Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Review: Days of Blood and Starlight

DAYS OF BLOOD AND STARLIGHT
Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2
Laini Taylor
Paranormal Young Adult
517 pages
Little, Brown BFYR
Available Now
Received from publisher for review

THE STORY
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?


MY THOUGHTS 
Days of Blood and Starlight is one of those books we pick up knowing what we’ll find on its pages will not be the stuff of fairytales and happily-ever-afters where a wistful smile will linger on our faces as we set it aside, but rather the stuff of nightmares, tear tracks scarring our cheeks as our hearts pound out a melancholic tune on a broken instrument. Simply holding this sequel in our laps prior to cracking the spine, we might swear we can hear the painful echo of what awaits us with Karou and Akiva, and as we begin to read a haunting rattle accompanies the quiet wisp of the page turning, becoming increasingly louder as we realize the sound is a result of the shattered pieces of a heart clattering together as its owner draws a deep breath, leaving us only to wonder if the owner of that agonizing noise is in fact Karou, or us.

Karou is a changed young woman from the vibrant artist we met in Daughter of Smoke and Bone, now in full possession of her memories–both beautiful and torturous–as they collide with a life already in progress. For the first half of this installment, she’s simply going through the motions, her emptiness a seemingly crushing weight despite its physical nothingness, and we approach the start of each new chapter with the naïve hope that we’ve seen and experienced the worst of her hurt, only to be proven wrong again and again. Her fire returns with the arrival of Zuze and Mik to her desert resurrectionist laboratory though, and while her pain is a constant shadow that absorbs and consumes any small flicker of light that tries to beat it back, she slowly begins to question, defy, and fight against the dark thrall of an all-consuming vengeance.

Akiva begins his defiance of what’s expected of him long before Karou, but while he finds purpose sooner, he’s as empty as she, the little light he had left in him burnt out by the fire in her despairing gaze as she learned of what she lost with the snap of a small wishbone at the end of book one. Though for almost all of this story the two of them find themselves beaten and bloodied by a love that’s led them to do monstrous things in its name, we can’t help but feel the connection that still thrums between them; sharp, vivid, and unquestionable. Theirs is not a relationship that exists quietly and beautifully in the night, a star burning brightly that draws the gaze of many before fading silently and unnoticed, but rather a glacier that as it moves carves out their existence on the face of humanity, an indelible reminder that they lived and loved and left their mark on the world itself.

Though Karou and Akiva’s story in Days and Blood and Starlight is no doubt a dark one, Ms. Taylor provides a supportive hand in the form of Zuze and Mik to pull our heads above water just as we begin sink. Their antics and delightful banter shock many a laugh out of us, renewing our strength just as the weight of death and betrayal begins to weaken our knees, a balm to the incessant sting and prolonged ache resulting from this five hundred page emotional assault. We’re left with the tiniest sliver of hope in the concluding pages, something we latch onto with brutal strength, and we protect it with everything we are as we prepare for the next installment.

Rating: 5/5

37 comments:

  1. The word is..ok words ;)
    MUST read book 1

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This story is painful and beautiful and I hope you give it a chance!

      Delete
  2. This book is SO GOOD! I can't wait for the next sequel!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Päriselt või?????? Aaahh, ma tahan seda juba lugeda. Okay, I think you understood umm.. none of those words, heh. Well, let me translate: REALLY???? I WANT TO READ THAT BOOK ALREADY. 5 out of 5? Ugh, why is the third one so far away? I don't want to read it YET, but I need to read it NOW. Jenny, why, why, why did you do this to me? I know your reviews are completely unspoilery, but I can't read your review. Okay.. I can bare to look right? Okay.. Ugh, why did I read it? No, I will not pick this up, I have an exam tomorrow which I'm in no way prepared to write. Ugh, Jenny!!!!!!! They don't get together? They don't express their undying love for eac other? They hurt and suffer? Whyyyyy? Ugh. I better stop now, otherwise I might end up not studying but reading about this fascinating world I love so much. Thanks for this though! I cannot wait to devour this book already:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, no declarations of undying love in this book, but I have faith Siiri. Things have to work out for them. THEY HAVE TO!

      Delete
  4. I loved the first book in this series and actually *have* this book on my shelf...I so need to read it! After all that Karou went through and learned the first time around, I'm not surprised she's a bit shell-shocked at the beginning. Akiva, too. And even though this story does sound dark, a small sliver of hope is all I need!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I put this book of for a long time Mary, I didn't want to deal with all the darkness and the hurt, but it's so amazing. I need to read a nice happy romantic comedy now though:)

      Delete
  5. Believe it or not I have read book 1 (I am waiting for you to die of shock---still around?)! I am going to continue the series because I am curious after the ending how it goes!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. READ IT FELICIA!!! So so so good:)

      Delete
  6. This is such a beautiful review Jenny, I agree with everything you said, Taylor managed to throw me through so many different emotions with this book, some which I was hardly ever expecting. I was really anxious going into this as I love Daughter of Smoke and Bone so much, but Talyor again managed to floor me with this book! A year is too far away to find out how this will end, whatever will we do until then Jenny? :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know Jasprit. I could cry over the wait. I need everyone to be happy and they're all just so broken. And Ziri? *sobs* He and Hazael were favorites of mine in this book. My heart hurts now.

