Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Daughter of Smoke and Bone Review (and some vegan goulash too)

Title: Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Author: Laini Taylor
Source: Library (but I will probably buy)

Goodreads Summary:

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 grown 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 one of the strangers—beautiful, haunted Akiva—fixes his fire-colored 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?

My thoughts:

I noticed this book about 6 months or so ago while traveling around, reading blogs. It appealed to me for a few reasons- 1) that cool mask that reminds me of Mardi Gras 2) It is set in Prague, one of the top five places I want to visit, and  3) it is paranormal fantasy type stuff.  But I didn't really get around to reading it until I decided to participate in the European Reading Challenge.  And now I can't believe I waited so long!

I love this kind of stuff, supernatural creatures and all that, I just love to see what comes pouring out of people's imaginations.  This book was something new and different to me, I had never read anything like it before, and 

Karou doesn't know it, but she is in the middle of a war, between Seraphim and Chimera. Seraphim are angels, but not the fluffy kind, these are angels are fiery and dangerous and not very heavenly.  Chimera are a race of people creatures, who are part human, part animal.  I pictured them like to look like the Thundercats. I loved reading all the lore of this new world made by Taylor, about the seraphim and the chimera, and where they live, their customs, the whole mythology of them all.  It was very well done, and very entertaining.  At first I thought, ugh, am I going to like this? And very quickly I was drawn in and cared about these characters.  Karou, Zuzana (my favorite! tiny angry girl), Brimstone, Akiva, were all written in a way that they made sense, and you felt what they felt.

Thundercats, hoo!
The parts of the story set in Prague set my gypsy wandering heart into overload - it sounds so beautiful and historical, and filled with lots of stories.  Karou and her friend Zuzana eat at a restaurant called The Poison Kitchen, which was said to have been a monastery until one of the monks, the chef, went crazy and poisoned all the goulash, killing the other monks. Not true, I looked it up, but to go to the trouble of creating such a fictionalized hangout for the girls, with such a fictionalized history, was very clever.  The restaurant most popular dish was goulash, of course. There was also a scene in which Karou and Akiva are out very early one morning in Prague, early enough that many people are out and the bakery was just opening up, and the two of them eat Honey Lavender bread, which sounded like an amazing breakfast.  I was very stuck on the food in this book, apparently, to the point I had to make goulash, and lavender honey bread. Lol.  

I knew that making the goulash would be tricky since I am a vegetarian. But I found this awesome recipe for it, which seems daunting at first, but is actually easier than it looks.  We loved the way it tasted, it was earthy and nutty with a hint of spice at the end. We will definitely make it again. We are it with honey lavender bread, which is just as good as it sounds. (see below for photos if interested)

I didn't just love the foodie parts of the book - I loved all of it.  It also reminded me somewhat of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Lol. This was a fun journey to make, to new made up worlds from an imagination, to Prague, to the food of the country. If you like fantasy/supernatural/paranormal stuff, you should definitely like Daughter of Smoke and Bone. 

Goulash - please excuse my weird food photos.


  1. The book doesn't sound like my cup of tea but the goulash looks divine! And Thundercats? Oh yea!

    1. By the power of Thundera!

      I couldn't help picturing Liono and the gang. :) The goulash was really good!!

  2. I really really liked this book, too! As soon as I finished reading it I wanted to jump on a plane to Prague and hang out at the Poison Kitchen - too bad it's not a real place :)

    That goulash looks delicious!

    1. I know me too!!!! I looked the place up for that reason, I wanted to do the same. Sigh..

      It was very good!! I totally recommend it!

  3. I'm so glad you liked the book--and your goulash! I read it last year for the European Reading Challenge as well. I listened to it and want to continue the series on audio but my library doesn't have it yet. I'm getting impatient! I don't think goulash is for me but honey lavender bread sounds divine!

    1. I was thrown a bit by how much I liked this book!! I didn't expect to have such a strong reaction to it. Lol. And that so frustrating, I hate having to wait, I am so impatient. Lol.

      The bread was very good, and not that difficult to make, just time consuming with all the dough rising going on. :)

  4. I just bought some lavender to make some bread myself and was wondering what recipe you used? I adore this book. The first chance I get to travel will end up with me in Prague simply because of this book!

    1. I can't find the recipe I used! It might have been this one: I would have done it without the bread machine though, and done it all by hand.

      I know, I really want to go to Prague!


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