Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Days Of Blood And Starlight by Laini Taylor - Book Review

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 have made no secret of my absolute love for this story.  I tell anyone who will listen all about the beautiful, heart-breaking world Laini Taylor has created, and the even more beautiful and heart-breaking prose with which she paints it.  Karou, the beautiful beast in the skin of a human girl, who calls monsters her family, and Akiva, the tortured angel who will never know what he could have been, who he could have been, because of an ages-old war that has bred him to be nothing more than a tool of blood and death.  Two beings a war-ravaged world would call enemies, but who have found love and happiness in each other’s arms despite all odds.
And the cruel fate that ripped it away after a few short weeks, hiding Karou from the truth of herself and her fate for seventeen years, and turning Akiva into an angel of vengeance who learns the existence of the hope and redemption he’d long since given up on, but only when it’s too late.
Karou’s family is dead, her people are doomed, and the angel she had the audacity to love is to blame.  No matter that he regrets his actions with every breath he takes.  No matter that he would bleed a thousand times over in repentance, dedicate an undeserved life to undo his wrongs and see their dream of peace alive again.  All Karou knows of family is now nothing more than black ink etched on angel fingers, and no amount of remorse can make her forgive the roll her lover played in their deaths.

Fans of Daughter Of Smoke And Bone are in for a very different story with Days Of Blood And Starlight.  Gone is the light whimsy, the all-encompassing romance.  They are replaced instead with war and heart-break, loss and regret.  There will doubtlessly be people disappointed with the new direction of this book, but I am not one of them.  Time and time again, Laini Taylor has proven to me that she is a rare breed of YA author, one who doesn’t take the easy or popular way out.  You simply cannot go from Akiva’s betrayal in Daughter Of Smoke And Bone to forgiveness and love in this one.  To ignore the war that is all either species has ever known to instead focus on kissing and flushed skin would have done this novel a great injustice, and I for one am thrilled to see a popular YA author finally realize that there are more important things to write about than an end-all, be-all romance.

That’s not to say that there is nothing at all happening with the tortured lovers.  There are teases, snatches, hints at a hope for the great love we all want to see.  They’re dampened by the fury coursing through Karou, and the more important work both are doing, but they are there.  Playing on our emotions, bringing tears to our eyes, and filling us with the thing this story lives and breathes on, the thing more powerful than the magic and fire; hope.

I loved this book.  From the very first page, Karou’s fiery, pixie-like friend Zuzana had me laughing, and her relationship with boyfriend Mik is nothing less than a charming spot of light in a novel heavy with darkness.  I felt Karou’s desperation and the weight of her work, and Akiva’s all-encompassing guilt and fierce desire to see an end to the war that is all his people have ever known.  I fell in love with new characters and shared laughs with old, and felt my blood boil with fury and hatred for the vilest of both species.  I cried with them, laughed with them, felt my heart grow heavy for them.

I’ve heard people say that the mark of a great writer is one who can make his/her readers see everything using just their words, but I don’t agree with that.  To me, the mark of a great writer is one who can make his/her readers feel everything using just their words, and Days Of Blood And Starlight had me on a rollercoaster of emotion that made it hard to remember that it’s just words in a book.

I’ll be honest; there were times where DOB&S suffered from middle-book-syndrome, especially in the first half.  There is a chunk of the novel that focuses just a bit too much on war, with not a whole lot of story progression.  Because of that, I’d say I liked Daughter Of Smoke And Bone just a bit more than this one, but that does not in any way imply that Days Of Blood And Starlight isn’t one of the best novels I’ve read this year.  It is fantastic, and left me breathless and itching to get my hands on the final novel of the trilogy.
It is going to be another loooooong year of waiting.

Days Of Blood And Starlight - 5 out of 5 stars


  1. Great review! I'm dying to read Days of Blood & Starlight but I have to wait until I can get a copy :(

    1. Thanks! Lol I am so obsessed with this series that I put aside the money for the copy months ago so I could get it the day it came out. The only other books I did that with were the Hunger Games seques, and the Vampire Academy books.

      I can't wait to see what you think of it, because it's such a different experience than DOSAB.

    2. I'm going to get it for Christmas probably, I need it so bad.
      I'm super jealous that you've read it alread haha =^_^=


As you may or may not know, life is eating up way too much of my spare time right now, so pretty please don't hate me if it takes me a few days to get back to your wonderful comments. I read each and every one from my phone, and they always make my day. <3