      Delete
  7. I read and enjoyed book 1, but I am having a hard time making time for book 2. I need to make it a priority, especially with a glowing review like this!

    I love how you acknowledge that these books aren't happily-ever-after types of stories and you DON'T know what will happen to the characters you love going in. Laini Taylor definitely knows how to keep a captive audience on their toes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. IRISH! This book almost did me in. It was a painful read, but so amazing at the same time. I just had no idea where this book was going to go, and I loved that about it. I need book 3 immediately.

      Delete
  8. Okay. I have to skip over your review because I'm going to pick this up SOON (which is sad, because I do love reading your reviews; I will be back after I read this, for sure), but the 5/5 rating has me EXTREMELY EXCITED.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh man Amanda. You need to read this and then we need to have a chat and a let's-glue-the-pieces-of-our-hearts-back-together-again session. *dies*

      Delete
  9. Oh thank goodness I'm not the only one who didn't read this book last year. I still have to read this one but I'm trying to find time. I think I'm a bit scared about how much this book is going to hurt, but I really need to find out what happens next. I'm getting to this one soon! Lovely review, Jenny.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I delayed reading this one Rummanah, I was so nervous about what would happen with Karou and Akiva that I just couldn't bring myself to pick it up for a while. It hurt to read, but it was brilliant and I loved it:)

      Delete
  10. OOH I love that you loved this one - I have not read it but your review yells me I will!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you do Sheila! It's a stunning book:)

      Delete
  11. I still haven't read Daughter of Smoke and Bone and sometimes I feel like I'm the only one. I really should as I already have a book. I'm so happy you loved this one! :) I can't wait to see how will I like it :) Great review.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I feel like that all the time! Especially with John Green or Gayle Forman books - I haven't read either author and I think I might be the only person in the world who hasn't:) I hope you give this series a try though, Laini Taylor has such a beautiful writing style.

      Delete
  12. What a beautiful review, Jenny! I just finished this book two days ago but couldn't write a proper review. But you were able to translate most of my feelings for this book. And much better than I probably would be able to. So... can I just link your review? Haha. Kidding. Partly. =)) Fine, I'll try my best too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It took me FOREVER to write this Gellie! I just stared at the blank Word document and willed my feelings to suddenly turn into words but it just didn't happen. So then I just sort of stuck to vague hints as to Akiva and Karou's respective states of mind and went off on tangents full of analogies:)

      Delete
  13. Jenny, I wish I could have like this series. Because of your review, I'm going to try and read it again. Thanks for the nice review.

    ReplyDelete
  14. OMG! I so agree with you. I enjoyed this one so much and I really loved Zuze and Mik. Such great characters!! I can't wait for that next book. Is it out YET???? ;D

    I have the rest of her books on my wishlist. I've heard they are so good as well.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Woo-hoo! I'm so glad you loved this one, Jenny! It blew me away and definitely wound up being stronger for me than even its predecessor. I cannot WAIT for the final installment now!(: Amazing review, dear!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I have had this for ages now and still haven't fit it in! But I have heard AMAZING things and I'm glad you loved it, pretty much like everyone else!
    I have been needing lighter, easier reading material lately, but as soon as I'm ready for heavy and emotional I'm all over it!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Ohhh, Jenny - you are such an amazing writer! I don't know how you are constantly able to come up with such vivid metaphors for your reviews. I'm in awe. And oh! did I ever want to give Karou a big hug in this book! Because I love her and she had it so hard. I quite liked the Zuzanna and Mik moments, too - they added a much needed lightness to the book, I think! I seriously loved this book and I'm glad you did, too!

    ReplyDelete
  18. EEEEEEEEEEEEE JENNY! Days of Blood and Starlight! I just LOVE this book so much ♥♥♥ Laini is such a talented author and how I adore Akiva and Karou ;) I'm so glad that the sequel lived up to my expectations although I need book 3 so much now!

    Awesome and beautiful review, Jenny ♥ So glad you enjoyed it!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I'm dying to read this!!!! I just can't get to it URGG. I've heard much the same type of review from other bloggers, which makes me happy. Great review!

    ReplyDelete
  20. This is an amazing book! I love the world that Taylor created for us... can't wait to read the sequel... :)

    ReplyDelete
  21. I am glad to see that five star rating and yes this was definitely dark and melancholy and heartbreaking but so good... I agree Mik and Zuzanna totally save this book. I loved their roles. I cannot wait to see where this series goes! Beautiful review Jenny!

    ReplyDelete
  22. I am kicking myself for not having read book one..well at least now i can read them back to back and you have me so excited about the characters and world! Awesome-tastic review!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Fantastic review! I still need to read Daughter of Smoke and Bone. You make me want to hurry up and get started on this series.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Incredible review! This book sounds like it's an intense, emotional read. I'll have to bump this one up on my TBR list :)

    ReplyDelete
  25. I just LOVED this book. I was blown away at how well it was written and the cast. I loved that we got to hear from so many of them and I hope that continues in the last one. I just don't know how I'm going to manage until the third one comes out, its such an amazing series.

    ReplyDelete