Author: Laini Taylor
Genre: Young Adult | Fantasy
Synopsis: 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. Now, Karou must decide how far she’ll go to avenge her people. 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?
Final Rating: ★★★★☆
Check out my review for the first book in this trilogy: Daughter of Smoke & Bone.
Check out this book’s Goodreads page.
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For some strange reason, I was hesitant in picking this up, maybe because I just wan’t in the mood for dramatic romance. The first book in this trilogy was beautiful, and I really liked it, but it’s also true that it was dominated by romance. I thought the second installment was going to be the same, but I was wrong. The romance takes a back-seat as Taylor focuses all her creativity and energy in focusing on the fantasy world, the complex war going on in this world, and how the several different characters are managing what they’ve been given.
If you were hesitant about the first book and aren’t sure if you want to carry on with the series, I would definitely recommend picking this second book up. It’s not an easy read because the world-building is kicked up a notch and Taylor doesn’t just hand out information to her readers; you are forced to absorb what she’s writing and figure out much of the picture on your own. This might confuse a lot of people, while it may offer others a completely immersive experience. I was one of the latter, and I delighted in the pleasant confusion I encountered while reading this.
The war between the angels and the chimaera has been rebooted, and both sides are fighting dirty. Karou and Akiva – destined, passionate lovers – find themselves on the polar ends of the war. Karou, out of a sense of grief and loyalty, finds herself on the chimaera’s side as she does her best to rebuild their ranks after the events of the last book. Akiva, out of a sense of desperation and a need for salvation, finds himself doing strange things while fighting under the banner of the angels. It was very interesting to see how these two characters integrate their pasts with where they are now. Both of them are forced to make very difficult decisions as they find themselves in the midst of the war. Karou finds herself surrounded by a myriad of people who hate her, who do not trust her, but she feels obliged to be with them anyway. Akiva finds himself among blood-thirsty soldiers, and he is forced to hide his empathy for the chimaera from his ‘family.’ The difficult positions Taylor puts her characters in do wonders for development, and I loved it.
There are multiple perspectives in this – not just from Karou and Akiva, but other unlikely characters too. These perspectives contributed a lot to world-building since the readers were aware of what was going on with the chimaera, with the angels, with the common citizens etc. I also loved how Taylor portrayed the brutalities and realities of war; no one side is the clear winner or the clear ‘good’ side. Both sides have soldiers who want peace, both have soldiers who want war, both sides are tired and exhausted of the centuries-old conflict going on. Both sides have suffered losses, and Taylor manages to get this feeling of desperation across perfectly.
We get a little more insight into Hazael and Liraz’s characters, which I was very happy about. I grew very fond of both of them in this installment.
Overall, this book was gripping and beautiful, and I can’t wait to read the final book in the trilogy.
“I am one of billions. I am stardust gathered fleetingly into form. I will be ungathered. The stardust will go on to be other things someday and I will be free.”