Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
Book 2 in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy
Genre: YA fantasy
Format: hardcover, library
Even though it took me a week to read, I enjoyed Days of Blood and Starlight. However, it didn’t quite live up to the hopes I had after reading Daughter of Smoke and Bone.
This book was definitely more plot-driven than the first one. I didn’t mind that, but it made me feel somewhat cut-off from the characters I’d fallen in love with previously. Nonetheless, it was wonderfully written and executed, and I’m really liking where the story is going. The differences between this and other angel/demon books were really made apparent, in my opinion, so I can happily say it maintained its originality.
Karou definitely changed in this book. She was ashamed, guilty, and just a shell of the upbeat artistic girl she was before. I felt bad for her during the majority of the book, but I also wished she wasn’t so hard on herself. Her shame was what kept her helping Thiago, and it took a while for her to realize that she shouldn’t be ashamed. Even after that, trauma seemed to be the main reason she stayed obedient. While I can get why, a part of me wished she was a bit more resistant. Basically what I’m trying to say is that while I did like her, I’m not quite sure what I think of her development yet.
Akiva was different, too. He was emotionally hurt and felt really guilty, just like Karou, but he was rebellious. Granted, it was in secret until about ¾ through, but I’m glad he did something when he could. I also liked that he didn’t abandon Karou, even in the midst of a war between their two races, and yet she wasn’t the only thing he thought/worried about. He had emotions, but he wasn’t driven by them (although no one in this particular trilogy is). I felt bad for him, too.
I pity characters a bit too easily, sometimes. Yet they’ve never made me cry. I’m a puzzling pineapple.
There were a lot of other characters, but for the sake of length, I’ll keep my thoughts on them brief. 😉
Zuzana and Mik were probably my favorite characters in this book. They were both so determined to find Karou, so accepting of what she was doing, and so eager to help her where they could. I didn’t expect any less from Zuzana after getting to know her in Daughter of Smoke and Bone, but I didn’t know Mik as well until now and he’s earned major approval points from me. 😀 I also really liked Ziri. At first I didn’t see what people saw in him that was so appealing, but then I read a specific chapter from his perspective and started to love him. He’s just awesome, and that thought was amplified when I figured out the sacrifice he made for Karou in the very end. 😀 Then there were the characters I didn’t like: Ten and Thiago. Ten had really keen senses and it was annoying that she was always lurking near Karou and so willing to do Thiago’s dirty work and tell his lies. And Thiago himself — I never liked him, and that was also amplified as I read more about how he treated Karou. When he attempted to hurt Karou, per se, he went beyond any possibility of redemption, in my opinion. He definitely got what he deserved.
(Characters like this make me a violent pineapple.)
In this book, readers were really introduced to the world of Eretz. It wasn’t beautiful because a war was going on, but it seemed like it would be when everything was peaceful. Laini did a great job describing Eretz and making it seem like a legitimately war-torn world. She didn’t hold back in the descriptions and I loved it. It made the world seem so realistic, and it was just amazing.
After the events in the end of Daughter of Smoke and Bone, romance basically went out the window in this book. Zuzana and Mik kept their relationship intact, and it was quirky and cute. Karou and Akiva’s relationship didn’t work out so well.
“Let’s see. 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?”
“Yeah. That was awesome.” A pause, followed by “Ow,” suggested elbow punctuation on the part of Mik.
Karou ignored it. “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 ideal happily ever after story, don’t you think?
I loved Karou and Akiva’s romance in the first book, but I think it was more realistic for them to be apart with everything going on (as much as it pains me to say that). It’s the middle of a war between two races, they’re both on a different side, and Akiva really hurt Karou in Daughter of Smoke and Bone. In a fantasy book like this, even with 500+ pages, I just don’t think it would’ve worked if they fixed their problems so easily. Regardless, I’m going to keep hoping that they end up together by the time Dreams of Gods and Monsters is over. 😉
The one relationship that stayed steady in this book was Karou and Zuzana’s friendship. They have one of my favorite fictional friendships in YA, and I can’t express how glad I am that Zuzana didn’t disappear into the background after Karou accepted her role among the chimaera. Zuzana’s perkiness and optimism is something Karou desperately needs after everything she’s gone through and still has to face — the fact that she keeps up her fun, curious attitude even after being introduced to this world is amazing, and part of the reason she was my favorite character in this book. 😀
This book didn’t keep me on the edge of my seat quite like Daughter of Smoke and Bone did, but it did have a handful of big surprises within its pages. I loved trying to figure out what would happen next, even though I was wrong the majority of the time. 😛 The book even ended on a fairly significant twist, and I’m eager to see how it plays out (and if my predictions will be any better haha) in the last book.
Days of Blood and Starlight was a great sequel, but it didn’t quite meet my expectations. The plot was slower, the ending was kind of confusing to me, and I’m just not sure what I think of Karou’s development yet. Nonetheless, I’ll be reading Dreams of Gods and Monsters soon, and seeing how the trilogy ends. 🙂
my rating: 4¼ out of 5 stars
Have you read this book? Is it on your TBR? If you have read it, what did you think? I’d love to know! 🙂
I’ll be starting The Raven Boys either tonight or tomorrow. 🙂 (Also, I unfortunately don’t have time to do my wrap up today. I’m not sure if I’ll continue doing these, but if I decide to this week’s will be up tomorrow.)