Title: Days of Blood and Starlight
Author: Laini Taylor (Daughter of Smoke and Bone)
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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?
Daughter of Smoke and Bone was a bit of a mixed bag for me, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect with its sequel. Actually, I was kind of dreading it, but a comment from Kelly at Pretty Little Reader made me more hopeful. Well, it was better than I expected, but at the same time I was still often frustrated with it.
First, the things that I liked. Well, this was a very long book, but I was normally interested enough in the story that I didn’t mind too much. It was like the first book – there were some really interesting bits, and the story saved the book for me in a way that characters normally do. I wanted to know what was going to happen with the Chimaera and the angels, and it was really interesting to get in Karou’s head and she how conflicted she was about whether she was helping the right side or not, as well as healing from the events of the first book. The story itself was probably a solid and good 4 or 4.5 stars for me.
Unfortunately for me, there was a lot more to this book than its story. There are quite a few different perspectives that we randomly get – some characters get a handful of chapters, some only get one, and the majority belong to Karou and Akiva. I normally don’t mind multi-perspective books too much, but this one often left me confused. Since this is a pretty high-fantasy book, there are a lot of made-up names. Even if I knew who a character was, I often stared at a name for a few seconds trying to figure out if this was a new character or one I’d been reading about since the beginning of the book. It definitely took me out of the book whenever this happened and prevented me from enjoying the story even more.
And then there’s the big problem that I also had during the first book: I just don’t like Akiva that much. I don’t like him in a romantic or platonic relationship with Karou, and I don’t like him on his own. I often rolled my eyes throughout his chapters because I didn’t sympathize with him, so any angsting was just irritating and tiring. I could be interested in what was happening in his chapters, but I would still desperately want to move to a different perspective because I didn’t like being in his boring head. And yes, there’s a lot less romance in this book, but Akiva was always so busy angsting anyway and you could tell that they still wanted to proclaim their love for each other, so even that wasn’t much of a comfort for me.
The ending left me conflicted. On the one hand, it set up some interesting storylines to be wrapped up in the last book. On the other hand, there were some similar problems to the first book. There were some characters who were spoiler (highlight it) injured/killed, and they were characters I liked, so I was frustrated more than any other emotions. And the ending certainly hinted at the spark being rekindled with a passion between Karou and Akiva, and I don’t know if I can handle it anymore.
Wow, this sounds like a review for something with a much lower rating than 3.5 stars. It really does have a pretty engaging and interesting story, though, and that’s why the rating isn’t all that bad despite my multiple problems. That being said, though, I don’t know if I’m going to read the last book. It’s going to be just as massive as this one, and I don’t know if I want to force myself through such a large book if I’m also kind of dreading it. I’ll wait to see what the reviews say about it before I really decide, though.