Review: Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

Posted April 9, 2014 by Jessica in Jessica, Reviews, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult / 94 Comments

Review: Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor
Series: Daughter of Smoke & Bone #2
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Published on: November 6 2012
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 517
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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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?

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When I was in college, I had this incredibly obnoxious French professor. The woman made us—grown men and women—sit in a circle and read (in French) basic sentences that would add up to nonsensical stories. Like we were in grade school. The first person would get a slip of paper with the equivalent of, “Jacques went to the door,” followed by something like, “Jacques picked up his keys,” and around we would go until someone got the slip of paper with a single, detested word written on it—Soudain!—at which point a cake would fall on Jacques’ head, or a monkey would jump on his back, etc. The next slip of paper was thankfully the last, saying, “Pauvre, Jacques,” at which time we were all required to make the accompanying sad face, the end. GAH. I hated that woman.

But the story is a good illustration. Jacques is going about his business, doing his thang, when SUDDENLY something completely inexplicable happens.

Kind of like this book.

Do NOT misunderstand me, I love this book, I love this series, but this installment . . . didn’t flow as well as Daughter of Smoke & Bone. In Daughter of Smoke & Bone, I was almost instantly captivated, and nothing else existed until after that last page. In Days of Blood & Starlight, my very first thought was, “how juvenile.” I am of course referring to Zuzana’s determination to fling a urine-filled balloon at Kaz, and yes, I know that using scuppies to give Kaz a cranny-itch in book 1 is not the height of maturity, but it . . . I don’t know . . . wasn’t as distracting. It blended in with the overall picture, whereas this time it stood out like a 15 y.o. boy with his ass hanging out of a car window.

But all of the things that I loved about book 1 are still present here. The forbidden love that isn’t just one more idiotic version of Romeo and Juliet, but something new and wondrous. The sense that something EPIC is going to happen any moment. The FEELS that directly connect you to the characters so that you’re desperate to know the outcome, desperate for Karou and Akiva to somehow get their HEA, desperate for this ridiculous war to finally, FINALLY end.

Plus now there’s Mik. Zuzana is, by herself, plenty of fun and hilarity, but Mik provides a sometimes droll, sometimes earnest, sometimes insightful counterpoint to her shenanigans. And Mik is necessary now that Karou’s memories have been awakened. She’s no longer a 17 y.o. art student in Prague with nothing more worrisome than whether or not Kaz will be at Poison Cafe on her mind. She performs an essential function in a war against an enemy hell-bent on the annihilation and enslavement of her race. So without Mik, Zuzana would flounder. Instead, the two of them make you wistful for first loves, and provide distraction from Karou’s harsh new reality.

It’s a nice touch, I think.

And now we get down to the last 10-15% of the book—the SOUDAIN! portion of this program. Just a few vague and ambiguous, non-spoilery statements, and then I’ll drop it. Promise.

1. It’s told in reverse order which is confusing as hell.

2. The extreme level of revulsion exhibited by both pertinent parties is a little bit OTT (over the top, people, OTT!). On the one hand, it lends credulity to the charade. On the other hand, it’s borderline unbelievably OTT.

3. The only thing that keeps this whole situation from being completely preposterous, is that Karou is unable to resurrect the person she’s unable to resurrect.

In hindsight, I’m wondering if that was why said person was killed in the first place . . . hmmm . . . 

So yeah, there were a few issues, but overall, this is a highly satisfactory sequel. And by “satisfactory,” I mean AMAZEBALLS. If you’ve been putting off reading this series b/c of the cliffhanger endings, stop that nonsense, and stop it now! Dreams of Gods & Monsters came out yesterday! The wait is over. Get ‘er done, peeps! This series is an fantasy/UF crossover that is so good, I recommend reading at least the first book to EVERYONE. So. Go forth and read! If not this, than something else. Who cares? Just read!

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My name is Jessica and I live in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I’m trying my hand at writing, but mostly I read. My favorite genres are Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy, and the YA versions of those genres, but if there is a book of a different color getting lots of buzz, I’ll read it too, just to be informed. If I’m not reading or writing, I’m probably on Goodreads or Pinterest or baking blueberry pies because I love them.

