Wednesday, April 29, 2015

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

Posted by A Drop of Romeo at 2:00 PM

Age: Young Adult
Category: Fantasy; romance
Rating: 5 stars

Rosie Thinks: From the incredible ending of the first book, this story took off at the speed of light. The pace was just frenetic, and it grew to a fever-pitch for an ending that was even more explosive than the last one. Maybe one of the reasons this book held me so captivated is because I could never guess where it would go next. Laini Taylor provides so many twists and turns that I probably have whiplash, and couldn’t even begin to fathom the next one.
This book starts off with an impossible situation: Karou has remembered everything, only to find out that Akiva has been instrumental in the death of her chimaera family. As such, this story has a much darker tone - one that I enjoyed immeasurably. Akiva and Karou are apart for much of this book, making it more a story of war than of love. I actually found this change very appealing, and the gripping, dark suspense had me more engrossed than the lighter tone in 'Daughter of Shadow and Bone' did. The dynamics of Akiva and Karou's relationship have completely changed and I was enthralled with the way Taylor dealt with this impossible situation - because how can Karou ever forgive Akiva, or even herself? In this vein, this story revolved around shame, forgiveness and pain, and had a pretty big amount of character development in it, especially for Karou. Not only are these two torn apart, they're also on different sides of a war. The chimaera have been decimated, and the seraphim are pushing into peaceful chimaera territory and slaughtering innocents.

I once read something an author said in his writing advice blog that struck me deeply, and has stayed with me for a long time: find your character's limits and break them - think of the worst situation possible, and put them in it. This is my interpretation and poor wording of it, since I couldn't find the exact quote, but you understand what I'm getting at, right? 'Days of Blood and Starlight' did this to pretty much every character, and it was incredible the way their characters were broken down and reshaped around the situation.

The only problem I had with this story was Zuzana. Her and Mik began to get really annoying to me. Objectively, I get why they were there, but I found her POV to be completely disruptive. Taylor was trying to interject some light-heartedness and laughter into a gloomy situation and I'm not against that. But the way she did it was a bit too much - I found myself skipping parts of Zuzana's POV because it was pretty inconsequential.

I found this review pretty hard to write, because I simply can't convey the depth of my feelings. I read about 80% of it in one day and my emotions have been torn to shreds. I can't tell you how much I love that this story doesn't revolve around Akira and Karou's love. It's a big part of it, for sure, but even bigger is the war tearing Eretz apart. From the first book, we only get a glimpse of Eretz, but now I feel like I have a complete knowledge of it. Taylor's world-building was so subtle I barely noticed it - she didn't over describe anything, just presented it to the reader in the flow of her beautiful writing.

I normally think the second book in a series is the weakest, but somehow Taylor's has completely blown the first book out of the water for me!


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