Title: Days of Blood and Starlight
Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2
Author: Laini Taylor
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Published: November 6th, 2012 (Little, Brown BYR)
Synopsis: 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 held a wishbone between them.
And it’s snap split the world in two.
Karou has finally discovered the truth of who she is and still reeling from the revelation of what happened to Brimstone and the others, she has returned to Eretz seeking revenge and is living amongst the Chimaera again. Only, she finds herself under the White Wolf’s thumb, working on what used to be Brimstone’s job – resurrecting the Chimaera who fall in battle. Akiva is back with Hazael and Liraz, having told them the full truth, but he is struggling to return to his old life and refuses to harm another Chimaera. But in the Seraphim capital of Astrae, the political situation is escalating – the Emperor and those around him have some dangerous plans in mind, and it may be up to Akiva to thwart them.
“Dead souls dream only of death. Small dreams for small men. It is life that expands to fill worlds.
Life is your master, or death is.”
With how good a read the first book was, I expected to see some signs of second book syndrome in this one, but to my surprise, it was a solid read from beginning to end. The focus of the story shifts between Eretz and Morocco in this second book, where with Karou taking over as the resurrectionist, the war between the Chimaera and the Seraphim continues. The tone of the narrative is markedly darker this time, and there were very few light moments to balance things out, courtesy of Zuzana, as this book mostly focuses on the ongoing conflict.
The way the lay of the land was introduced in book one portrayed the Seraphim as the villains and the Chimaera as the victims – which, while a fascinating twist, could not have held up as realistic for too long. As more of the history between the two are revealed, it becomes obvious that things are not as clear cut as they initially seemed.
“Mercy breeds mercy as slaughter breeds slaughter. We can’t expect the world to be better than we make it.”
With her memories from her life as Madrigal of the Kirin returned, Karou has a lot to work through, and the growth her character undergoes in this book is fantastic. I previously mentioned that I couldn’t really connect with Akiva, but this book more than made up for it. We get a better idea of who he is, what his life has been like and more importantly, the burden he has carried since Madrigal’s death. His siblings, Hazael and Liraz, had more of a role to play as well and I loved their characters. I also loved how the romance subplot took a complete backseat this time around, especially since it was one of the things I didn’t enjoy too much in the first book. However, I am looking forward to seeing if Akiva and Karou work things out going forward, as given the amount of character development that has taken place so far, I think it would feel more realistic now.
The only thing I didn’t like about this book was that it felt too long, and the first part especially could have been condensed a lot since there wasn’t really much happening.
Overall, this was a much stronger sequel than I expected. It was evenly paced and engaging throughout and the unpredictable plot twists made it so hard to put down! With how things stand at the end of this book, I’m very interested to see where the story is going to lead in the finale, and I would definitely recommend this series for fantasy fans.
Have you read this book? Let me know in the comments below!
Other reviews in this series: