan DennardMy Profile

  6. H says:

    I talked about this with both of you before, I think, actually, but I WILL NEVER FORGIVE THOSE FLASHBACKS. I have never felt so persecuted as a reader in my life. oh god i am getting residual anger/pain shockwaves just thinking about it, the experience of which is SIGNIFICANTLY MORE MOVING than anything that happened. CONGRATULATIONS YOU USED TO BE A DEER.

    aaauuuugggh

  7. Kendra, I’m also sorry, but yes: you are a horrible person for not liking DoSab. Or quite possibly you have no soul. OR BOTH.

    *cough*

    OK, or maybe I kind of love this book more than I love anything, but still understand all your points.

    Err… now to post this comment and go paranoid insane wondering if you’re going to hate me for saying you’re horrible person and and and… err… I was joking? Promise? And… *runs away*

    Also: you guys crack me up :D
    Sarah (saz101) recently posted..Changeling (Order of Darkness #1), Philippa GregoryMy Profile

  8. Favorite part:
    Elena: IT WAS A TRAGIC LOVE STORY OK. HE BURNED DOWN HER FAMILY.
    Kendra: Like, sorry there is a war for reasons and your half deer girlfriend died.

    Also, I’m pretty sure her, um, important parts were human, you know? I was a huge fan of this book and I thought that the writing was beautiful. Keep in mind that it was the first book and a debut (right?) I have to assume that plot holes will be worked out as the series continues.
    Kate @ Ex Libris recently posted..700 Follower Giveaway!My Profile

  9. I don’t mean to take sides…but I agree with Elena on this one! ;) You put up a good fight Kendra, but really, this book is AWESOME. :D
    Sam @ Realm of Fiction recently posted..Review: Forgiven by Jana OliverMy Profile

  10. Audrey says:

    I love this feature! Ahh, it makes me want a blog buddy so I could shamelessly copy it XD

    Hehehe I’m with Kendra here, I had the exact feeling about the lack of climax and the incessant need for backstory :p and the “WHAT HEARTBREAK WE KNOW I FELT NOTHING FOR THESE CHARACTERS.” I’ll admit, I remember very very little from this book.. and I don’t think i would have remembered the main character’s name either, though Elena is totally right about the lush prose. hehe again, love this post!!

  11. I LOVED reading this! I probably agree more with Elena on Karou, but I agree with you both on the romance side of things.

    Also, “Laini Taylor’s writing was exemplary” <<< THIS! Completely agree, it was amazing.

    Awesome post, Elena and Kendra.(: <3

  12. Oh my gosh, I loooooooooooooooove this!!! Like epic I-wish-you-would-do-this-every-single-day love! I personally thought this book was SUPER magical and awesome, but hearing you guys argue about it just made me have a giggle-fest — I can totally see how Karou could come off a little stoic, but I agree with Elena: KAROU ROCKS! x) (Yes, I LOVE YOUR ALL CAPS <3) But I could do without the flashbacks too haha :')

    I'm adding my comment in:

    Elena: I like Karou because she’s not your typical WOE IS ME I’M NOTHING SPECIAL NOT PRETTY heroines.
    Kendra: Yeah, those actually have a personality.
    Elena: THEY DO NOT. WHAT IS THEIR PERSONALITY? WET BLANKET?
    Mimi: Hahahahahahaha you guys are gonna make a girl wet her blanket from laughter with this!! XD
    Mimi Valentine recently posted..Review: WakeMy Profile

  13. Favorite line: Elena: CRYING. I JUST PRETENDED THEY WERE HUMAN. I DON’T WANT TO THINK ABOUT BEAST SEX.

    LOL

    Please keep doing this.
    Lauren @ Gimme More Books!!! recently posted..Review: Shadow of NightMy Profile

  14. It was a super different type of read for me, but I really loved it! I cannot wait for the sequel! :) Love the new idea for when you guys disagree on a book. :)
    Magan @ Rather Be Reading recently posted..Tune in Tuesday: My Teen Self #1My Profile

  15. Karen says:

    Ha! This is so funny. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I actually avoided it for a year because of all the hype.
    The one downside for me were the flashbacks at the end. It just kept taking me further and further away from the present and the characters I met in the beginning.
    I’ll have to see where the story takes me next.
    Great job girls!!
    Karen recently posted..Sunday Ramblings…My Profile