Days of Blood and Starlight; review

November 8, 2012 2012, 5 star books, angels, daughter of smoke and bone, days of blood and starlight, fantasy, laini taylor, tonya 57 ★★★★★

Days of Blood and Starlight; reviewDays of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2
Published by Little Brown on November 6, 2012
Genres: fantasy
Pages: 528
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher, Purchased
AmazonIndieboundBarnes & NobleGoodreads
five-stars
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?

Days of Blood and Starlight may well have been my most anticipated release this year. I was captivated by the lush and layered world Laini Taylor built in its predecessor, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and rendered absolutely in love with both Karou and Akiva. The thrill of the tension in their discovery of one another, the sweet ache of their romance as it unfolded, and the crush of sorrow for them both at the end stayed with me the many months I waited for the release of its sequel.

So, to say I had high hopes is an understatement. I couldn’t wait to dive back into Karou and Akiva’s world, and see just how they would mend the rift between them–BECAUSE THEY HAVE TO MEND IT, RIGHT?–and save their world together.

What I got was nothing close to what I expected, but everything the sequel to Daughter of Smoke and Bone needed to be.

“You know how, at the end of Romeo and Juliet, Juliet wakes up in the crypt and Romeo’s already dead? He thought she was dead so he killed himself right next to her?”

[…] “Well, imagine if she woke up and he was still alive, but…” She swallowed, waiting out a tremor in her voice. “But he had killed her whole family. And burned her city. And killed and enslaved her people.”

That’s the gist of where we begin in the sequel. Karou travels through the portal with Razgut, to find Loramendi completely razed, with nothing left of her people but a thick layer of ash on the ground. Devastated, and ashamed by her weakness in falling for Akiva, and inadvertently causing the genocide of her people, Karou finds a small group of chimaera soldiers and joins them in their plan to overthrow the seraphim.

For Akiva’s part, he returns to Eretz heartbroken and guilt-ridden, unable to stomach the increasing violence and ignorance of his seraphim brethren. With his brother Hazael, and sister Liraz, they begin to devise a plan to put an end to the war between seraphim and chimaera.

Laini Taylor’s world building is nothing short of astounding. In this, we are given a detailed look into two different cultures, their infrastructure and their history–all delivered in a way that is flawless, seamless, and without leaving you feeling as though you’ve just been given a fictional history lesson.

But where Taylor really shines in this follow up is in her characters. Where so many others fail to create secondary characters that feel as real as the protagonists, she has a way of creating people that dig under your skin. You connect with them in an instant without really knowing why, until their purpose is revealed. There is no one who is not fully engaged, three dimensional, and capable of drawing an emotion from the reader.

Days of Blood and Starlight is a gritty and violent follow up, lacking any of the romance and off-beat vibrance of its counterpart–and it’s all the better for it. This story is now so much more than an epic romance. It is the story of an endless war, the penance of pain, and the price of peace.

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

It ends, as Daughter of Smoke and Bone did, with a bittersweet kind of hope. And leaves me in the same place I was this time last year–absolutely entranced, and counting the days until the next book is released.

This review also appears on GoodReads.

Tonya sig - teal

 

57 Responses to “Days of Blood and Starlight; review”

  1. Aliaa El-Nashar

    I’ve heard so many amazing things about this series. I have book one and can’t wait to read it and hopefully love it as well.
    Great review!

  2. Jennifer Yang

    I absolutely loved this book! I was a bit ambivalent about the first because of the “insta-love” factor (although, of course, it turned out to be much different from insta-love), but the sequel definitely had me on my toes the whole time. The emotions, prose, characters, EVERYTHING… I want the next book NOW.

  3. Ina M.

    Hmmm… now I have to add another two books to my already huge reading list. It’s all your fault! *points an accusing finger to The Midnight Garden* Love the cover, and the review made me sufficiently curious, so now I’ll be on the lookout for both novels. As if I didn’t have enough books to chase already! :P

  4. Katta

    I am excited for this one. I wasn’t wowed by Daughter of Smoke and Bone–instalove is NOT my favorite–but I had high hopes for the sequel considering the author’s obvious talent.

