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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Review: Days of Blood and Starlight (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2) by Laini Taylor

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Published: November 6, 2012
Pages: 528
Source: For Review from Hachette Book Group Canada
Rating: 5 Stars

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?

In short: Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor was not an easy, light read - but it was absolutely a meaningful and powerful one.
Oof. Days of Blood and Starlight was not an easy read by any means. It took me a fair bit longer to get through than a book of its size would normally take (and it's quite a thick book as is). Now that's not to say that I didn't LOVE this book because as you can see by my 5 Star rating, I absolutely did, but it was emotionally draining and HEAVY. But the good kind of emotionally draining and heavy. The kind that is meaningful and worthwhile and powerful - a lot like my favourite non-HP series, Chaos Walking, which also contained some pretty serious themes involving the side-effects of war.

So yes, while Days of Blood and Starlight is not a book that you can easily breeze through, it was SO worth it. There are several reasons why it took me a while to work my way through the text: it's partly because there are a lot of different POVs in this book to keep track of (and some of these perspectives are from previously unknown characters), partly because Laini Taylor weaves these deliciously complex sentences that you just want to read over and over again, and partly because of the aforementioned dark and heavy subject matter. But I don't want people to assume that because this book was so long, the pacing must have been slow, because I don't feel that's the case - I was never bored while reading Days of Blood and Starlight. Just as with its predecessor, I was ENTHRALLED.

And as much as I enjoyed Daughter of Smoke and Bone, I have to say that I loved Days of Blood and Starlight even more, which is something that rarely happens to me with sequels in trilogies. This is because I was not a huge fan of the romance in Daughter of Smoke and Bone, which I felt was a little superficial and not developed enough. This was not an issue with Days of Blood and Starlight, but I won't say why so as to avoid spoilers. Let's just say I was completely satisfied with Karou's new realization and attitude - she admits how rash she was in her prior decisions and that alone is enough to get me to consider going back and rerating Daughter of Smoke and Bone as 5 Stars rather than 4.

And speaking of Karou - for I have not given her nearly as much love in this review yet as she deserves - she is AWESOME. Oh Karou. Poor Karou! She has to deal with so much in this story, some real difficult situations, and for a lot of these situations, she's alone with no one on her side. And it made me sad because she is such a wonderful person and she deserves happiness! But she does not break; she hardens and endures. She does what she can for the survival of the chimaera. And thankfully she does get to see some of her friends again and it was such a relief! The inclusion of Zuzanna and Mik, especially, was a welcome one as they provided some much needed light-hearted hilarity among so much darkness.

Overall, Days of Blood and Starlight was definitely one of my favourite reads of 2012 and Laini Taylor has secured her place as one of my favourite authors. I can't get over what a talented wordsmith she is! I am in awe of her beyond beautiful writing, her ability at crafting complex plotlines and surprise twists, and her brilliantly insane creativity. Read this series!

Previously, my review of Daughter of Smoke and Bone.

Other Reviews:
For What It's Worth
Nori's Closet
Wishful Thinking

Authors Links:


  1. I agree that this one is even better. You're right, it's not a romance, it's a war story and a very powerful one at that. I just read Daughter of Smoke and Bone a few months ago and thought the romance aspect was unique and intriguing. Part of the reason why I put off reading it for so long had to do with being done with paranormal romance. The worldbuilding in DS&B was phenomenal and the romance between Akiva and Madrigal was epic in its ramifications for both factions.

    I can't wait to see what's next. Cheers!


  2. I have this one on my shelf and it scares the crap out of me! I went into Bone wanting to love it so much and we didn't really get along, at all. But I have been seeing a lot of reviews for this one saying that it is better so I hope to get to it soon. I may have to read it in small spurts so as to save my eyes from myself gouging them out. I'm curious as to what Karous realisation was, I think I know! And now I want to find out for sure. Fantastic review, Aylee.

  3. I enjoyed this book, but I didn't love it as much as the first book. The fact that Karou's POV didn't make an appearance for dozens of pages really bothered me. It took me forever to get through the first part of the book because there was no Karou. Once she came into the picture, I sailed through. I have yet to review this book on my blog though.

