Friday, June 6, 2014

Days of Blood and Starlight

After Akiva's shocking and horrible admission, Karou is still reeling and hurt, but she doesn't let her feelings get in the way of the task at hand. A few months after the end of the last book, she and the chimera people are secluded in a desert city while she builds an army from scratch of and for them. In the meantime, the seraphim are laying waste to every chimera dwelling, no matter how small. Thousands are slaughtered and only a few are spared to go into slavery. Akiva sees the wanton and unnecessary cruelty and does what he can to help the chimera. The starcrossed lovers are on opposite sides of the war, but essentially fighting the same fight. Will they reconcile before one of them in destroyed?

Daughter of Smoke and Bone is one of my all time favorite books and Days of Blood and Starlight proves to live up to and surpass the standards set by the first. Laini Taylor is nothing short of amazing. I could read her books forever. The world she created is amazingly complex. She also writes about angels and demons without being overly religious and gives us a very unexpected view of both sides. I would like to savor her prose because her writing so rich and beautiful, but I find myself reading faster to find out what happens next. The plot is insane and I can never guess where it's going to go. There are quite a few "OMG WTF just happened!" moments. The tone is overall much darker than the first novel, but is tempered with moments of levity, like the delightful Zuzanna. The first book establishes the world and marvels at it, while the second tears it down and creates chaos on both sides.

The characters all have dimensions and their own personalities, no matter where on the spectrum of good and evil they fall. Karou is completely changed from the first book because of both gaining back her memories and dealing with the loss of her entire chimera family at the hands of Akiva. She dwells a lot on her past choices and berates herself for being so naive as to believe they could have built a world for both of them. On her side, she works for someone she hates in order to ensure that her people will live. I don't like who she becomes: a weak pawn to be moved around. However, she sees it as a necessary evil and puts her people's needs before her own. She spends most of the novel completely miserable and brooding over the past until she finds a surprising way to make her own decisions. Through Akiva's storyline, we get to see more of the angels' social structure and how they function. Akiva is also miserable and dissatisfied with his faction, so he secretly helps the chimera. He has the biggest character development and we get to see more of who he was before he met Karou.

Although Days of Blood and Starlight is pretty bleak, there's still some hope and I can't wait to read the next book. This book series could have been easily published as an adult series. The themes are complex; the writing is amazing; and it deals with some very adult issues, so I would recommend it to just about anyone. At this point, I would read anything Laini Taylor writes.

My rating: 5/5 fishmuffins

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