Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini TaylorDays of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1
Published by Hodder Paperback on August 15th, 2013
Genres: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 528

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?

5 Stars

The sequel to the highly praised Daughter of Smoke and Bone is darker and more brutal as resentment breeds violence in this exciting next instalment. As the stakes are raised, tension flares to a new high in Days of Blood and Starlight, shaking of the innocent atmosphere of its predecessor. This dark, gloomy, and bloody book was much more my thing than the light-hearted first instalment.

“Once upon a time, a girl lived in a sandcastle, making monsters to send through a hole in the sky.”

After the turn of events in the first instalment, the characters seem shattered, broken, and alone. Karou, once an idealist, finally sees the world and her life for what it truly is, and she must face the consequences of her newly acquired knowledge. The edges of Karou’s character harden, sharpen. She becomes this feisty, determined character, and if I hadn’t adored her before, I certainly would have now. Meanwhile, Akiva is burdened with guilt and self-blame, and he struggles with their ripped bonds. Karou and Akiva, apart and yet together, battle their own demons and grow as individuals like they probably couldn’t have in each other’s presence. Zuzana and Mik are great as always, and Lirat and Hazael finally rise in their positions as lurking shadows and intervene with the plot. Danger increases significantly with power-hungry, manipulative figures such as Thiago resurfacing from the dark pits of war. I adored the addition of Ziri, my precious cinnamon roll, an adorable and innocent character who must be protected at all costs.

“Mercy, she had discovered, made mad alchemy: a drop of it could dilute a lake of hate.”

The plot picks up a faster pace than in Daughter of Smoke and Bone, as darkness, vengeance, pain, and sorrow dominate the atmosphere. The book further explores the gap between “Us” and “Other”, and how generalisation is the true master of war, as it allows beings of all species to shut off their conscience. The “Children are innocent, but not theirs” narrative is extremely powerful and highly destructive, and Taylor integrates the true monsters of war – the lack of a conscience, of compassion, and identification with your enemy – perfectly into this fast-paced, action-packed, and tension-ridden book. After all, there’s a reason the title contains the word blood. Prepare for war, my lovelies.

Where Daughter of Smoke and Bone was reunification, love, and hope, Days of Blood and Starlight is separation, grief, loss, and anguish. The plot was heart-stopping in its pace and action, as battle draws near, weapons are drawn, and hearts are torn.