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Review: Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor

Tuesday, December 18, 2012
5 Stars: Incredible /Keeper
Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2
Hardback: 528 Pages
Publication: November 6, 2012 by Little Brown Books for Young Readers

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Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a world free of bloodshed and war.

This is not that world.

Art student and monster's apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is—and what she is. But with this knowledge comes another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it.

In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must decide how far she'll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices, Days of Blood & Starlight finds Karou and Akiva on opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life.

While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. For hope.

But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream?

Laini Taylor's writing is as beautiful and poetic as I remember. It has a way of pulling me into the the story's world and tearing my heart to pieces with its poignant beauty. It was given to us in the first book, but this one constantly reminds us of all the obstacles lying between Karou and Akiva's love. This book is wracked with guilt, pain, anger, and self-loathing. Karou now works for the chimaera, ressurecting warriors to fight against the angels who destroyed her loved ones while Akiva finds himself working once more as a solider in his father's armies. Both of them are trying to find their purpose in life in the midst of all their despair, wondering if the dream they dreamed up in another life can ever be realized.

Once again, the story is told from multiple perspectives, this time with a couple new additions. To my surprise, I found myself liking and actually relating to Akiva's siblings. Spending time with them and seeing what they went through was a good way to really get to know them. There are also characters who don't play a prominent role in Karou's life but whose perspectives show the impact of the war on civilians and the world as a whole. One of the more genius elements of the structure of the novel lies in how it flashes between past and present, teasing us with ideas of what might have been before showing what actually happens. One particular event towards the end had me thinking Karou was nuts before the story flashes back to the past, and I learned what really happened. And that had me changing my mind to--that's one brilliant plan, though I still mourn the sacrifice that had to be made to set it in motion.

Yes, I really wanted to give Karou a wake-up punch for much of the beginning of the book. She's so wrapped up in shame and guilt over the fates of her fellow chimaera that she can't see the plots brewing around her. She wants to help the chimaera, but she's going about it the wrong way. She's given up hope. I wanted to see the kick-butt girl that I admired. Akiva too falls into a pit of despair, wondering how he can fulfill the promise he made to Karou a lifetime ago. Fortunately, they're both surrounded by amazing friends and support systems.

The plot is slow to set in motion, and this is no small book. It was frustrating at times, especially at the beginning. I wasn't keen on learning about the media frenzy over the events that transpired at the end of the first book or the email exchanges. It didn't seem important to me, though one email Karou sends Zuzana does set certains events in motions. Zuzana is a strong-willed girl with a wonderful sense of humor. While some of her actions seem a bit compulsive and a bit suicidal, she gives so much life to the book. She and her boyfriend Mik are a joy to read about, and I love them to death.

When the plot gets rolling, however, the action is killer. The fight scenes are epic and not overly done, the emotions raw and there, bare and unmasked. War is not pretty, and there's plenty of torture and gore to be had. In the midst of it all, there is life and there is hope, and our characters fight through it all to find their better selves and to build a better future. This is a book for fantasy lovers to be bought, cherished, and re-read. I can easily see myself rereading the entire series over and over again. I'm already dying to read the third and final book in the trilogy to find out what happens.

A copy was provided by Little Brown for review.


My Review of Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1

6 comments on "Review: Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor"
  1. So glad to see that I'm not alone in my love for these books! I'm already wanting to do a reread of both of these books and I only just did one in order to read Days of Blood and Starlight. But they are so good. Lyrical, captivating and with such a brilliant and multidimensional cast. Looking forward to the third one for sure!

    Great review! :D

    1. Same here! I'm planning on a reread of all three books once the third one comes out. :)

  2. I loved Daughter of Smoke and Bones and so I can't wait to read this, too. But my sister has her hands on it first so I'll let her finish before I start. Hearing her laugh and gush and seeing all those reactions she has on her face while reading the book makes me go 'ugh! Shut up! Just shut up! Don't say a word!'. She says it's THAT good.

    1. I understand the whole must wait for your sibling to finish a book thing. I have a younger brother, so he typically gets first dibs on anything we both want. I promise though that the wait will be worthwhile. Days of Blood & Starlight is AMAZING!!! :)

  3. I absolutely NEED to purchase this book. I just adore Laini's writing style and even like her MG series. This is bound to be excellent!!

  4. Ah, I keep hearing such amazing things about this series and you made me want to dive into it even more. Thanks for your thoughts!


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