Title/Author: Days of Blood and Starlight (Daughter of Smoke and Book #2) by Laini Taylor.
Genre: YA. Fantasy.
Publisher: Little, Brown.
Favorite character: Karou.
All in all: Epic.
Favorite Quote: "The Goddess of assassins has tasted my blood."~Akiva.
"Bitter, bitter, this desolation of angels."~Karou.
"The only hope is hope."~Brimstone.
Synopsis: 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? ~Goodreads.com
My Thoughts: I can't remember the last time I had to have a book on the day it came out. But because our library system had only two copies with a waiting list of 14 people, I ran to the bookstore to buy Days of Blood and Starlight. I even made the employee go into the back because they weren't on the shelves yet!
I was not disappointed. Days of Blood and Starlight is just astounding. It's a tale of love, love lost, betrayal and tragedy. The writing, scope, and imagination of this book is extraordinary and it's amazing to me that the author kept up the tensions and emotions for over 500 pages.
In Days we have Karou who was once carefree, fun and playful until she remembers where she came from. A harsh world where she deals with loss, death and heartache. And war. Don't forget about war. She is diminished somehow yet her courage, loyalty and morals make her strong. She had a dream once that she could change things, perhaps because she had the person she loved beside her. But in this installment she is faced with her own naivety and is humbled. She agrees to help someone she loathes all in the name of peace. Yet there is still some of her spark left, her tenacious and stubborn nature that moves her to question motives and try to do what she believes is right.
Although I was on the edge of my seat as Akiva plotted, it was through Karou's actions that I felt my stomach knot as she played her clever yet oh so dangerous games. I felt her guilt as she admits her perceived part in an ancient war. The blame she feels for daring to love the enemy and to dream of a world where their differences are not cause for war is palpable.
The writing is poetry and adds to the beauty and heartache of the story. I don't think this tale would be as compelling without Taylor's prose. Her voice is strong and her delivery is poetic. I also loved the chapter titles which were as prolific as the words within the pages and the simple, beautiful, heartbreaking lines that divide the book into it's main parts. The mythology, background and plot are so creative that it has a ring of truth in it.
There are a few more point of views in this installment. It did not distract from the story at all and in fact enriched it. I would have liked to have seen the story delve a tad more into some of the new characters we were introduced to and some of the thoughts of characters we already know.
Some of it seemed abstract to me, like I didn't quite know what was going on, yet I caught the gist of it. The nuances of war and subterfuge are well thought out and contemplative as well. When is war the best choice? In this world, it never was. It was pointless. A play for power for power's sake? Or revenge? Again, pointless.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone seemed to be the set up, the back story for the heartbreaking events in Days of Blood and Starlight and I came to realize that there was no stopping them. Even if Karou lived in that world forever, eventually Thiago would have accumuluated his army to retaliate and continue his campaign, so perhaps she was never really safe. As a reader, I felt unsafe too. I didn't know what was going to happen to the characters I cared about and I was scared for them.
I'm confident that there will be a happy ending to this tale yet the road getting there is so full of pitfalls and misunderstandings and secrets, that I'm not sure how Taylor will navigate the course to get there. There will be casualties though and more heartbreak to come. I'm afraid to find out what will happen to the characters I've grown so fond of, but I know like Karou and Akiva's struggle, I will have to see it through to the end.