Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
Release Date: November 6th, 2012
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 517 Pages
Age Group: Young Adult
Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2
Follow up to: Daughter of Smoke and Bone
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 so excited to pick up this sequel to Daughter of Smoke & Bone. I was actually in an airport, waiting on a flight when I grabbed this book…I couldn’t resist. The cover was gorgeous and I so loved the first book, that I needed to know how Akiva and Karou’s story continued.
I don’t want to give a synopsis of the story, but I do want to highlight a characteristic of the book and Taylor’s writing that hit me like a brick wall: the emotion. There was so much pain, longing, guilt, and even hope (as the GR synopsis says). The storyline incorporates and explores so many new and old characters in ways that give the story more depth and breadth. The two worlds that co-exist are more expansive and encompassing than I ever thought. The lines between good and evil, light and dark, become so blurred and convoluted that it is difficult to manage the cognitive dissonance that rooting for the “monsters” creates.
Akiva struggles to redeem himself, while Karou struggles to find answers, protect herself, and figure out who is an ally or enemy. Even her mortal, human friends are caught in the crossfire when they decide to go looking for Karou when she falls off of the grid.
There are so many hard decisions that must be made, alliances that are forged out of necessity, and sins that the characters want and need to be absolved. This journey gives such a personal look into what makes up the characters of Akiva and Karou. The plot is riddled with twists, turns, betrayals, tragic losses, sacrifices, heroic deeds, and even, possibly, victorious beginnings to something new.
If you enjoyed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, then I urge and beg you to read the second installment of this series. I enjoyed it immensely, both the content and the quality of writing that Laini Taylor never fails to provide to her readers.