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94 responses to “Review: Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

  1. Your French teacher sounded horrid. Way to ruin a language for some one. 😉

    Okay your review had me giggling, I couldn’t’ help it, this just stood out to me and the immature side of me had to smile. “…this time it stood out like a 15 y.o. boy with his ass hanging out of a car window.”

    Sorry you didn’t enjoy this one as much as the first. I hope you love the last book, I have seen some pretty good reviews for it so I will keep my fingers crossed you love it too.

  2. Your college French professor sounds obnoxious-lol. I can picure everyone sitting in circle, waiting for that slip of paper.

    I’m glad that you enjoyed book two, even with a few bumps. I can’t wait to catch up on this series. I need my HEA 🙂

  3. I agree, I liked the first book a little more, I felt anxious throughout this hole book. A lot darker than Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Are you reading Dream Gods & Monsters? I’m listening 🙂

  4. WHAT!? Dreams of Gods & Monsters came out yesterday!? *Runs to local Barnes & Noble and buys a copy* I absolutely adored this sequel. I was putting it off because I remembered how sad I was after I finished reading Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I fell in love with the characters and story. It was hard to get into another book. But yay! I can’t wait to read the last one! Woot!

  5. Ahh, bad teacher stories. I had a humanities teacher my first year of college who’s final project ( which I aced) consisted of about ten pages of stick figure drawings comeparing things from the past to today. I kid you not one page had a football game next to Roman gladiators. That was the depth of thinking required here.

    • You’re lucky I left out the part about the bean-filled frog (George was his name) that got tossed around in that same class. In COLLEGE! So yeah, I see your stick figures, and raise you stuffed animals, LOL.

      • I call. Every assignment in said class was weighted exactly the same; the final paper, the midterm, and all the silly little worksheets (yeah I said worksheets).

        Your move…..

      • Ye gods, I had one of those too. But it actually ended up working in my favor b/c she allowed us to summarize unassigned Canterbury tales (Medieval & Renaissance Lit.) for XC. So when she ran out of time at the end of the semester (two weeks before finals), and assigned a massive paper on the poetry unit she didn’t have the class time to cover, I just didn’t do it, and still got an A *victory lap* Thwarting that woman was the highlight of my collegiate career 😉

  6. I do understand what you’re saying with this French professor thing 😀 OH THE FEELS OF THIS FORBIDDEN LOVE, JESSICA. THE FEELS. (I need to read DoB&S asap. More like yesterday though.) More Mik and Zuzana? YAYYYY. Me likes. wut? 😀 hahahaha, I don’t understand a thing right now with your three statements, but I’ll see for myself soon. And yep! These books? MUST READ for EVERYONE 🙂 Great review. Jessica!

  7. Your whole first paragraph makes me crazy happy I never took French at your school! *shudders*

    I’m glad you enjoyed this one overall despite a few issues Jessica! I’m having trouble recalling all the details because it’s been a while, but while Daughter of Smoke and Bone definitely remains my favorite of the three in this series, I still had fun reading this second installment:) Looking forward to your thoughts on Dreams of Gods and Monsters!

    • Looking forward to FINISHING Dreams of Gods & Monsters, LOL. That book is enormous! Enormously lovely . . . 😉 And yes, you should be glad you never took French at my school. Although you’d probably be okay now. She was an adjunct professor and I’m pretty sure she’s gone now—Pauvre Madame *snorts*

  8. Pabkins  

    Don’t you always find that second books suffer from the flow issue pretty frequently? I often feel a little bit let down by the second if I love loved the first.

    • Yep. It is definitely hard for a sequel to live up to its predecessor, if the prior book was as FANTASTIC as Daughter of Smoke & Bone was. But that happens to me all over the place in a series. Like Pale Demon. Would I have been as disappointed in A Perfect Blood, if Pale Demon hadn’t been the best book in the series to date (IMO)? I doubt it . . .

