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
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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?
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!