  5. rabbitsfortea

    I knew when they first introduced you to this blog that I was going to love you :P

    Laini Taylor can do no wrong in my eyes and even though I have only JUST started reading this, from the many reviews I’ve read (inclu yours of course!), I knew I am going to love this book to bits. And like many others, I’m all for the romance to take the back-seat in this sequel. So glad that Taylor did not waste time having Karou and Akiva mope over the loss of the other. I can’t wait to dig into the book over the weekend!

  6. Roxy

    I’ve been wondering about this series and if it’s one I should put on my TBR list. Sounds fantastic, I’ll be checking it out soon!

  7. erin

    Thanks for the great review! I’m very excited cuz I just got this book and I’m doing the happy dance of knowing that it’s gonna be awesome :)

  8. Vivien

    I absolutely adore Laini’s writing style. It’s so bloody unique and entirely engaging. I fell in love with Lips Touch and it hasn’t stopped. Even her MG series is adorable. Cannot wait to read this one.

  9. K.

    Tonya, your first MG post!! I’m glad to count you one of the team. Wonderful review of a book I am DYING to read and you’ve done nothing but make it even more painful for me to get through the books I have to read before this one…don’t worry, that’s a good thing :)

    • tonya

      *exhale* That was nerve racking, haha. I’m so glad you liked my review. And you have way more self control than I do; my TBR is taller than I am, but I dropped everything to read DoBaS as soon as I got it in my grabby little hands.

      Hope you can get to it soon. :)

  10. thebookfairyhaven

    What a lovely, lovely review Tonya. You actually left me with a lump in my throat – I’m almost too frightened to read this now, because there seems to be such a bittersweet tone to the follow up. I wonder if I’ll be able to stomach it. Oh who am I kidding? Laini Taylor’s beautiful prose and world-building is nothing short of epic, so will definitely be picking this one up as soon as I can.

    • tonya

      Aww, thank you so much! I really appreciate that. It was definitely an emotional book, and very tense. But, of course, beautiful because it’s Laini. Her world building is even more epic in this one, if you can believe it.

      Hope you’re able to read it soon! :)

  11. Lis

    Oh man! that quote about Romeo and Juliet just blow my mind!!! I’m dying to get this book! I loved the first one so much!
    great review! you leave me wanting me this so much!!

  12. Natalia Belikov @ Dazzling Reads

    Oh holy crap… I was going to buy it the other day in the store, but the kirkus review kinda made me think twice about it. I shouldn’t pay attention to those dudes, I should only read your reviews that clearly and in the most beautiful and eloquent way, if a book is worth buying at store by its full price (I usually purchase online cuz is cheaper XD) lol!

    Wonderful review. Like freaking always!!

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I look forward to get this one!

    • tonya

      Oh man, I haven’t seen the Kirkus review. I’m sad they didn’t enjoy it as much as I did. But in my opinion–YES, YES, PICK IT UP! :)

  13. A Canadian Girl

    I know everyone has raved about Daughter of Smoke and Bone but I still haven’t read it! The way you spoke about this though, especially this: This story is now so much more than an epic romance. It is the story of an endless war, the penance of pain, and the price of peace. has me convinced that I really, really should read the first book sooner than later. My goal now is to read it before the year ends :)

    • tonya

      Yay! I hope you love it. Laini writes beautifully, and the story is just so unique and lovely. Not to mention: holy swoon alert–in the first one, anyway. :)

    • tonya

      I hope you love Days of Blood and Starlight too! Now I’m sitting on my hands, waiting for the third book.

    • tonya

      Nothing’s wrong with you! I know a few people who felt the same. It’s heavy fantasy, plus heavy romance, which don’t always mix well for people.

      What about it didn’t you enjoy?

  14. Sam

    You’re not the first person to mention how this is so much more than a romance now. While I was a fan of the romantic plot in the first book, I’m eager to experience the bigger picture and darker tone. Beautiful review, Tonya!

