Title: Days of Blood and Starlight
Author: Laini Taylor
Series: Daughter of Smoke & Bone #2
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Rating: 4 / 5
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? (goodreads.com)
WARNING!! Spoilers for both Daughter of Smoke and Bone and Days of Blood and Starlight follow. Proceed with caution!
Oh, Karou! Oh, Akiva! You guys, I can’t even with this book. I just can’t. I felt so horrible for both of them because, despite how it was all Akiva’s fault that Brimstone is dead and Thiago is in control and he’s a warlord maniac and Karou was trapped with him (albeit of her own doing), he really didn’t mean to hurt her and he tries so, so hard to make it up to her and oh, look, I’m rambling.
The second book in the series, Days of Blood and Starlight picks up just a little while after Daughter of Smoke and Bone left off. We spend the first few chapters with Akiva, then with Zuzana and Mik (sort of, it’s really e-mails sent from Zuzana to Karou, with no response). It’s a little meatier than Daughter of Smoke and Bone, since instead of being introduced to characters we actually have a huge conflict (from Brimstone being dead, which leads to Karou taking over his position, to Thiago, to Joram and Jael and the Dominion). Each character is facing his or her own battles, and at times it gets a little bogged down, but Laini Taylor brings it right back out again, moving effortlessly from scene to scene without pause. The scene jumping, and the little mini-chapters, keep the book feeling light, despite the sometime hopelessness of the whole situation, for both Karou and Akiva.
Laini Taylor weaves her tale masterfully. I actually really like her writing style. It flows well for me, with quick, short little chapters followed by longer ones. She even works in the run-on sentences and fragments well, and I really have to commend her for that. I’ve seen authors try it, and it doesn’t turn out well at all, but Ms. Taylor weaves the short in with the long so well that it really, to me, seems like a bit of a tapestry of words. She has a talent for drawing the reader in, and not letting go. Her books (so far that I’ve read) are very emotionally draining (which probably explains why it took so long for me to read this entire thing).
With the sequel, we also get a slew of new characters, from Ten, Thiago’s right-hand wolf, to Ziri, the last Kirin. I so, so loved Ziri. And the other “good” chimaera. A few of them somewhat blended together for me, since there were just so many and I was in such a rush to read the book because it was just that good. We also get glimpses of angels that aren’t Misbegotten, and chimaera that don’t belong to Thiago’s army (they’re simply folk trying to live, not be soldiers). Of course, nothing good ever comes of that, though there are a few chimaera that I’m hoping to see survive and get updates on during the third book.
Sequels both work and don’t work for me. As I said previously, we are introduced to a lot of new characters. A lot of time is spent setting the scene for the final battle (the third book, as it were). Sometimes, I get so bogged down in the set-up that it feels like the book had no substance. In this case, it had a little too much substance. But on the whole that’s fine if book 3 doesn’t flop in terms of tying everything up nicely. Which I hope it does.
I imagine that the third book is going to be even longer than this one. With so many ends to tie up (will Karou and Akiva find peace between them? Will the angels and the chimaera live together in harmony? Will Akiva find his mother’s people? Will Zuzana and Mik get married, or at least engaged?), I really can’t imagine anything but an even longer story… And I look forward to it. Immensely.
(Guys, book 3 isn’t slated to be out until April 2014. WAT?!)