Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a new way of living – one without massacres and torn throats and bonfires of the fallen, without revenants or bastard armies or children ripped from their mothers’ arms to take their turn in the killing and dying.
Once, the lovers lay entwined in the moon’s secret temple and dreamed of a world that was a like a jewel-box without a jewel – a paradise waiting for them to find it and fill it with their happiness.
This was not that world.
If you were reading my blog last year then you may remember Daughter of Smoke and Bone being my favourite book of 2011. It felt like a book I had been waiting my whole life to read and I instantly fell in love with Laini’s imagination. So you can imagine how excited I was to receive a review copy of the sequel Days of Blood and Starlight. However, despite how excited I was, I was also extremely nervous. I loved Daughter of Smoke and Bone so much, could the sequel really be just as good? Or would I end up bitterly disappointed. The trouble with trilogies is that the middle book is often the one people enjoy the least, and that has happened to me many, many times before. However, I don’t know why I bothered to get so nervous in the first place. With a writer like Laini, it seems virtually impossible for her to write something I wouldn’t love.
The first problem I had when opening Days of Blood and Starlight is that there is no rehash of how the first book ended and the rather complex plot throughout. It had been a year since I’d read it, and even though I loved it, with so many books being read in-between, it’s becoming far too easy to forget the fine details of stories these days, and this was no exception. It is because of this that I found it took a little longer to really get into than the first book. But once things started coming back to me, I was pulled right back into this wonderful world Laini has magically created.
The romance between the angel Akiva and the human Karou that we all come to love in the first book does take a bit of a back seat here. A war is on the horizon between the angels and the chimera and Karou and Akiva are now fighting on different sides. The cast of characters has widened on both sides, and there are characters you will love from each, and of course, those you will undoubtedly loathe. Karou’s best friend Zuzanna becomes much more of a prominent character, and as much as it may pain me to say, and I know many readers out there really love her, I couldn’t help but find her irritating most of the time. The email correspondence between Karou and Zuzanna at the beginning were my least favourite thing about this book, and the writing felt a little too ‘high-school’ for me and I found myself cringing for the most part. However, once they are out of the way, Zuzanna definitely grew on me more, though she is still perhaps my least favourite character in some respects.
Days of Blood and Starlight is definitely a much darker novel than the first, and there is a lot going on with both the chimeras and the angels, so much so that you can’t help but truly feel for both sides. There are times when the story will shock you with its delicious and skilfully played twists and turns, and there are times when it will fill you with grief. I couldn’t really ask for much more…
On the whole this is a fantastic sequel and one that really sets you up for the third and final part, which I am eagerly awaiting and yet I am also extremely sad that this incredible world and these captivating characters will all be coming to an end. It may not have been as absolutely perfect as I felt Daughter of Smoke and Bone to be, but for the most part Laini does not disappoint, and I can only thank her for not letting us down and for opening our eyes to a whole other world. It’s extremely sad when a sequel ends up being so disappointing that you no longer feel you can recommend the first part to anyone anymore, but I know that this series will be one I shall continue to recommend to every person I know!
If you are new to this series, then all I can do is tell you that you must read it, right this second! You won’t regret it! For anyone who is a fan of Laini, there is also a brilliant e-book short story called Goblin Fruit available on Amazon now.
Days of Blood and Starlight is out on 8th November and is publisher by Hodder & Stoughton. A massive thank you goes to the publisher for sending me a copy for review.