  4. Oh man Aylee. I'm so nervous for this book! And crazy excited, but the nervousness is winning out because I want such good things for Karou and I know that's just not in the cards yet. I completely understand what you mean about it being a heavy read, one that takes you a while to get through just because you feel it necessary to absorb every tiny piece of information you can. I'm going to work up the courage to start this one next week, it will be fun to compare notes with you!

  5. I totally agree, it was NOT an easy read and I felt so anxious throughout it! It really was worth it though, such a beautiful & brutal book. I can't wait to see what happens in the next one. 2014 is really just too far away.

  6. Doesn't sound like an easy read at all. and now I'm worried because I still have the first book on my shelf and I promised Sandy (Pirate Penguin) that I would read it and I'm one of those people who feels compelled to finish a series if I start it (unless is seriously sucks).

    Anyway, at least you love it which gives me lots of hope I could get into it too.

  7. Glad you enjoyed this one despite it being a tough read. It sounds like a very emotional and heavy book, especially as the second in a series which started with some heavy subject matter. Anyway, I'm hoping to get this one for Christmas. :) Great review.

  8. AHHH, how exciting! A sequel that is even better than the first?? I'm listening to book one right now, and I am loving it so far. Now I can't wait to get to book 2!

  9. Love authors who have a way with words. I'm glad the sequel lived up to the first (and even surpassed it) since that's so rare. I still need to read these!

  10. Oh yay! I can't wait to dig into this one now ... I loved the first book in the series and the cover for this one is just absolutely GORGEOUS, so it must be good!

    Awesome review, Aylee!

  11. I'm only half way through this one, but I agree with you on all aspects of your review. I do love this one more than book one, which is crazy. The depth and layers of this story subdued me, what a great writer Laini Taylor is.

  12. I've breached the last hundred pages of this one and reading your review was like reading my own thoughts about DoB&S as a (almost) whole ;) The intensity and emotional weight it carries, the re-reading of certain sentences because Laini Taylor has the soul of a poet/painter ♥, the way it held you captivated throughout...the Karou love (I freaking LOVE her SO much!!); everything! Wonderful review Aylee, you really did this read justice!

  13. "But the good kind of emotionally draining and heavy."

    ^This EXACTLY. This book was so heart-wrenching and it utterly consumed me while reading it and even after I had finished it.

    I also didn't think it was possible for me to love it more then the first one and I did. I cannot wait to see how Laini Taylor decides to blow our minds with the third one.

  14. Yay I'm so glad that you really enjoyed Days of Blood and Starlight, Aylee! Based on all the reviews I've read so far, I'm fairly certain that I'll enjoy this sequel even better than the first as well. I really appreciate stories where authors aren't afraid to tackle some deep and heavy issues. I'm also glad that the love/relationship of Akiva and Karou works out a little better. I didn't really have problems with it due to the flashback information from the first book, but I can understand why that could bother some readers.

  15. What a great review! I felt exactly the same way about its intensity. Thanks for mentioning my blog! Also, I forgot about all the POV shifts. I liked all the other character POV's, but sometimes it was frustrating not knowing who's POV it was right away. Taylor made you work for it (no character names in the chapter titles). This was a little frustrating, but also kinda nice because Taylor didn't dumb anything down for her audience; she expects them to be on it. I agree that this was an amazing sequel, too!

  16. I could not agree with you more. This book was so hard to read. I had to set it aside a few times but it was gorgeous at the same time.

    I liked it more than DoSaB too.

    (Thanks for the review link :-))

  17. It's driving me BONKERS that I haven't read this yet as Daughter of Smoke and Bone is my absolute favorite read of 2012. But I'm in the middle of Westerfeld's Leviathan series, and want to finish that first!

    Will come back and gush with you on your review when I've read it!

    Lauren @ Hughes Reviews

  18. I just finished this the other night and it was amazing. But you're right, it is an incredibly heavy read and there are some difficult/heart breaking parts. But it was excellent and I'm glad you loved it too!

  19. I'm still waiting to read this one. I want to have time to savor it. Laini Taylor's writing is so rich and her worlds so creative, I want to read it slowly so I can take it all in. Sounds like I'm gonna have to have my battle gear on for this one and a different mind set completely than for Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Excellent Review!

    Maycee Greene (Seattle Search Engine Optimization)