Days of Blood & Starlight (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2)Featured
Where Laini Taylor's first novel in the series was all about love, discovery, and the creation of a beautiful world; DAYS OF BLOOD & STARLIGHT is full of death, war, and the destruction of many worlds. That will never hold my interest, no matter how gorgeous Taylor's writing is. Her sentences are still as wonderfully descriptive, but what they describe does not appeal to me.
The second novel in a trilogy is always challenging...the story needs to be moved ahead, but there can be no real resolution, and a beloved character or two usually gets the chop. The only reason I kept reading DAYS OF BLOOD & STARLIGHT is because I am convinced that Taylor will give readers the satisfying conclusion that they deserve.
Laini Taylor can WRITE!
The sequel to Daughter of Smoke and Bone was totally not what I was expecting! It was great as we got to learn more about the war in Eretz and the process of resurrection done by Karou. Things are quite different than they were in the first book. Though it started out a bit sad, it totally picked up when Zuzana and Mike showed up! Looking forward to the third book.
Thank you for bringing such a world into the world....
and much more thanks after that,
p.s. so glad for the Epilogue
Nothing like Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Days of Blood & Starlight had no room for blood-pumping romance or self-discovery. The absence of happiness was felt in every moment, leaving a bleakness that permeated each page. With delicate and simple prose, Taylor wove a tale of endless heartache with perfect pacing that was so achingly beautiful it hurt. Unlike many of her peers that shy away from the gritty details of how much is required of the protagonist in order to succeed, Taylor embraced the challenge. With the fate of the world at stake, Taylor truly allowed us to experience just how devastating the war had been for both sides, the disturbing choices that both sides had to make in order to weaken their enemies and the sacrifices demanded by everyone involved. At each turn, Taylor helped us to feel both the weight of Karou’s duty to the Chimera and her guilt for her role in their demise.
Karou is unrecognizable, her vitality and zest for life replaced by an all-consuming shame for her involvement with Akiva. Having lost everything and everyone close to her in her life, she’s a mere shell of the person she once was, resigned to work with the Chimera in an effort to undue the harms she feels she has caused. Using her own flesh for tithe, causing physical pain to temporarily obstruct her emotional hurt, she makes her way through this new world in a daze. Yet somehow, she remains as determined and strong as she was in Daughter of Smoke & Bone. Her feelings of duty to her people, and her need to perform penance were her motivators in the face of daily threats to her life, and isolation from those few people left with whom she held dear. I couldn’t help but admire her courage, even during her weakest moments, especially when she was faced with the one who led to her unravelling – Akiva.
Akiva underwent such tremendous character development in Days of Blood & Starlight that I not only began to understand him, but I also started to respect him. While he coveted Karou from afar, he was mindful of how deeply he had betrayed her trust and was mostly respectful of keeping his distance. His determination to save Karou from further harm was why I found his actions so genuine – he wasn’t helping Chimera and leading a revolution because he thought it would reunite him with Karou; he was doing those things because he realized how futile war – how meaningless cruelty and vengeance – were. It was nice to see him develop on his own, independently of Karou, rather than as an extension of her.
Dedicated to expanding the world we only caught mere glimpses of in Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Days of Blood & Starlight is a gorgeously crafted sequel that I would argue is even better than its predecessor.
This is not a happy book. The first book wasn’t exactly sunshine and rainbows, but it did have a more cheerful tone than this one. Days of Blood and Starlight is war and betrayal, so I frowned far more often than I smiled. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but it’s fitting given the circumstances. There was one scene where I forgot to breathe. It’s all just very intense. Some of the author’s wit and humor did work its way into the story though, so it’s not all death and despair all of the time.
Why are five star review so hard to write?! It’s easier to write about what I didn’t like, which is odd, but I’ll start with that. I hated that the book ended and now I have to wait an eternity for the finale. Now, what did I liked? Everything except that it ended and now I have to wait an eternity for the finale. Yep, that’s pretty much it. I suppose I can get more specific though, if I must.
First of all, I loved how Zuzana (and Mik) was still present! I loved her in the first book, and I figured that the Chimaera/Seraphim war would keep her away from Karou. However, she’s there and provides plenty of comic relief from the depressing stuff. It was also nice to see Karou smile after all that she’s been through.
