Days of Blood and Starlight (Number 2 in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy) by Laini Taylor
Published by Hodder & Stroughton
3.5 out 5 Stars
Format: Kindle (available in a range of formats)
***This is book is the second in the trilogy, there will be spoilers for book one!***
So I wrote probably one of my most glowing reviews ever for Daughter of Smoke and Bone, it really was one of the best books I’ve read in a long time, and goes into my top 50 ever. So I did a silly thing, I did made the biggest rookie mistake possible (where reading is concerned anyway), I went straight onto the sequel, no break, not time to digest what had happened in the first book…..silly silly me. I’ve tried to wait a while (I finished a week ago) before writing the review to ensure its a true representation of my feelings towards this book, not comparing it to the first.
Whats it about? Well…it picks up a little while after Karou discovers that she’s Madrigal, that Akiva is her true love and he’s found her again, BUT (and heres the killer blow that Taylor left us with in the last book) he’s also responsible for the destruction of her chimera family, he told the Angels about their resurrection powers, and they took out Brimstone, meaning the secret behind the resurrection magic is gone forever. We follow Akiva as he tries to find Karou in Eretz, she went through and is lost to him, he believes her dead and rejoins the Angels, his brother and sister, in their campaign against the chimaera, but somethings not right, this is not longer a war but a massacre, and his siblings are starting to see that too…..mean while a group of super-sized chimera are appearing and slaughtering Angels, who are they, where did they come from and what does it all mean?
On this side of the portal we follow Zuzana and Mik, left to digest everything thats going on, the press attention outside Karou’s old flat, the Angel worshippers and trying to work out which (if any) of the sightings of girls with blue hair are actually Karou. Zuzana is determined to find Karou and make sure she’s ok…
As for Karou….well thats one you’ll have to find out for yourself.
Make no mistake, this is nothing like Daughter of Smoke and Bone, that was about hope and love, this is about war, death and more war. It explores that awful things people/angels/chimera do to each other, in the name of war. No one knows why the war started, and now its just a battle that they have no option but to fight. Years ago two lovers had the idea that it could end, that the world could change, but today they are no more, their hope, love and belief in each other is gone and in its place is hurt, betrayal and loss.
Days of Blood and Starlight was to me the ‘two towers’ of the series, it needed to happen, it needed to be epic and gruesome and a hard read, to ensure the progression of the story for a conclusion that I’m sure will leave us all gobsmacked. This Two Towers-ness meant that there was an awful lot of scene setting, horrific battles and encounters, and less character development (of the leads). The latter half of the book was more character focussed, and was definitely the better half.
There is a formula for YA trilogies - boy meets girl, they fall in love and are torn apart at the end of book 1, book two sees them struggling to find each other, doubting their feelings and introduces a third to the relationship, book 3 sees the lovers back together fighting the big bad in an epic conclusion. Book 3 in this series isn’t out yet, but books 1 and 2 follow the formula to a tee, which is expected but still a little disappointing from such an imaginative writer.
Don’t get me wrong, it was a great book, stand alone it’d be 4 stars easy, but its not a stand alone, its part of a series and I felt it was just too far away from book 1. The major issue I had with it divergence was the multiple character POV, not just characters we’ve met in book 1, but some new ones too, and there was just too much to follow. I love Zuzana and presume her parts were put in for humor to lift an otherwise heavy book, but I felt she was being made a clown for the sake of it, we didn’t need to know what she was going through in our world, we could have found that out later on.
I loved Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and should have left a gap between the two, I still enjoyed Days of Blood and Starlight, but it wasn’t as magical as the first. Taylor’s writing is still able to transport the reader to another world (literally) and her distinctive style is still present here, but as said, I suspect its suffering from middle book syndrome, and that fills me with hope for the third book.