Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Days of Blood and Starlight (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2), Laini Taylor

Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini TaylorTitle: Days of Blood and Starlight
Author: Laini Taylor (author website)
Release Date: 8th Nov. 2012 by Hodder & Stoughton
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Paranormal/Fantasy
My Rating:1 star2 star3 star4 starhalf star

Following Daughter of Smoke and Bone was never to prove an easy task. How could any book trump the romance, the beauty, the glittering darkness of its predecessor? Of course there was no cause for concern. While Days of Blood and Stalight may not ‘trump’, Laini Taylor builds, breathing life and magic into an Eretz yet unknown to readers. She abandons romance. This time, it's war.
From Goodreads:
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.

Returning Karou and Akiva’s world and doomed love is a painful journey. We left them in horror and pain at the end of Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and they are found, in Days of Blood and Starlight, even deeper in darkness. The opening pages are like those few brief moments of peace, of happiness, between falling asleep with the knowledge of some terrible, asphyxiating grief, and waking, the world crashing down twice as dreadful as before.

Karou and Akiva are separated, but fighting. A war is being faught, and while the Seraphim believe themselves victorious, and the Chimaera population is decimated, all is not as lost as it may seem. It’s a story different in tone from its predecessor. Where Daughter was filled with light and love and hope, even in its darkest moments, Blood and Starlight is a tale beautiful, still, but bleak. It carries a feeling worse than that of hopelessness, but of hope lost – but perhaps not forever. The hope tangled in its pages will be drawn more from readers – lovers of these characters and their world and their creator – and faith that things must get better. After all, at the tale’s conclusion, it is difficult to see how they could get worse.
 “Dead souls dream only of death. Small dreams for small men. It is life that expands to fill worlds. Life is your master, or death is”

Days of Blood and Starlight is a tale of war and vengeance – of all the associated horrors and atrocities and needless violence. Readers are shown much of its greater impact, of genocide, of murdered or twisted children, of a pervasive learned hatred, and while Taylor never seems to be pushing an agenda, or concealing an underlying message, it’s fascinating to consider how this applies to life; especially in light of a recent quote she posted (do go read it. It’s short, and brilliant).
 “You have only to begin, Lir. Mercy breeds mercy as slaughter breeds slaughter. We can’t expect the world to be better than we make it.”

It is certainly the greater impact of the eons old war between Chimaera and Seraphim which carries Days of Blood and Starlight’s greatest horrors, but it’s the personal, more intimate facets shown that drive it home. Through the eyes of an escaped slave girl, a seraphim sentry, a soldier, and our beloved Karou and Akiva themselves, Taylor shows the price of hatred, of greed, of bitter, empty bloodshed for its own sake.

And it is, of course, Akiva and Karou who form the book’s emotional core, and its most crushing moments. Where once upon a time, the lovers dreamed together of a new world, a better one, one free from endless war and killing, they are now separated by more than distance and race and ancient enmity.
 “A dream dirty and bruised is better than no dream at all.”

The two work separately, clinging to their tattered dream. There is still innocence in that dream, however bloody it becomes, but innocence, while a beautiful garb, is not always the best armour. Akiva, consumed with gnawing agony and guilt, is a shell, and Karou as beautiful as ever, is lost. Where, once, Karou could almost be synonymous with life, she is robbed of it, drowning in grief and anger and sorrow. It’s devastating watching such beloved characters suffer so greatly, but even more so as it blinds them to the machinations and manipulations of others.
 “You could look out the window today, see the sky raining fire, and say that it has all been for nothing, everything we've ever done, because now we've lost. But folk were born and lived and knew friendship and music in this city, ugly as it is, and all across this land that we fought for. Some grew old, and others were less lucky. Many bore children and raised them, and had the pleasure of making them, too, and we gave them that for as long as we could. Who has ever done more, my friend?”

There is light in this dark tale, however, in the form of Zuzanna and Mik who, separated from Karou by worlds, don’t give up on their friend. Zuzanna brings laughter, and Mik humour, and together, a friendship and romance which grounds the otherwise fantastical tale in reality, where the human world would be otherwise lost to Ertez.

The Verdict

Told between two worlds and the yawning pit between them, Taylor weaves her tale of war, of magic, and of course, blood and starlight, in a fashion uniquely hers. Crushingly sad and beautifully written, Days of Blood and Starlight is, as its predecessor, a triumph of fantasy and of prose, but it offers precious few answers, instead building towards a yet unknown climax and conclusion I’m not quite sure if I should dread or celebrate, but one I most keenly anticipate. Once again, Taylor delivers magic.
 “One world on its own is a strange enough seethe of coiling, unknowable veins of intention and chance, but two? Where two worlds mingle breath through rips in the sky, the strange becomes stranger, and many things may come to pass that few imaginations could encompass.”

