Day of Blood and Starlight (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Book 2) by Laini Taylor
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)
Oh, it’s so hard to compare anything to Daughter of Smoke and Bone because it was that uh-mazing. But we shall try. If you have not read the first book in this series there are some epic spoilers ahead, so please, please look away.
Days of Blood and Starlight picks up just after the first book leaves off. Karou has disappeared after discovering that Akiva murdered her family, and after finding out her true identity. Although she is a world away, humans still have sightings of the mysterious blue-haired girl who could fly, leaving her best friend, Zuzana, to pick up the pieces, to put together the puzzle and try to find where Karou has gone. Akiva has been scouring the Earth and beyond–like, literally–to find her. He’s destroyed at how he’s hurt her, at how the dreams he and Karou (really he and Madrigal) once shared can seem so far away. It’s heartbreaking, this war between the Chimaera and the Seraphim, taking innocent lives and leaving power in the hands of the greedy and malicious. And Karou and Akiva are on opposite sides of it all.
But there’s always a sliver of hope. Remember? Karou means hope. In the wake of Brimstone’s death, she’s continued his legacy. Putting together the knowledge she gained from years as his helper, she’s become a resurrectionist, lifting up her people to build an army against the Seraphim. She lives at the palace with none other than the white wolf (but not lives with him lives with him), whose smooth ways continue to put her on edge. Karou remembers what he’s capable of and while she wants to help the Chimaera, with whom she readily identifies as her own, she doesn’t trust him fully.
Akiva is tortured–absolutely broken in every way possible–torn apart by memories of Madrigal, memories of Karou, of what he did to her family, of things he’s done as a soldier of the seraphim. He can’t change the past but he wants to be different . He wants to realize the dream he and Madrigal once shared. Karou, on the other hand, wants nothing to do with him. She wants to erase him or better yet, rise up against him.
This is a good story. It’s less poetic, less romantic than we saw the first time around because of the circumstances. Karou is in battle now. We see her strength (as if we hadn’t already) and yet we see this heartbroken longing she has to see her family again. Karou can resurrect so many soldiers; she can bring back people she once knew–but she must have the key ingredients. So, she has all of this power and yet she’s powerless to bring back Brimstone. She begins to see her life–both lives–more clearly and she starts to identify herself more with the Chimaera people, something Brimstone had originally protected her from. Now she has a purpose, but it’s not without physical pain and emotional scars. Akiva survives so much too. That’s basically what he’s doing, surviving. His heart is already changed, he just needs to find a way to show Karou and to make his brother and sister understand what needs to be done. There is intense emotion between them, love from Akiva and hurt, hurt, hurt from Karou.
One of the things I thought was so well-done was Karou’s relationship with Zuzana and her boyfriend, Mik. These two have some seriously sweet moments. I love their loyalty to one another and the lengths to which Zuzana will go to find Karou and help her in any way possible.
This book isn’t as amazing as the first, but I liked it. It’s still vivid and passionate, but its pace is slower and there isn’t a ton going on. I was prepared for this because I had a couple of friends who’d read it before me and weren’t pleased. That being said, I was totally into it. Yes, it’s definitely a second book. We’re somewhere in the middle and there isn’t that rush from discovering a new story or the incredible heights of a fabulous ending yet, but it’s all going in the right direction. Also, am I the only one amazed by Karou becoming a resurrectionist? That was a wonderful aspect of the story! Plus, the mystery and intrigue surrounding the white wolf and is he or isn’t he bad, oh and the painfully brooding way Akiva stares at Karou, le sigh. It’s all worth it.
Crush Intensity: 4.25/5 What can I say? I really love these characters and this lush story.
Where’d I Get It? The library, one of my favorite places ever. We won’t discuss the fact that I had an e-galley from the publisher way back when and my NetGalley decided to not like me until it had expired. Nope. Not talking about it.