Days of Blood & Starlight Book Review

daysofbloodandstarlightTitle: Days of Blood & Starlight
Series: Book 2 in Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy
Author: Laini Taylor
Publisher: Little, Brown Books
Publication Date: November 6, 2013
Genre: Young Adult – Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 513
Format: Purchased Paperback

As this is the sequel, there will be spoilers in this review.

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?

This sequel held many aspects I wasn’t expecting, and it was just as beautiful, if not more intense, than the first.

I found this sequel to be a little slow at the beginning, but I don’t know if that was because I was in a reading slump at the time. But once I got more into the story and saw a lot more happening than what I first thought, I was hooked.

The storyline picked up right where it left off, or just a short time after, and it was interesting to see just how different the characters were for one reason or another: Karou knew the truth of her past; Akiva had his own guilts to deal with; many things had happened in the time between what happened in the last book until now and it was just mind blowing to see just what was going on.

I thought that this book was a bit more intense and serious than the last. It focused more on the war aspect, and a lot more on resurrection and plots and vengeance than I was expecting. It did have a few light-hearted moments, but this book was mostly one in which dealt with a lot of different action sequences from one to the next and the next.

This book followed a lot more perspectives than the last, too, where it included not on Karou’s and Akiva’s points of view, but also a seriph soldier, the White Wolf, a new/old friend, and several others. I thought that the way Laini Taylor placed those new voices into the story truly benefitted it rather than hindered it as it was good to see what was happening in both worlds and in completely different places in those worlds.

As for the characters, I thought that Karou was being a bit too rash when it came to some things, though I could understand where her anger was coming from. She tried to do her best with what she had to do, but I also just think that she could have tried to be stronger or acted more on certain things. Though she was broken emotionally and tried to be strong in front of others for her own safety, when she was around friends and finally had some glimmers of hope, I think that’s where she really shined.

I really enjoyed getting to see more of her knowing that she’s chimera, as well. Though she struggles in her environment, and with her memories, I think that by having her memories unlocked she was able to deal with a lot more than if she hadn’t had those memories back in the first place. And a few times I wanted to smack her because I thought she was just trying too hard to be mad at Akiva. Or maybe that was just me wishing for some more romance. Who knows?

At first I thought Akiva was just being too… emotionless? Reckless? I’m not sure what the word is that I’m looking for, but I thought that he was just kind of floating there for a while. But I did love that he was extremely brave and tried to save as many chimera as possible before the seriph slaughtered them. I think those moments really showed his character and how much he changed from before and after he met Karou/Madrigal.

As time progressed in the story, I thought that Akiva was holding a lot more secrets than he originally let on, but I also think that he, himself, doesn’t know what those secrets are. The fact that he was able to experience certain things was interesting and I really want to see it come into play in the next book.

We also got to see parts of the story from Thiago, whom I dislike greatly; Ziri, who is an awesome friend for Karou and just a gentle soul for sure; Zuzana, whom I love because of her fiery spirit and her willingness to just chill with some monsters; and others. It was definitely a treat to be able to read parts of the story from these other perspectives because it showed multiple events happening at once, but in different places and in different worlds. Plus there was some extra backstory in a few places, which is always nice to have.

I think that the next book is going to be an epic one. There’s going to be a lot more battling and war, and probably more loss occurring, but I also have hope for Karou and Akiva, and all the others, and I really am excited to see what happens next.

Overall, I thought this was a strong sequel. It didn’t falter from the original storyline, but added to it, and I think that we definitely got to know the characters better and that we got to see more of who they are and just what they’re fighting for. And as always, Laini Taylor’s writing is beautiful and strong.

I rated this book 4.5/5 stars and highly recommend it if you’ve read the first book.