Book Review: Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

Days of Blood and Starlight
Title: Days of Blood and Starlight (Book 2 in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy)
Author: Laini Taylor
Social Media: Blog, Facebook, Twitter
Publisher: Hodder
Rating: 5 out of 5
Source: Book provided by Collins Booksellers – Bacchus Marsh

About The Book:
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?

Aspects I Liked & Enjoyed:
~Two Lines, No Waiting: I really enjoyed reading about Karou’s and Akiva’s separate but equally important journeys with the Chimera and Seraphim groups, the narrative was engaging and I was completely hooked by the conflict (the physical and emotional stakes) and the political drama.

~Greater Development of Secondary Characters: There were expansions on already established characters (such as Zuzanna, Mik, Hazael and Liraz), and there more characters introduced in this book. However, they were interesting, well-developed and were a necessary addition to the plot. I find the political tensions between the Seraphim and the Stelians intriguing, but I’d also like to know what they’ve been up to all this time.

~Tear Jerker Moments: The chapter between Brimstone and The Warlord, and Brimstone’s personal message to Karou made me blink furiously and Ziri, good lord Ziri, those passages between Karou and Ziri had me tearing up.

Aspects I Had Problems With:
~Little Did I Know: This is one of my greatest narrative pet-peeves and the “little did I know” moments coupled with the narrative back-tracking to explain what had transpired was a little disorienting and irritating.

~Loads and Loads of Characters: There were a lot of characters to keep track of in Book 1, and despite the fact that thousands of people have died, Laini Taylor has somehow managed to introduce a horde of new characters. While I only slight difficulties keeping track, it’s a major trait of the Fantasy genre after all, other readers might have problems with it.

~Antagonist Issues: While Jael makes for an interesting villain, he does fall into some of the less logical pitfalls, such as monologuing when he should be killing, explaining his grand scheme to the enemy, threatening the enemy’s loved ones, not anticipating that this would back-fire in any way. I keep expecting there to be a “Not So Different” moment to occur between Akiva and Jael. Also, I can’t figure out what his possible motives could be, and while he does offer an explanation (“I tried to rape one of my brother’s concubines once, she mauled my face, I killed her and now I’m going to destroy her whole race.”), I just don’t think it’s enough justification for a centuries old vendetta (hopefully Book 3 sheds more light on this). These events that have set the Serephim half of the narrative in motion all happened centuries ago, which just goes to show Serephim sure know how to hold a grudge or perhaps it’s a family thing.

All in all, an excellent book and I cannot wait to get my hands on Book 3 and see how it all ends.

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