Book Review: Days of Blood & Starlight (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #2) by Laini Taylor

13389182Title: Daughter of Smoke & Bone
Author: Laini Taylor
Publisher: Little Brown For Young Readers
Pub Date: November 6, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 517
Source: Library
Genre(s): YA, Fantasy, Romance
Rating: ★★★★
Goodreads || Buy on Amazon

Synopsis from Goodreads:

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?

My review:

“Tomorrow they will start the apocalypse. Tonight, they let themselves look at each other, for just a little while.”

I almost gave up on this book. Almost. But I am so glad that I pushed through my boredom and frustration.

The beginning of the novel was a mess. It was excruciatingly slow, the alternating voices were confusing, and the setting was scattered. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have to re-read several passages just to figure out what was going on and who was talking. All that being said, I am so glad that I pushed through the dragging bits because Taylor’s writing magic kicked in somewhere around the halfway point and I couldn’t put the book down after that.

Now let’s talk about the plot—vaguely—because I don’t want to spoil anyone. There’s hardly any romance in this sequel, which is fine by me, but the story wasn’t as emotional as I was expecting it to be. I wanted to feel the angst and misery from Karou and Akiva, but I had a hard time feeling anything for them. I wanted to root for their relationship but I couldn’t. I think I was just too distracted by all the other things going on… like the systematic death and destruction of innocent beings. It was a lot to wrap my mind around but it was engaging. Despite my initial confusion, seeing the different sides of the almost-a-war-but-not-really-a-war was really interesting.

There are so many characters to mention but I’ll keep this brief:
(1) I hate Ten and Thiago and Jael and Joram. They are easy to hate.
(2) I love Zuzana and Ziri and Mik and Issa. They are easy to love.
(3) Zuzana and Karou’s friendship is refreshing.
(4) Zuzana and Mik’s relationship is “goals”. I love them together.
(5) I want to know more about Ziri. He’s precious.
(6) Hazael and Liraz have grown on me.
(7) Razgut is despicable and I wish it didn’t exist.
(8) I miss Brimstone.
(9) I miss happy Karou.
(10) I miss Karou and Akiva being happy together.

I think that’s all. At the end of the day, Laini is an amazing writer and she has crafted another whimsical tale about gods and monsters and the people who don’t know the difference.

Now a new war has begun. Or maybe the old was never over? In any case, I am looking forward to the finale. I’m sure it is going to be soul-crushing.

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