I love a beautifully written sentence. Revel in the beauty of a well-turned phrase and a highly livable world. And, Laini Taylor’s The Daughter of Smoke and Bone does just that and more. Her story dramatizes scenes. Provides an example of craft weaved with well-spun phrases. And, Taylor knows “the rules” and when she can break them.
That’s not to say she’s perfect, but I’d call her a master. And, one well worth studying.
So, here’s an in-depth look at her scenes.
Once more, Spoilers Ahead.
Karou juggles her two lives: magical and human, only to have one cut off from her forever. Alternatively: Akiva and his siblings tirelessly work to destroy Brimstone’s portals to Earth so that they can end the war, only to meet someone vaguely familiar in the process.
33% of the novel
Inciting Incident. For the love story, Karou deals with the heartbreak of being cheated on and “inessential penises.” The global war story and mystery of who Karou is starts with the mysterious handprints showing up on the portal doors.
Complication. Karou has trouble balancing her life with all the errands she must run for Brimstone and almost gets killed by Akiva during one such mission.
Crisis. Should she explore what’s behind the door she’s knows all her life, or let it continue to be a mystery and do Brimstone’s bidding without knowing the truth?
Climax. She goes through the door, unknowingly outs herself to Thiago, upsets Brimstone, and gets kicked out of the realm until further notice.
Resolution. Karou tells Zuzanna the truth and Kishmish shows up dead. (This doubles as an inciting incident scene to their friendship story in future books.)
- Shift from outsider to friend with Zuzanna
- From with family to alone
- And, from blindly following orders to gaining knowledge about the worlds she’d tangled up in
Karou struggles to find a way to get back to Brimstone and the others and fights and gets to know Akiva. Alternatively: Akiva follows Karou and finally discovers who she is.
42.4% of the novel
Inciting Incident. Karou collects wishes from the people who used to bring Brimstone teeth. She gets two Gavriels and wishes for flight.
Complication. The doors haven’t opened in 3 months. Karou finds Razgut who promises to take her to Eretz if she brings him with. And, Akiva’s siblings have found them and are a threat to Karou.
Crisis. Will Karou wait for Akiva or go on to Eretz without him? Will Akiva give her the wishbone and thus the knowledge of who she is knowing that it will make her hate him? Or will he let it drop into the ocean as he flies to her?
Climax. She waits for him and together, they snap the wishbone.
Resolution. The sensation of snapping the wishbone, becoming whole, and finally understanding what Brimstone did.
- Shift from ignorance to knowledge
- From alone to together
- And from “normal” life to the mysterious
Karou comes up with a plan to get to Eretz, gives in to her love for Akiva, and finally discovers who she really is and what happened to her people. Alternatively: The history of Akiva and Karou’s love for each other is dramatized, piecing together their intertwined lives and establishing the foundation for Akiva’s betrayal.
24.6% of the novel
A shift in time and person – from Karou to Madrigal and how they connect
Inciting Incident. Madrigal saves Akiva’s life and the two are reunited at a ball where Madrigal has to chose whether to accept Thiago’s proposal or not.
Complication. The young lovers are from two warring species and must hide their love while dreaming of a better future.
Crisis. Will Brimstone let Madrigal evanesce? How will she survive? Will she save Akiva if she does?
Climax. Brimstone hints that she can inhabit Chiro’s body (who betrayed her anyway), so she does. In surviving, she saves Akiva who believes her to have died.
Resolution. The resolution to this piece is Madrigal’s life as Karou. As for the rest of the story, it’s Karou leaving Earth with Razgut to Eretz without Akiva.
- A shift from life to death for Madrigal
- From love to heartbreak for Akiva
- From Madrigal to Karou
- And, from together to separate going into the next novel