November 9, 2015

Book Review: Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor



Publication Date: November 6, 2012

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?


"Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a new way of living--one without massacres and torn throats and bonfires of the fallen, without revenants or bastard armies or children ripped from their mothers' arms to take their turn in the killing and dying.

"Once the lovers lay entwined in the moon's secret temple and dreamed of a world that was like a jewel box without a jewel--a paradise waiting for them to find it and fill it with their happiness.

"This was not that world."


Daughter of Smoke and Bone enraptured me some years ago and its sequel, Days of Blood and Starlight, similarly captured my imagination and heart from the first page and would not relinquish it even to the last.

Days of Blood and Starlight is a successor epic in scope - Taylor admirably expands upon the wildly romantic Daughter and takes readers to the darker, war-ravaged world of the chimaera and seraphim. There is plenty of blood spilt in Days, but characters from the different sides begin to question what it is they're fighting for. War is depicted in all of its facets and perspectives, from Misbegotten angel soldiers, avenging rebels, to innocent refugees caught in the crosshairs.

Although war is at the forefront of this novel, its myriad characters' plights, seraphim and chimaera, as well as humans, give Days its stirring emotional depth. As in Daughter, I had some "Oh, no!" heart-wrenching moments with new and familiar faces. However, I was very glad that although Days leaves Prague behind, Zuzana and Mik appear in delightful scenes to balance the darkness of the rest of the book.

Mirroring the narrative shift of the trilogy, Karou also undergoes a similar transformation from naive teenage girl of the first book to a guilt and anger-ridden force within the Chimaera. She and Akiva, in their own separate narratives, undergo soul-searching and try to find their true purpose while still longing for each other. As the title promises, there is a bit of bittersweet Starlight in this sequel, all the more effective when juxtaposed with the brutality of the endless war.

Days of Blood and Starlight has everything I loved in Daughter of Smoke and Bone: amazingly imagined fantasy world; suspenseful plot; characters that won my heart and my avid hate, alike; and above all, exquisite writing.

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