UPDATE: So how did Universal end up with Daughter of Smoke & Bone when Paramount was in exclusive negotiations just last week? Paramount ended those talks late last week, and I’m told it was because the studio would not go along with an ask by agent Jane Putch (who’s executive producer) for creative approvals and money that was more than Harry Potter, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo or The Hunger Games when those book deals were optioned. Specifically, Paramount bristled about control in later installments of the series and the studio insisted on offering creative conversations contingent on the book taking off as a publishing phenomenon. So far, Smoke & Bone has sold a limited amount of copies. Paramount was ready to pay $750,000 but called off the deal. Before that studio got involved, Universal had been in talks for the book before it pulled out. Some in lit circles thought the deal would never get made, but clearly they found some common ground after the Paramount deal didn’t work out.

Los Angeles, CA, December 13, 2011—Universal Pictures announced today that it has acquired the worldwide rights to the celebrated young adult fantasy novel Daughter of Smoke & Bone written by National Book Award Finalist Laini Taylor. A highly sought after property in Hollywood, the book was published this September and is the first in a trilogy. Universal’s Co-Presidents of Production Peter Cramer and Jeff Kirschenbaum made the announcement.

Daughter of Smoke & Bone has been sold in over 25 countries so far to critical acclaim and has been one of the most well-received books of the year. Honors include an Amazon Top Ten Books of 2011, Amazon’s #1 Teen Book of 2011, a Publishers Weekly Best Books 2011, a Huffington Post Top 10 YA Book of 2011, and a New York Times Notable Children’s Books of 2011.

Since its release, Daughter of Smoke & Bone has been hailed with rave reviews across the board. A review from Entertainment Weekly said, “This smartly plotted, surprising, and fiercely compelling read will hook you from its opening pages.” The New York Times called it “A breath-catching romantic fantasy about destiny, hope and the search for one’s true self that doesn’t let readers down.” And the Los Angeles Times noted, “It’s to Taylor’s great credit that evil incarnate and its love match in Daughter of Smoke & Bone are such imaginative interpretations and that the worlds in which this romance unfolds are likewise so unique.”

At the news of the acquisition, Laini Taylor said, “My goal is always to write stories that readers will want to climb inside of and live in, and which – I hope – will allow them to just lose themselves in the page. It is a hugely thrilling prospect to think about Universal and filmmakers translating my world onscreen and giving it a second life in such a grand way. I’m over the moon.”

Jane Putch, Taylor’s manager and producing partner, said, “Taylor is a stunning visual writer, whose superbly developed characters shape a plot filled with intrigue, epic wars, love, betrayal and ‘teeth.’ I can’t wait to see her world on screen!”

Daughter of Smoke & Bone is published in the U.S. by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, a division of Hachette Book Group and in the UK by Hodder & Stoughton. The second book in the trilogy will be published in September 2012.

Taylor is managed by her producing partner, Jane Putch of Eyebait Licensing & Management. Attorney Peter Nelson of Nelson David Wetzstein oversaw the acquisition.