Taylor, Laini. 2011. DAUGHTER OF SMOKE & BONE. New York: Little, Brown. ISBN 9780316134026 [Suggested Grade Levels 9-12]
Karou, a striking, blue-haired art student in Prague, fills her sketchbook with detailed illustrations of chimaera, creatures comprised of parts of various animals. Unknown to her classmates, these creatures are actually Karou’s family. A scorched handprint on the portal to their world and the appearance of mysterious winged strangers-– one whose exquisite beauty and allure Karou cannot resist-- are signs of an approaching unearthly war that will change her life forever.
Taylor builds a hauntingly beautiful world within this captivating novel. The lush descriptions of Prague are expertly combined with Karou’s mythical realm creating a unique setting that is accessible and believable. The reader is drawn in from the first words: “Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love. It did not end well.” Taylor succeeds in developing this hook into an unforgettable tale of forbidden love. Although exploring familiar subjects of romance, family, magic, self-discovery, and good vs. evil, Taylor brings originality to the topics through fascinating, well-developed characters and tight plotting. The suspenseful, engaging fantasy will leave readers eagerly anticipating the upcoming sequel.
Artistic extensions include creating portraits of the characters, designing newly-imagined chimaera and seraphim, and illustrating the eye tattoos. Teens can view photos of Prague and map the many cities mentioned in the text including Paris, Istanbul, and St. Petersburg. A wishbone, wishes, and hope (“the real magic”) are important to the story; research the tradition of wishbones, write about wishes and hopes, and discuss the difference.
More novels with supernatural, star-crossed romance:
Clare, Cassandra. CITY OF BONES. 9781416914280
Hand, Cynthia. UNEARTHLY. 9780061996160
Marr, Melissa. WICKED LOVELY. 9780061214653
By Jill Bellomy