Daughter of Smoke and Bone

By Laini Taylor

Daughter_of_Smoke_and_Bone This is a little embarrassing. Kinsey has recommended this book multiple times on this blog, and even gave me a copy, but it took me three tries to get through it. It is actually very good, but it starts with some of the most Mary Sue you’ve ever read. Our heroine, Karou:

  • Is 5’ 6” but seems taller because of her willowy ballerina’s build, with slender neck and long limbs
  • Has long hair that grows out of her head a bright blue
  • Has a gorgeous, older ex-boyfriend, who wants to get back together and over whom all the other girls sigh
  • Attends a high school for the arts in Prague, where she paints such imaginative images that all of the other students gather around each morning to see her daily sketchbook

Multiple times, I gave up in the face of such blinding impressiveness right off the bat. I couldn’t imagine what else the author had left to unveil down the road, and I wasn’t sure what she could do to make me actually like Karou. It turned out that her being attacked by a killer angel did the trick!

So, once I got over sulking over the heroine, I was intrigued by the very unusual hidden world that slowly reveals itself over the course of the book. And while I stayed a little aloof from Karou herself, I was charmed by the wide variety of other characters. For people who don’t have as big an issue with Mary Sue-ism as I do, I can unreservably recommend this book; for those that do, I still recommend the book, actually – I did eventually enjoy the whole story, though sort of grudgingly throughout, and I admit that was entirely due to personal bias.

—Anna

3 comments on “Daughter of Smoke and Bone

  1. Ben says:

    I enjoyed your discussion of Mary-Sue-ism and how you begrudgingly enjoyed the book anyway. Nonetheless, I would have enjoyed hearing a little more about your enjoyment itself.

    • Anna says:

      Sigh, yeah, I probably should have included a little more about the actual book, but I didn’t for a couple of reasons: first, the plot actually involves enough unfolding surprises that I didn’t want to spoil any, and second, because it had an overall theme of true love conquering all, even death, and I just couldn’t quite get into that, through no fault of the book’s. It is the first of a trilogy and Kinsey said that the sequels get even more into that, so I’m not planning to continue, at least right now.

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