  9. I have Daughter of Smoke and Bone and this on my shelf and still haven’t read them! Probably because they’re physical books and not so easy to thrown in my purse…LOL I’m glad to hear the series is worth getting to, even if there are a few hiccups along the way. Your professor story made me laugh, at least you didn’t have a psychology professor that sounded like the Ben Stein in the Visine commercials..this girl did! 😛

  10. I actually waited to read this one because I didn’t want to forget everything before the third book came out. Now I can read them both! That’s too bad about the OTT stuff though, that’s the stuff that bugs me too. I’m also a bit worried about ending up a little confused. I guess we shall see…

    • Don’t worry too much. I still thought it was a wonderful book, and when the OTT stuff is finished happening, there’s still like 8% of the book left, so that by the end, you know and understand what happened, you’re just left sitting there trying to figure out whether or not you buy it. And ultimately I did. Even more so with book 3 (which I’m like 73% into right now).

  11. I know what you mean. I liked this book a lot but I didn’t love it like I did the first one. It wasn’t quite as captivating and I grew frustrated with the romance, still I like the relationship between Mik and Zusanna and I am most eager to dig into book three this weekend.

  12. I know exactly what you mean about the flow. I loved the first book, this one was also great, but it didn’t exactly grab me like Daughter of Smoke & Bone did. It spiraled into angst and self-pity, and I think Zuzanna and her boyfriend was thrown into the mix purposely just to lighten things up a little, or else this would just be one hell of a bleak book. The whole rift between Karou and Akiva, instead of making me root for them more, it actually just made me get annoyed at them both.

    But yes, I’m so happy Dreams of Gods and Monsters is out! Despite my issues with book 2, I’m actually very much looking forward to the conclusion.

    • Yes, book 2 was filled with angst, and Mik and Zuzana performed their function of comic relief admirably. I’m about 3/4 the way through DOGM right now, and it feels MUCH more like book 1—more wonder, less woe. SO. There’s that to look forward too 😉

  13. It’ll be a while before I get to book 3 but I do love this world and I’m a little sad that we’re on the final book. I always find it hard to say goodbye to great series. I love her myth, it’s very exotic. Like you I enjoy the first book better too, the setting was more to my liking.

  14. oh it’s strange to do it in reverse. I haven’t read the series so I can’t compare, but it’s sad Zuzana is a littlemore immature here. Mainly when book 1 was so good. But it’s great to seeyou had a good time as well. I should try the first one.

    • I can’t believe you haven’t started this series yet! It’s so GOOD. I really hope you decide to read it some day b/c these books are pure wonder and pixie dust and starlight<——FANTASTICALLY amazing 😉

  15. Sam

    This is a great review. I re-read this one recently, and understand your points. Though, funnily enough, I liked Daughter of Smoke & Bone just slightly less. Even so, I think both books are amazing. I adored Mik’s character here. And I’m very excited to finally get around to DoGaM. Hopefully soon!

    • I love both them too. And actually in my original review of this one (from the first time I read it), I said that I liked it even more than book 1, so 6 of 1, half-dozen of another . . . they’re both great books 😉

  16. I agree I didn’t find this one as compelling as the first one, overall. I still loved the characters and it was well paced but yeah it was bit middle book-ish. I don’t remember the ending very well though it was told in reverse? I’ll have to re-read that before book 3! >.< Great review, Jessica!

    • Yeah, I highly suggest a reread. I completely forgot the ending! It was like reading it for the first time all over again, and while I was sitting there stunned, my brain slowly reminded me that I already knew that had happened, LOL.

  17. This is such a crazy series. I actually haven’t read the second one (and the third one’s out? Coming out soon, if not…) and boo for the middle-book bits but I so enjoyed the writing in the first one, I’m okay with that. Especially since I hear the third book is fabulous.

  18. Christy

    lol – I’d want the French teacher. I’d weird like that. I am one of those who has put off reading the 1st book, but I know I need to get to is soon now. I busted up laughing at your comment about 15 year old boy with his ass out the car window … ugh, my son has one of THOSE friends. lol.

