September 12, 2013

Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

Title: Days of Blood and Starlight (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, #2)
Author: Laini Taylor
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publish Date: November 6, 2012
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Rating: 5/5 Stars

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?
I cannot stress enough how beautiful the writing is in these books. It's spun with gorgeous imagery and flawless phrases that make it look easy, as if I could write something that perfect without even lifting a finger (I wish).

There are many sequels I've read where, if there are lovers involved in the story, they have relationship issues over the course of the entire novel, issues that always seem to be solved by the end of the story. Needless to say, this is not that story--it's better.

Akiva and Karou aren't together anymore, but there still seems to be that hint of chemistry between the two of them. It is, in a way, the internal conflict while they both yearn for the past. They go their separate ways and do their separate things, and when they do meet, there are tears and unsaid words and a whole lot of regret pushed into the empty space between them. Still, we seem to get just the right about of interaction between them to keep us reaching for more. And towards the end of the book, when they have sort-of-maybe-I-hope made amends, we feel as if they are somewhat reunited, even though we know a lot more work has to be done on their relationship before they can ever truly get back together.

But their relationship isn't the center of the book--not by a long shot. Many of Karou's thoughts are floating around. They're confusing, conflicting, and all in all very heartbreaking. She's lost Brimstone, Issa, her entire family. Even Zuze and Mik aren't where she is. She has nothing and no one left but Thiago, and as the book progresses, he begins to lose Karou's trust too.

The plot is evenly paced with fast and exciting action scenes thrown in every hundred pages or so. The characters grow just as much as the plot, which extends the story itself. The ending leaves us hanging but also with a small sense of satisfaction.

Well done, Laini Taylor.

On a side note, the cover of the third and final book in the trilogy, Dreams of Gods and Monsters (coming out April 2014), was just revealed a few days ago, and it's PERFECT. *squeals like a true fangirl* And there's a synopsis, too!

By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her, if there can even be a future for the chimaera in war-ravaged Eretz. 
Common enemy, common cause. 
When Jael's brutal seraph army trespasses into the human world, the unthinkable becomes essential, and Karou and Akiva must ally their enemy armies against the threat. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people. 
And, perhaps, for themselves. Toward a new way of living, and maybe even love. 
But there are bigger threats than Jael in the offing. A vicious queen is hunting Akiva, and, in the skies of Eretz ... something is happening. Massive stains are spreading like bruises from horizon to horizon; the great winged stormhunters are gathering as if summoned, ceaselessly circling, and a deep sense of wrong pervades the world. 
What power can bruise the sky? 
From the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond, humans, chimaera and seraphim will fight, strive, love, and die in an epic theater that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy.  
At the very barriers of space and time, what do gods and monsters dream of? And does anything else matter?

Anyway, go read Daughter of Smoke and Bone so you can read Days of Blood and Starlight. And then this, when it comes out! Because it's definitely worth your time.

3 comments:

  1. This sounds like a great read. I have put off reading The Daughter of Smoke and Bone for too long. Hopefully I will get to it soon.
    -Dilettantish Reader

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  2. The writing is really amazing, as are the characters. This one was such an intense read for me. I really liked it, but definitely had to read something lighter and happier afterwards. Great review!

    Tressa @ Tressa's Wishful Endings

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