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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Review: Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor

TITLE: Days of Blood & Starlight
SERIES: Daughter of Smoke & Daughter
AUTHOR: Laini Taylor
PUB DATE: 11/6/12
PUB: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
SOURCE: from pub for review

In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Karou must come to terms with who and what she is, and how far she’ll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, mysteries and secrets, new characters and old favorites, Days of Blood and Starlight brings the richness, color and intensity of the first book to a brand new canvas.

THREE WORDS: Stellar, Stunning Sequel

MY REVIEW: Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke & Bone was one of my absolute favorite reads of last year, it was one of those books that moved me and never really left me, and I've been eagerly awaiting the sequel all year. And Days of Blood & Starlight is as equally stunning and stellar as its predecessor and enthralled me completely.

In Days of Blood & Starlight we find old characters facing the consequences of the climactic events at the end of book one, and are introduced to new characters, new places, and new revelations. Our heroine, blue-haired Karou, and her once angel-lover, Akiva, both find themselves in different worlds and entangled in a bloody war. Faced with mysteries, heartache, betrayals, death, and pain, these two characters must come to terms with who they are and what they must do for their people, for themselves, and for love.

I devoured all 500+ pages of Days of Blood & Starlight in one sitting, staying up into the wee hours of the morning, unable to put it down for even a second. From page one, Laini Taylor instantly swept me away into her fiercly beautiful world and carried me away with her breathtaking and captivating storytelling. Days of Blood & Starlight has a different, yet equally enrapturing, feel to it. Like the brief synopsis says above, the same “richness, color and intensity of the first book” is present in this sequel, but it is a different canvas upon which they've been painted.

Taylor's immensely gorgeous and lyrical writing and storytelling continues to enchant and impress. There are so many lovely passages and sentences in this sequel that I found myself re-reading, unable to look away. The intricate, layered and rich world-building of book one is deftly continued in book two. Karou finds herself in a very different place than her beloved Prague; a harsh, relentless place that Taylor somehow brings an eloquence to. And the world of Eretz is greatly expanded upon in this book, as both the worlds of the angels and chimaera are explored. This world and all its inhabitants is crafted with an exquisiteness that is both beautiful and bleak, enchanting and terrifying, irresistible and repulsive, and utterly spellbinding.

The story laid out in Days of Blood & Starlight is a stellar mix of fire and fierceness, love and heartache, humor and pain, intensity and softness, acceptance and new paths. As the middle book in a trilogy, it continues to connect the threads woven in the first book, while setting the scene for the climactic finale in book three. Taylor paces this sequel perfectly, balancing the suspenseful ferocity of the war the characters find themselves in with the unexpected truths and revelations as well as the rich character development and growth. Like in book one, this sequel has stories within stories, and all the important subplots are woven together seamlessly, creating a colorful and captivating tapestry full of action, love, and palpable emotion.

Taylor's characters continue to be some of my very favorites! The Karou we meet in Days of Blood & Starlight is a more mature, stronger, and maybe even darker Karou than the girl we met in book one. But this change is necessary and realistic; Karou has seen and discovered truths that she can't walk away from unscathed, and she has to either stand still and fall apart or go forth and grow. She chooses to bravely go forth and on. Akiva feels like a more complete and developed character in this sequel; his layers are exposed and explored greatly. There's a large cast of characters, some old, some new, some likable, some fun to hate. I think the character that really shines in this book is Zuzana. Her laugh-out-loud humor is infectious and endearing and perfectly placed. I think I'm a little bit in love with this feisty little fairy of a girl ;)

While the romance, or lack of, between Karou and Akiva, is not the dominating force in this sequel, it is intensely felt. The relationship between these two, not just the romantic one, but the simple, undeniable connection between them, is, in my opinion, still one of the absolute best written and explored relationships in YA fiction. Everything about this relationship- the electric connection, the heartache, the betrayal, the longing, the lust, the desperation, the need, the simple love- feels so intimately real and burns palpably.

This book ends a bit more quietly than the first book, but left me excited and desperate for book three nonetheless.

MY FINAL THOUGHTS: I was scared that no sequel could live up to the beauty and superb storytelling of Daughter of Smoke & Bone, but this sequel has done just that. Days of Blood & Starlight is a captivatingly and darkly gorgeous story with a riveting plot, dazzling writing, excellent world-building and unforgettable characters. A MUST read book in a MUST read series!


Connect with the author: Website / Goodreads / Twitter 
Hi there! I'm a writer of fantasy books for young people, but my books can be enjoyed by adults as well. My 'Dreamdark' books, Blackbringer (2007) and Silksinger (2009) are about faeries -- not dainty little flowery things, but warrior-faeries who battle devils. My first young adult book, Lips Touch, is a finalist for the 2009 National Book Award! It's creepy, sensual supernatural romance. . . about kissing. I am also an artist with a licensed gift product line called "Laini's Ladies."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I personally can not wait to read this one. Daughter was such a beautiful book, so I'm glad to hear you say this one is just as good. Great review. :)