Book Review of Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

Posted November 22, 2013 by Kara in book review, Lyn / 14 Comments

Book Review of Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini TaylorDays of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor
Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2
Published by Little Brown Books For Young Readers on November 6th, 2012
Genres: fantasy, young adult
Pages: 528
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?

I was a bit late for the Daughter of Smoke and Bone sequel – I felt a bit “meh” for the first one in the series. Sad to say, I also tried to pick this up twice before it actually caught my attention. Laini’s book are an experience; you have to be in the right mood for her work.

This was the last of my Halloween reads, so it was easier to slip back into this landscape during October. I cannot even express how overjoyed I am that I gave this story another chance.

My issues with Daughter of Smoke and Bone all but dissolved in this exciting sequel. The story turn the focus away from the romance and back on the character and their struggle. 

I fell in love how both sides of the romance, Akiva and Karou, developed in each of their storylines. In the last book, I never really grew fond of Akiva, but by the end of the DoSaB, I found myself rooting for him. The audience finally can see how his mind works, and understand what is happening in his head and in his heart. I have to say that Akiva stole the show, and the novel developed for the better.  Akiva and his sibling relationship with Liraz and Hazael steered him away from the “boyfriend fodder” trap and let his true personality rush to the surface and away from all of the muddled mess from the last book.  The course of his actions and his destiny set the stage for quite a few wonderful scenes of the philosophy established from the previous book: mercy, peace, and love. It is always a breath of fresh air to read about family ties and relationships as well as budding romance. I’ve mentioned over and over in previous reviews that other forms of love tend to take a back seat to romance in most YA books. It is an annoying trend, in my opinion. There is an obligatory standard set by the target audience, however, not all love comes solely from romantic partners. I will always welcome a story that wishes to delve into the many forms of bonds and love in the life of a character.

Karou also had many opportunities to shine in this novel, and overall, developed into a complex and multidimensional main character. In the previous installment, Karou came across as spoiled, shallow and a bit self centered. She was eccentric, but her lack of responsibility and emotional range did nothing to provoke warm feelings towards her as a person.  In the second book, her whole persona is stripped clean, and a stronger, enriched girl steps out and takes charge of the course of her future.  Turning Karou into a raw, battered main character who battled against her own mind and her own people was a bold step. It paid off in favor of the story.

The mythology of the angel and chimera war starts to take center stage.  Previously, it was touched upon in the last section of Daughter of Smoke and Bone. The book begins to venture into the world that was simply hinted at previously.  Instead of simply accepting at face value which side to sympathize for, Taylor now puts her readers right into the heart of her other world.  Often brutal and horrifying, Days of Blood and Starlight pits morality against reason, right versus wrong, and hope against the worst odds.  The story starts to lean towards tragedy, and the climatic event for both sides will rip the heart right out of the reader. This book is going to expose some raw feelings and new respect for the two sides of the ethnic war raging inside the series.

There was very little I disliked about the book.  Zuzana is, sadly, still annoying and still seems to come off as arrogant and needy. I really wish I could bond with this character, but everything about her causes me to roll my eyes when I am forced to read about her.

Overall, this is a solid follow up to the first story. It is rare to see a sequel surpass the first book in the series, but Days of Blood and Starlight fairly won the right to become the strongest book (so far).



14 responses to “Book Review of Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

  1. At first, I had a hard time deciding if I liked it better or not. But by the end it completely won me over. This one was soooo amazing. I’m glad you liked it!! Unlike you though, I love Zuz. I like her as the friend she is and her cute relationship with Mik. I don’t think I’d be fond of reading them as main characters, but they are fantastic supporting characters imo. 🙂
    My heart still aches for Hazael. *cries* And that’s all I’ll say so I don’t put spoilers on your page. 🙂 I agree with you so much here in your review!
    The ending wasn’t quite the awful cliffhanger the first one gave us at least, but I’m still nail-biting for the next for sure. <3


    • Hazael was just horrible. I was happy that Laini let us get closer to them and love them. It was horrible to read that last part.

      I am so freaking stoked for the next one!!

  2. I really enjoyed book 1 but haven’t been able to get to book 2 yet. I wasn’t a great fan of Zuzana, so it’s a shame she is still a little annoying here.

    Lovely review, Lyn! <33

    • I know. I think I am one of the few that finds her freaking annoying.
      I LOVE the title of the book, but I think I will avoid the story. It makes me very very sad.

  3. I really loved Daughter of Smoke and Bone so I can’t wait to read this. I actually listened to the first book on audio and it was one of the best audiobooks I’ve ever listened to so I just need to find long drives I guess so I can listen to this book. I guess I keep putting it off because it is so long. I’m truly glad that with this book you were able to connect better and loved the story. The story is so complex that you do have to be in the right mood but it is well worth it.

    Thanks for the great review!

    • The second book is very VERY long. I’m happy that I decided to give it another shot before I turned off of it completely. It was so complex and mind blowing!

  4. I’ve been kind of ignoring this title, though I do have a copy of it. Really, Daughter of Smoke and Bone was so dense and oftentimes boring, that I know it will take a lot from me to finally get into Days of Blood and Starlight. There were many issues I had despite the beautiful (if not sometimes purple) writing and the expansive mythology, namely in the romance. I am also so surprised at how much people seem to love Karou, even though, to me, she is quite the Mary Sue.

    It’s great to hear that this next installment is an improvement. I’ll be happy to finally part with the romance and focus more on the amazing world that Lani has built for her characters.

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