  19. Even with the few things you mentioned (like OTT stuff) I’m glad you still liked it. And now that the last book is out I just have to wait for the library to get copies so I can read this and the last book! Possibly a re-read of the first too, since I remember nothing.
    Thanks for reviewing it!

  20. After reading your review, all of a SUDAIN! I wanna read this now :))
    I thought the first one was uber awesome, and I have been putting off reading this one so the 3rd would be out. Now I can attack both novels and enojy the Laini Taylor ride 😀

    P.S.: You just have to write a “The Revenge of Jacques” little story and send it to that teacher, because seriously, she’s abusing Jacques way beyond tolerable :)) And at the end of it, all of a SUDAIN! Jacques takes out an acid squirt gun or something and shoots the reader :)) Justice for Jacques!

  21. Your review made me giggle!! -> “this time it stood out like a 15 y.o. boy with his ass hanging out of a car window.”

    I’m glad you enjoyed this overall despite a few issues, I have forgotten the first book but I do remember enjoying it; I really need to pick up a copy of this one.

    How gorgeous are the covers in the series!

    A fabulous review Jessica!

  22. I remember reading this for the first time and being confused with the reverse order thing. I wanted to know ALL the information right away, so it was frustrating learning it bit by bit. I’m glad you enjoyed this overall, though! Got to love foreign language teachers, mine was like that too :/ Just for Spanish, instead.

    • I KNOW! I was like, “wait, what?” And then a few pages later, another flashback. And repeat like 3 or 4 times. The first time through, I had no idea what had happened, I thought she’d been brutalized—it was AWFUL. And seriously, what is it with foreign language teachers, LOL?

  23. I’ve been putting this series off so that I could read them all in one big binge reading session. Glad to know that one is Epic, two is somewhat irritating, but it sounds like you are enjoying three. I’m looking forward to reading the whole series and being able to chat more with you on the FEELS. 🙂 BTW…I can relate to the French teacher story, mine was my college speech teacher…ugh, what an ass he was!

  24. bookaholiccat  

    I agree with you, this book wasn’t as epic as first book, but still it was excellent… and
    Dreams of Gods & Monsters OMG! So good! So good!

  25. Your French teacher sounds horrible.

    And I agree with you. I haven’t read the third one yet, but compared to book one, this one wasn’t as great. It was still incredible, but not up to par with DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE. Still, I love this series SO much. Great review, Jessica!

    • Yeah, pretty much, LOL.

      And definitely. These books are really just varying degrees of pure awesomeness. Liking one more than another just means that one was even MORE spectacular than the still spectacular others 😉

  26. Faye M.  

    Man your French teacher was horrible. I had 7 semesters of French and thankfully none of my teachers (especially that hot Frenchie) did that. I would have whacked their heads together if they even dared 😛 This series sounds so good by the way. I really need to read the first book, stat. Great review, Jessica!

    Faye at The Social Potato Reviews

  27. Michele

    This review was loads of fun — you painted quite the picture! I have this entire series sitting on my shelf giving me the stink eye for having yet to begin them, and I’m beginning to feel guilty. Hopefully soon! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Jessica!

  28. Ah Jessica I need to get to this series, already. Everyone seem to love it and from your review I know it’s gonna be epic. Great review girl and I loved reading it 🙂

  29. I read like every eight line of your review, Jessica, because I plan to finally read this series now that last book is out and I don’t want to spoil it, but I am glad that you enjoyed it despite few “juvenile” moments

  30. I so want that last book! I do think that Mik and Zuzana made this book. I really liked it, but not quite as much as the first. I agree with your assessment of the faults. Still, I want to get that last one and reread the first two before I start that one.

  31. I just have to meet mik and zuzana . I really hope to read this trilogy soon ( I already know what happens in book 1 and two because I spoiled myself on purpose by watching spoilery YouTube book reviews , silly me)

    Just today I heard about the R& J parallel .

    Lovely review , Jessica

    • Thanks! And I hope you get to meet them soon. Since you’re starting from the beginning, I’d suggest reading the novella (A Night of Cake & Puppets) as if it were 1.5 instead of 2.5 b/c that’s really where it fits in the timeline. Just fyi 😉