Books in This Series:

  1. Daughter of Smoke and Bone (September 2011)

  2. Days of Blood and Starlight (November 2012)

  3. As yet untitled (expected 2014)

Want it? Get it:

Angus & Robertson | Booktopia | Bookworld | Dymocks | QBD
An enormous thank you to Hachette Australia for providing a review copy of Days of Blood and Starlight!


  1. Saz seriously you have such a way with words! What a gripping review.

    Hope might be lost - but I believe it can be found again :)

    Karou and Akiva omg <3

    I really need to finish this haha.

  2. Lovely review! But what really sucked for me was that I didn't enjoy this book . . . at least I didn't adore it as much as I did with the first book (which is SO sad). Still I'm pretty excited to read the third book considering what happened in the sequel.

  3. I had to scroll over your review (sad, sad day) because I plan on reading this soon, but I AM EXCITED BY THE RATING. That's good, right? I can't wait to start reading it!

  4. It really was magic. I couldn't have said it better myself. I love this book but you are right, the first one was a tiny bit better. But this one scared the crap out of me often. I was so scared for Karou every second of the book. I can't wait for the next book.

    Great review.

  5. I didn't even attempt to review this, but I feel like I can point everyone in this direction. You said it all perfectly! I completely agree with your points. This is a stunning book, even though it takes a different angle from the first. Laini Taylor is quite some writer. :)

    Lovely review, Sarah!

  6. I have heard so many brilliant reviews, yours included. Your points and review makes me wants me rush out and buy it now! The relationship between Karou and Akiva’s is just brilliant! I know commenting on the second book, but they both sound like a great series to get stuck into! Lovely review Sarah.

    I seem to be a regular on your blog, haha! :D

  7. I definitely enjoyed this one SO much more than the first book. While I didn't find the first novel to be lacking in any respect, this just blew my mind away. I mean, it's about WAR and REVENGE and SACRIFICE and DAMMIT Akiva and Karou! AND THAT PLOT TWIST AT THE END WAS THE BEST THING EVER! (Sorry, I have so many FEELS for this series!) I can't wait for the last book now, especially since I know Laini will blow my expectations away, no matter how high they are. Wonderful review! :D

  8. Once again, I'm going to say the same thing that Amanda is saying... I have this on tap, so I didn't read the actual review. That said... dude. Are you creeping across the world to check out my bookshelves or something? It's freaking me out you keep reading books I've either just read or am planning to read in the near future. *stares at you like a creepy creeper*

  9. Oooh, this is such a beautiful, beautiful review. I started reading this just after you gave it to me, and then... stopped. And I don't even know why. I need to get back into it!
    I'm glad Zuzanna and Mik continue to be a part of the storyline - Zuzanna is such a fun chock-full-of-personality character, and I would have missed her.
    And that quote is perfect.

  10. I'm not reading this review just yet because I haven't even finished the book yet--but I'm so glad you enjoyed it! Middle books are always hard, so it's always great when an author delivers.

  11. Jaz, I love you. DID YOU KNOW?
    This: "Hope might be lost – but I believe it can be found again.".

    I can't WAIT to see what you think of it! ♥

  12. Erin! ♥♥♥
    Oh, no, I'm so sorry to heard that! I didn't feel quite as intense an emotional connection with this one as I did DoSaB, but I did still love it, and thought it was beautifully written, compelling, etc... you know?

    I'm SO excited for the next book, toooo! Excited and SCARED. Im a little bit terified to see how Laini wraps this up :S

  13. YOUR REVIEW OF THIS MADE ME WANT TO RE-READ. Although not really because omg it is so brutal and sad and beautiful. I think you captured it all perfectly though!! Beautiful review as always. <3

  14. Oh, you and your beautiful reviews, Sarah! DOBAS was brilliant, wasn't it? So much darker than the first, but just as emotional! And what imagination Taylor has! Oooh, I loved it! I'm so looking forward to the third book! :) Awesome review, Sarah!

    You know, it's much more a fantasy novel than DoSaB. It has a different feel and it's AMAZING, and I LOVED it ♥

  16. It's the very best way to describe it, huh?
    I loved it just a *little* bit more than Daughter, also, but... I loved it just the same? It was DARK, and it scared me and... oh, Karou. And Akiva broke my heart </3

  17. Oh goodness, Sam, I don't think I did it even a tiny bit of justice. Reviewing this book seems kind of like... superfluous? It's Laini Taylor. It's perfect. BUT THANK YOU!

    I'm dying a little bit for book #3 :)

  18. Oof, reading your review reminds me how harsh and bleak this one was. There is a war going on after all. Poor, poor Karou! She was really put through the wringer in this one, but she pulled through better than ever. I just love her. Despite the bleak tone, I really did appreciate the tone and themes of the book, as so beautifully written by Laini. Glad you felt the same way! I can't wait for the third book either... although there is a fair amount of dread there, as well.

