DAYS OF BLOOD AND STARLIGHT
Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2
Paranormal Young Adult
Little, Brown BFYR
Received from publisher for review
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.
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?
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.
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.