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.
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
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?