I also loved how we got to see the war from several different angles. There’s Karou in Morocco, Akiva in Eretz and the Empire, Zuzana gives a human perspective, and there’s the refugees in Eretz. It’s all bad from all sides, but I still enjoyed having each of these perspectives. It added to the experience, and I just adored all of the world building it allowed for.
There’s so many twists and turns along the way, that I could never figure out what would come next. Some things ended up becoming worse than I imagined, while others weren’t quite as bad as my mind was anticipating. There was only one thing that I did figure out in the beginning, and I was so happy when it was actually revealed! It was one rare moment of smiling during the book.
Anyway, I loved this book. This series is super fantastic, magical, exciting, romantic, and heartbreaking. I have no idea what the final book has in store for Karou, Akiva, and everyone else, but I do hope that love triumphs in the end!
So believe me when I say that Days of Blood & Starlight killed me. This book tore me up into little pieces and ripped open my chest and stomped on my heart and gave me only one option: love it. I got this gushy feeling in my stomach while I was reading this, like it was so amazing it made my chest hurt.
Laini Taylor is flawless. She’s the real deal; her writing is mature and eloquent, the themes she deals with are relevant and tastefully portrayed, her characters are authentic, and her story is enchanting and riveting. If I were to pick one book published this year that takes the teenage reader seriously and has appeal for audiences of all ages, it would have to be Days of Blood & Starlight.
So, I do admit that I was not as enthused to pick up this book as I could have been. In my opinion, Taylor completely botched up the final hundred pages of Daughter of Smoke & Bone, so even though I really loved that book, I wasn’t enthralled. But within 50 pages of Days of Blood & Starlight, I was right back on the bandwagon, and—except for the scene were Zuze claims that in order to be a “real woman” you have to lose your virginity—Taylor never once let me down, lost my interest, or did anything but win my eternal devotion and admiration.
What I loved most about Days of Blood & Starlight was that it completely broke the “YA mold.” The majority of fiction published for teens has a huge emphasis on romance and finding “true love”—or as true as love gets when you’re a hormone-drugged 16 year-old. That was so, so far from the case in this book.
Days of Blood & Starlight is a book about war. War where there is no “good” or “bad” side. This a book about a war where civilians make up most of the deaths, on both sides; where army generals have forgotten why they’re fighting, whose only goal is to kill as many people as they can before their own death; this is a book about soldiers who are horrified by the things they’ve been ordered to do, but can’t lay aside their weapons because they’re too afraid of what their commanders would do to them. Mercy is weakness, bloodlust is king.
It’s a sickening picture, made more so by the connections readers can make to today.
And in the middle of it all is Karou, who is one of my favorite female protagonists. She’s devoted to her cause, shows remarkable strength and resourcefulness, and at the end of the day is willing to risk it all in order to do what she believes is right. She struggles with herself, with her love for an enemy solider who betrayed her, with her position as a bridge between the human world and the land of monsters.
At the end of the day, I was completely captivated and bewitched by Days of Blood & Starlight. I love this book in a way that goes beyond anything I was expecting or hoping for. Truly, I have only one problem: how do these people expect me to wait an entire year to see what happens next?
I was petrified to start this one, after the way the first book ended I had the worst ideas as to what Laini Taylor was going to do. Thankfully I was wrong but this book is still pretty difficult. There is a lot more killing and blood shed than in the first one and it's just so dark, but still unbelievably magical.
This time around we get to see how the characters act through different eyes: such as Zuzana and Mik's as well as Ziri and Akiva's. This added a great aspect to the book and I really enjoyed seeing things from different characters.
I kept praying that Karou and Akiva would work everything out and just be together, but seeing how they were apart for most of the book I was pretty sad. There are parts when they seem to be growing close again but then something happens and it is forced away. Hopefully the next one will provide us with a little more Karou/Akiva.
The writing is still magical and amazing. Laini Taylor is a master and no matter what she's writing whether it was sweet and fully of magic like Daughter of Smoke & Bone or dark and gritty like Days of Blood & Starlight, she can pull it off flawlessly.
If you were a fan of the first you definitely need to check this one out right away. It is darker but it still provides you with a sense of hope even when everything seems like it is falling apart. I will be waiting not so patiently for the next installment of this series which comes out next year.