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?
Book Review: 5 stars
Warning: This review contains spoilers for book 1 & 2 in this series.
I am in absolute adoration of Laini Taylor! Her masterful way of creating a story that clutches onto readers attention and plays at their imagination strings until the very last page will ensure a long lasting effect of awe at her pure talent.
Days of Blood and Starlight picks up right where book 1 finished. And to be honest it took me a while to remember what had happened in the first book, but there are subtle hints every now and again which makes it easier for the reader to dive back into this wonderful world. So in Daughter of Smoke and Bone we leave Akiva and Karou who after breaking the wishbone realise that loving each other is going to be a bit more complicated than they originally thought. Especially since Akiva, who after his love Madrigal (who is also Karou since she was resurrected) was beheaded by the Wolf, went on a murderous rampage and ended up killing those most dearest to Madrigal/Karou.
“Yeah? Okay,” she said, staring up into the stars. “Let’s see. You know how, at the end of Romeo and Juliet, Juliet wakes up in the crypt and Romeo’s already dead? He thought she was dead so he killed himself right next to her?”
“Yeah. That was awesome.” A pause, followed by “Ow,” suggested elbow punctuation on the part of Mik.
Karou ignored it. “Well, imagine if she woke up and he was still alive, but…” She swallowed, waiting out a tremor in her voice. “But he had killed her whole family. And burned her city. And killed and enslaved her people.”
Days of Blood and Starlight | Laini Taylor
And so they are apart until they realise that they were selfish in dreaming of a world that would only be perfect for them to finally be together. The story therefore jumps between the focus of several main characters. You have Karou who is now working with Thiago, Akiva who is back with his siblings fighting in the war, and Zuze and Mik who are trying to find out what happened to Karou. In regards to Eretz, well it has pretty much gone to shit because Joram is committing mass genocide, and since there is no resurrectionist because Akiva killed Brimstone there is little Chimaera left. There is so much bloodshed and although some scenes were gruesome as a reader you truly understood the pain and sacrifice of each character during this time. Especially in the final pages with Kiri. Oh Kiri, the last of the Kirin. He is just so sweet and has always longed for Karou ever since he was a child, and his sacrifice in the end. I love him.
In addition to this I marvelled in Taylor’s ability to write the motivations of each side in a war that has been raging for years. To describe it with such authenticity that you are able to envision scenes lifting out of the pages of the book and playing out right in front of you. Lets not forget the naming of chapters as well, and her ability to build suspense like no other I have read. It was perfect. Her writing is perfect.
Zuzanna and Mik are by far my favourite story. I love their witty banter and how they are able to give Karou a tie to the human world, a place to call home I guess throughout the destruction. With such a dark theme throughout this book Zuze and Mik definitely are a shining force of light. Taylor uses these characters to her full advantage easing you back into this high fantasy world within the first few pages.
It was also great to learn more about Liraz and Haezal, seeing another perspective of the angels history, and how being Misbegotten has ruined their lives. I loved learning more about theirs and Akivas past and how this all ties in to their desire for a better future. Gosh! And Akiva is like a freakin magical god! He should really teach others how to exploded the sky and everything..could come in handy.
Since these books are high fantasy there are a lot of new terms to learn, and I did find myself getting lost amongst some the names for species of Chimaera or the varying level of soldiers in the seraphim army. We are introduced to a few more characters and it just fascinating to realise who these Chimaera were to Karou when she was Madrigal and who they have become now after her ‘betrayal.’
I honestly can’t wait for the next book! The final scene with Karou and Akiva staring at each other in the caves on the eve of battle and then Ziri looking at Karou, well you know its going to be an EPIC conclusion!