    • tonya

      Thanks, Sam. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of the romance (Akivaaaaaa *sigh*), but with the revelations at the end of DoSaB, the sequel wouldn’t have been able to hold the same level of romance and stay true to the story.

      Hope you’re able to read soon! :)

    • tonya

      Thank you! I hope you can read the sequel soon. It’s like catching up with old friends you haven’t seen in awhile.

      …well, old friends fighting a horrible, bloody war anyway…

  15. starryeyedjen

    One of my favorite aspects of this sequel was the unique and well-developed secondary cast of characters. Also loved the slightly hopeful ending. I missed the romance, too, but I agree that the story is better for the lack of it, in this installment anyway. Great review!!

    • tonya

      Yes! The secondary characters really shined in this sequel. Zuzanna especially. Her emails cracked me up. I’d like to have her as my best friend, haha.

  16. Jasprit

    Tonya this is an amazing review, my expectations too were sky high before jumping into this book, but I’m glad like you most of my expectations were met. I agree I didn’t expect the path this book went down, but I truly welcomed it, the secondary characters were also a refreshing welcome! I too will anxiously waiting for the next book! :)

    • tonya

      Thank you!

      I think one of the best things about this book were the secondary characters. I’m totally in love with Zuzanna now.

  17. Livvy

    I’m one of the very few people who’s probably never read Daughter of Smoke and Bone, but I think I have very little reason not to now.

    This review was really great and I loved the way you used the Romeo and Juliet scene to compare it with how Days of Blood and Starlight went.

    From this sounds of the two very contrasting books, it shows this author is very versatile and you’ve only encouraged me more to pick up Daughter of Smoke and Bone.

    • tonya

      I love hearing that I’ve encouraged someone to read a book they may have otherwise skipped. Thank you. :)

      Laini is a very versatile writer who gives a lot of depth to her characters, and build beautiful, complex worlds.

      I hope you give it a try. :)

  18. Annabelle Marie Veronica

    I hate yet yo read Daughter of Smoke and Bone yet. I want to, but I’m already hopelessly behind on my TBR stack. Agh. Anyway, lovely review, Tonya! I my have to move this series up on my list. x

    • tonya

      Thank you! I know what you mean about TBR piles. I’m buried in mine, but yet can’t stop buying more. I guess too many books is a good problem to have. ;)

      If you end up reading it, I hope you enjoy!

  19. Wendy Darling

    Your first review for the blog is so awesome! As you know, I liked the first book, but didn’t quite love it as much as you did. But this review makes me very hopeful, especially since you mention that this one is less of a romance. I’d better get cracking on finishing it so we can compare notes. :)

    • tonya

      Thanks, lady! :)

      I hope you end up enjoying this as much as I did. Though of course I missed the swoons, I’m very glad, in retrospect, they were missing from the sequel. The bitterness and heartache were necessary.

    • Wendy Darling

      Hah hah, I was just getting on here to say that you’re going to have to worship at the altar of TONYA now! You can see why I love her though, right?

    • tonya

      HA! It’s my fault for not putting my signature at the bottom of the post. Newbie alert!

      I’m so glad you enjoyed my review! I think it’s almost harder to review books I love; I want to ramble in shouty caps and just yell at everyone to read it, haha.

      Hope your copy arrives soon! :)

    • Sarah (saz101)

      Ahahaa! YES! THAT’S IT! IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT FOR BEING SIGNATURE-LESS :P

      “I think it’s almost harder to review books I love; I want to ramble in shouty caps and just yell at everyone to read it.”

      YES. OMFG YES. I kind of did the same thing with DoSaB. It was just so… perfect and I’m like ‘HOW DO YOU REVIEW PERFECTION?’ :O

      ANYWAY. I loved it. And… *grins* and… MY COPY ARRIVED! How’s this: I bought a copy on Saturday, and a review copy arrived this morning! EEEEEE! ♥

  20. Sarah (saz101)

    Dear Wendy,

    As much as I love you, it pains me to say that I am so jealous of you right at this moment it quite possible hurts a little inside.

