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Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Taylor) - Discussion Questions

Discussion Questions
1. Explain the significance of the title, Daughter of Smoke and Bone. In your opinion, does it accurately describe the events and relationships portrayed in the novel?

2. Daughter of Smoke and Bone opens with Karou being accosted by her former boyfriend Kazimir as he attempts to reconcile with her by telling her, “We’re meant to be together, you and me.” What can readers conclude about Karou’s belief in commitment from her reaction to his statement? What has this relationship with Kaz taught Karou about love?

3. Consider the wishes Karou earns from Brimstone as a result of her errand work. Why does Brimstone chastise her for spending them on frivolous items?

4. Why do Karou’s sketchbooks have such a following among the other art students? What fascinates others about this world that she captures?

5. After sharing more fantastical tales of Brimstone, Issa, Twiga, and the others from the shop, Zuzana asks, “How do you make this stuff up, maniac?” Karou responds by stating, “Who says I do? I keep telling you, it’s all real.” Why does offering a wry smile after such a statement allow her to tell the truth without the risk of being believed?

6. After Kaz surprises her by posing as a model for her drawing class, Karou uses her scuppies to wish itches on him and thinks, “This isn’t just for today. It’s for everything.” What can readers infer about Karou by considering her need to right the wrong he has bestowed on her?

7. After her failed relationship with Kaz, Brimstone tells Karou, “When an essential one comes along, you’ll know. Stop squandering yourself, child. Wait for love. It will come, and you will know it.” Do you agree with his assessment? What makes Brimstone capable of offering such sage advice?

8. Readers learn that Karou collects languages, often given to her by Brimstone as birthday presents. What might be her motivation in doing so? What does having this unique collection afford Karou? If you could “collect” a language (or two), what would it be? Why?

9. Describe Akiva or Karou. What makes him/her a dynamic character? What are three things that you find most (or least) appealing about this character? What are the biggest challenges he/she has to overcome?

10. Consider this conversation between Brimstone and Karou: “Wishes are not for foolery, child.” “Well, what do you use them for?” “Nothing,” he said. “I do not wish.” “What?” It had astonished her. “Never?” All that magic at his fingertips! “But you could have anything you wanted—“ “Not anything. There are things bigger than any wish.” “Like what?” “Most things that matter.” In your opinion, why does Brimstone offer such a poignant perspective on wishes? Do you agree with his assessment?

11. Who are your favorite or least favorite secondary characters in the novel? What is it about these characters that you find endearing or disturbing?

12. Considering Karou and Akiva’s perspectives, in what ways is Daughter of Smoke and Bone a story about things that have been  lost? What does each of them find along the way?

13. Consider the variety of settings for Daughter of Smoke and Bone; name the three places you believe to be most important to the story. Using textual evidence from the book, explain why you find them to be significant to the overall story structure.

14. How would you characterize the relationship between Karou and Akiva? Do you feel that it changes over the course of the novel? If so, in what ways? Using textual evidence from the book, explain why you find them to be significant to the overall story structure.

15. Using the phrase, “This is a story about… ,” supply five words to describe Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Explain your choices.

16. Trust is a major theme throughout the novel; offer specific examples where a character’s willingness (or unwillingness) to trust others (or himself) proves advantageous or disastrous.

17. As the novel closes, Karou and Akiva are once again separated. Predict what will happen to them in the next installment of the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy.
(Questions issued by publisher.)

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