  19. Oh, Jaz. Just reading your review filled my eyes with tears. I just finished Daughter of Smoke And Bone, and I rarely say things like "best book ever". But Laini Taylor now has a special place in my heart. Can't wait to read book 2. Thank you for the quotes!

    I don't want my heart to break..but..all this violence and war and vengeance..and Akiva and Karou..NOOOOOOO MY POOR HEART!
    Awwwww I love the quotes you mentioned! *sobs*
    I really, really, REALLY cannot wait to read this!!
    Freaking LOVEEEE your review Sarah!<3

  21. Shirley ♥♥♥
    It's totally all heart-shattery but... I loved it all the same... and... and *I* have hope, even if Karou doesn't, that things will be OK. And and and... ♥♥♥

  22. Aw, Ivana, thank you! This: "I just finished Daughter of Smoke And Bone, and I rarely say things like “best book ever”. But Laini Taylor now has a special place in my heart." I think that there are very few 'best books ever', and I tend to be sparing with my 5 stars, but I felt EXACTLY the same way. Book #2 is AMAZING ♥

  23. Aylee ♥ I think 'bleak' is the perfect work. I... honestly, I think I could delete my review and replace it with your comment! SO beautifully written, and I appreciated how Laini really didn't skirt the fact that war... war has a price. I kind of NEED that third book! ♥

  24. Oh, Emma, thank you! Seriously... Karou and Akiva are... omg. MY HEART MY HEART.

    Love them so much, together AND apart. But... mostly together :D

    I do hope you get to read it soon!

  25. WOW WOW WOW.
    You loved it MORE than the first one? EEEEEE! NOW I WANT TO RE-READ IT ^__^

    I loved both. The both broke my heart and made me fall in love and... I think I liked Daughter more, but... I think, perhaps this was the better book. So much richer and more complex and... OMG. THAT TWIST. THE WHOLE DAMN THING. I CAN'T EVEN. Laini = GENIUS LADY.

  26. ... NO COMMENT.



    OK. Truth: I am you from the future. NOW YOU KNOW ^__^

  27. Alex! ♥♥♥

    You know, I did the same thing. As much as Daughter is an all time favorite. As much as I loved the return to the world, the writing, I just... IDK. Maybe I'm scared to finish, and I was pacing myself? I didn't read it with the same urgency I read Daughter, but as I picked it up again, I fell just as in love. I hope you do, too! ♥

  28. Oh, Wendy, I can't wait to see what you think! It took me quite a while to get through, for some reason. Normally that, for me, would be an indication I'm not loving it, but I did. SO much. I hope you do, too! ♥

  29. ELENA! Myaw! It is SO sad and brutal and... oh goodness. I'm desperate for book 3. Even if Karou's lost her hope, *I* am hoping for better days for her and Akiva. Akiva just... he KILLED me in this.

  30. JOOOOO! You're gonna make me blush.
    DoBaS was extraordinary. Just as amazing and heartbreaking and even darker and more complex.

    Seriously. What I would give for an imagination like Laini's!

  31. I REALLY need to read this! Great review!

    (I think I even have the first one on Kindle, but just haven't gotten around to it yet, you know how that is)

    Oh I SO know how it is. Seriously, I dragged my feet reading Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and as soon as I read the first page I was like... WHY? OMG WHYYYY?


  33. Sometimes I just want to chain you in a basement with only a laptop (no internet) and endless supply of M&M's and force you to write a novel. Seriously, I SO DESPERATELY WANT TO READ A BOOK WITH YOUR NAME ON IT. Your writing is the next Laini Taylor, Veronica Rossi and Lauren Oliver of literature.

    "Where once upon a time, the lovers dreamed together of a new world, a better one, one free from endless war and killing, they are now separated by more than distance and race and ancient enmity." - that is one of the most devestating things. Their sides were always at war, but it was their dream that incited the sickening war they're in the middle of now and SARAH I JUST WANT THEM TO BE HAPPY *cries*

  34. The sequel's out already? Sheesh? Where does time go? I still haven't read the first one yet, though I CAN'T WAIT, especially after all the rave reviews I've read! Glad to hear the sequel was fabulous as well!

  35. I'm so nervous to start this series after all the amazing reviews like this one, Sarah! I'll have to get to these books asap!



Currently Reading:

Follow Me

Can't see Google Friend Connect? Join This Site

Want an e-mail notification when there's a new post at saz101? Enter your e-mail, and the Feedburner faeries will answer your wishes ♥


I receive books from publishers, in exchange for honest reviews. When this is the case, I state so at the end of each post. This doesn't effect my review of the book, or my opinion, and I receive no monetary compensation for anything posted on this site.
When you click on a link to Amazon from www.saz101.com, I receive a small referral fee on any purchases made. It won't cost you any more to buy your books this way, but it does help to support this blog.
If you have any questions about any of the content on this site, contact me :)