    And if that weren’t enough, you had to go and say something like this, “This story is now so much more than an epic romance. It is the story of an endless war, the penance of pain, and the price of peace.’

    Well.

    WELL.

    Well, Miss Darling, I write to you today to ask you to PLEASE STOP MESSING WITH MY SANITY. You go and write this (here’s where you imagine my hands flying about, gesticulating wildy), beautiful beast of a review, and then leave me with nothing. Bereft. Still waiting for my copy to arrive.

    Curses.

    Love,
    Sarah.

    P.S. *sobs hysterically* Your review. Perfection. So good. I can has DoBaS? NOW?

  21. Amanda

    Absolutely lovely review! While I did enjoy the romance between Akiva and Karou, I am kind of glad that isn’t the focus of the sequel. Indeed, with what Akiva allowed to happen to the chimaera, I would have been very disappointed if the focus had been on the romance. After discovering how Akiva and Karou are connected in book one, I feel like book two needs to be about them separately coming to terms with their history and present and everything, and, from the sound of your review, that is what happens. Daughter of Smoke and Bone is honestly one of the best fantasies I’ve ever read and made me go through such a range of emotions. I look forward to the intense feelings that are sure to come with Days of Blood and Starlight! :)

    • tonya

      I totally agree. The characters needed to grow separately, especially Karou who discovered and lost her family in one breath. It shows respect for the characters, and gives them a depth that is realistic.

    • tonya

      I know a few people who felt the same. For some who preferred the romantic aspects, the fantasy was too much for their taste, and vice versa.

      I hope if you try again, you enjoy more the second time around. Book 2 is definitely worth it. :)

  22. Kelly

    Just reading those first few lines you quoted has my heart aching. This is on its way to me, and you can bet everything else will be dropped in my haste to start it!

    • tonya

      Laini writes so beautifully, even when she’s breaking your heart.

      I’m sending HURRY UP vibes to your mail carrier. ;)

  23. Magan @ Rather be Reading

    We are review twins today! I ABSOLUTELY LOVED this book. Five stars doesn’t seem like enough. Laini’s writing is magical. She’s in Austin tonight and I am *so* excited to go meet her. :) So glad you loved it too.

    • tonya

      Just read your review–loved it! I’m so happy you get to see her tonight. She is the sweetest. I’m hoping to be able to catch her when she’s in LA next week. :)

  24. Keertana

    AMAZING review! I really need to pick this one up ASAP! I have it, but I’m finishing up an UF Series, so this definitely up next. I’m so excited to read it. I guess I love the type of heartache that Taylor’s novels give you and her writing is so atmospheric and beautiful, that any type of torture she puts us through seems worth it just to read her languid prose. I love this review, so I’m off to pick it up soon for sure! :)

    • tonya

      Yes, that’s exactly the word for Laini’s writing, atmospheric. DoBaS was heartwrenching and tense from beginning to end, but still so beautiful and a joy to read. I’ll hope you enjoy it when you’re able to start!

  25. Amy

    This sounds so amazing!! I absolutely loved the first one, and have been dying to read this one. I have not seen on bad review for it, and most people seem to like this better than the first. Awesome review!

    • tonya

      It was! With trilogies, I have to approach the second book with caution; more often than not I am completely disappointed with the drama thrown in (mostly of a romantic nature), but this conflict was so substantial and rich–and totally necessary for the story arc.

      I hope you’re able to pick it up soon, and enjoy as much as I did! :)

  26. Karen

    The thing I was most impressed with (besides the mind boggling world building) was how she weaved so many different characters and POV’s together into one story that never felt disjointed or confusing.

    • tonya

      YES. In other books, short chapters and POV jumping has been very distracting for me, and kept me from becoming immersed in the story. But this was just seamless.

      Laini is amazing. Every time I read her books, I’m in a funk for days after because nothing else can compare.