Laini Taylor is most famous for her Daughter of Smoke & Bone series.
First published in 2011, Taylor showed us a world where teeth are collected to make wishes, and black hand prints are appearing on doorways.
Her stories surround fantastical other worlds hidden within our own. Reminiscent of Neil Gaiman, the balance of real and mythical help us see the magic all around.
Taylor won the NRP Best Young Adult Fiction in 2009, was a finalist for the Oregon Spirit Book Award as well as the National Book Award, and reached the top 10 for the YALSA books list.
Taylor often uses real elements of history or the present day and answers their questions with her vivid imagination.
What if someone’s hair was naturally blue? Would a modern-day woman be tempted by fruits from a mythical creature?
Taylor walks us through these unusual questions as we stay gripped by her tales.
If you love Laini Taylor and her Daughter of Smoke & Bone series, then you will love Neil Gaiman, Holly Black, Karen Lynch, and Sarah J. Maas.
Read our recommendations to find out more.
Books By Laini Taylor
Laini Taylor’s most accomplished series is the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy.
Like all of her novels, it is a Young Adult fantasy collection that follows a story of magic, mystery, and secrets.
Karou is an art student living in Prague. She can speak many languages and has naturally blue hair and tattoos which she doesn’t remember getting.
Karou doesn’t know much about who she is, but answers come forward when she meets Akiva.
The star-crossed love story is filled with war and political intrigue, alongside romance and self-discovery.
Taylor’s most recent series is called Strange The Dreamer. There are just two novels in this series so far. The story follows a junior librarian, Lazlo Strange.
He is an orphan of war, and his dream is to find the lost city of Weep. He is obsessed with the myth, but his dream chose poorly.
Strange isn’t a bold person and has no urgency in following his thoughts. At least that was true until the Godslayer arrived.
Taylor’s stories are filled with magic, adventure, and romance, but the most important aspect of her novels surrounds self-discovery.
These elements make her tales perfect for Young Adult fiction.
Authors Like Laini Taylor
Niel Gaiman is a critically acclaimed author. He writes adult fiction as well as young adult fiction, mostly keeping to the urban fantasy genre.
Coraline is a horror fantasy story about a girl who moved houses. She explores the rooms of her new home and finds all but one door locked.
Obsessed with what’s behind the door, she does all she can to unlock it.
Eventually, she gets through, only to find a whole new apartment ahead of her. It’s all exactly the same as her own home, but everything on this side of the door is better.
Better food, better toys, better parents. Her Other Father is happy, and her Other Mum is understanding.
These new parents want Coraline to stay with them, but to do so she must become better too.
Through the story, Coraline discovers more about herself and her family.
Neverwhere is also a horror. In the streets of London people go missing, and when they fall between the cracks they land in Neverwhere.
A city of monsters and saints, angels and murderers. The people of Neverwhere are strange, like the Earl who takes the court on the subway, or the girl called Door.
Richard Mayhew finds himself in Neverwhere by accident, and all he wants is to go home. Forced into heroism, Mayhew is an unlikely protagonist.
Stardust takes a more lighthearted turn. Set in the middle ages, Tristan Thorn wants to impress Victoria who clearly doesn’t care for him.
She sets him on an impossible quest to capture a fallen star. Tristan leaps at the chance and searches for the star that fell from the sky.
When he arrives, he doesn’t find a gem but a woman.
This fantasy story dives into fairy tales and romance, as the main characters struggle to find their way.
- Fantastic Comedy
- Uncanny Horror
- Beautiful Writing Style
- Illustrations take away from the story.
Themes: Absurdism, Urban Fantasy, Uncanny Horror, Personal Growth
Holly Black is best known for her 3 part series The Folk Of The Air. Like Taylor, Black taps into folk law and expands on concepts touched by magic.
In the Folk Of The Air, we follow Jude who is taken by the High Court of Faerie along with her two sisters.
Now 17 years old, all she wants is to belong, but the people around her only see a human.
Even Prince Cardan, the youngest and most vile child of the High King, cannot see any use for her.
To earn her place with these mythical creatures, Jude needs to defy him, make her name, and prove herself to the Faerie.
This series is a mixture of modern YA fantasy with structures similar to Greek mythology.
Another popular series by Black is the Modern Faerie Tales collection. Starting with Tithe, we watch as the modern nomad Kaye is forced to go back to her childhood home.
Once there, she finds herself in the middle of a faerie war and an ancient power struggle.
It’s an Urban Fantasy with a similar “cross-boundary” structure that Laini Taylor is famous for.
- Well Researched
- Realism With Fantasy
- Good Romance
- Generic Main Characters For Self Insert
Themes: Urban Fantasy, War, Romance, Hate-To-Love Storylines
Lynch is a Canadian writer who focuses on both fantasy and the paranormal. Her most loved series is Relentless.
It’s a seven-book series that follows Sara Grey as she tries to understand what happened to her father. 10 years before the books start, Sara’s father was murdered.
Sara was too young to understand what happened, but she is still haunted by the memories.
In her quest to understand the truth, Sara discovers a supernatural world and her gifts.
A murder mystery that involves vampires, warriors, demons, and fae creatures.
Another popular series by Karen Lynch is the Fae Games.
It starts with Pawn, a story about Jesse James, a totally normal 18-year-old who just so happens to be a faerie hunter.
She lives and works in New York, and hopes to continue a normal life when her family goes missing.
Pulled back into the hunt, Jesse needs to figure out what happened and how to get her parents back before it’s too late.
- Fast Paced
- Intertwined Romance
- Intense Mysteries
- “You’re not like the other girls” trope.
Themes: Politics, Romance, Fae, Vampires
Sarah J. Maas
Maas writes in a very similar style to Taylor. In fact, even their titles are structured the same.
Maas’ most loved series is the A Court of Thorns And Roses collection, a story about a hunter who picks on the wrong creature.
After killing a wolf in the woods, a horrifying creature demands punishment. She is dragged into the fae world where she must serve her captors.
A mixture of Beauty and the Beast and tales by the Grimme Brothers, this YA fantasy explores the strange politics of the immortal faeries while also unpicking the mind of her captor.
- Classic YA fantasy
- Strong Romance
- Intriguing Politics
- Poorly Written
Themes: Romance, Politics, Fae, Personal Development
Laini Taylor is a fantasy writer who explores the in-between places of our world.
Her ability to sow mythology and otherworldly concepts into reality creates a magical connection in everything we see.
The writers above either connect to that element of urban fantasy or explore the fantastical worlds just beyond our reach.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Book Daughter Of Smoke & Bone About?
Karou, a human, was raised by a Chimaera, creatures that have both animal and human characteristics.
This Chimaera uses teeth from both humans and animals to grant wishes.
One day she is attacked by an Angel. Karou uses the wishes to find answers and figure out why this Angel is hunting her.
Is Daughter Of Smoke & Bone A Trilogy?
What Age Is Smoke & Bone Appropriate For?
Smoke & Bone is a YA novel, which includes romance, death, and pain. I recommend an age restriction of 14 and higher.
The details of pain, death, and romance are not extreme and are mostly glossed over – offering hints instead of descriptions.
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