Thursday, 4 April 2013

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

Spoiler warning! This is the second book in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy and so this will contain spoilers from the first book. If you haven't read that then I'd avert your eyes or go and read my review of Daughter of Smoke and Bone instead. You have been warned!

Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

Author: Laini Taylor Website|Twitter
Published: 8 November 2012 (Hodder & Stoughton)
Format: Hardback
Pages: 528
Amazon: Hardback|Kindle
Waterstone's: Hardback|e-book
Book Depository: Hardback

Source: Borrowed from library

Plot Summary (from Goodreads):
Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a new way of living – one without massacres and torn throats and bonfires of the fallen, without revenants or bastard armies or children ripped from their mothers’ arms to take their turn in the killing and dying.

Once, the lovers lay entwined in the moon’s secret temple and dreamed of a world that was a like a jewel-box without a jewel – a paradise waiting for them to find it and fill it with their happiness.

This was not that world.

My Review:
It feels like so long ago that I read Daughter of Smoke and Bone and was left hanging just waiting for this book to be released! I finally managed to get Days of Blood and Starlight from the library and was super excited to start. The story picks up with Karou missing, much to the distress of both Zuzana and Akiva. On top of that there's a steady undercurrent of unease and building tension throughout both the human world and Eratz.

The book opened up with a chapter from Zuzana's point of view and that made me so happy! She was probably my favourite character from the first book and my love for her only intensified in this one. Straight away I was reminded of the humour and incredibly witty and clever characters Laini Taylor has created. Opening with Zuzana also gave you a glimpse into what life has been like since the events of the previous book. I found it really interesting to see how Zuzana and Karou's friendship has been tested by Karou disappearing. I particularly liked the inclusion of emails from Zuzana to Karou which mixed up the narrative a bit.

It takes a good couple of chapters for it to be revealed just what has happened to Karou and what she's up to now. I don't want to say too much or spoil the revelations but I loved her role in this book. Of course it was really interesting to discover more about her character and life as Madrigal and get that exploration of her character's past, but I was far more gripped with what was going on in the present and Karou's role in that.

The whole story feels a lot darker than I remember the previous book being, and has that brooding undercurrent of war and tension.The book focusses on several characters and their individual stories to reflect what is happening in the wider world. I liked some of the smaller characters and their sub-plots, but the downside was that there were some parts that didn't grip me. Mainly Akiva's story. I just found myself losing interest in Akiva's chapters because my mind was with the other characters elsewhere. His story itself I can see is completely necessary to get an idea of what is going on in the war and the wider tale. Towards the end of the book as everything started to come together I appreciated the chapters a bit more. Despite the fact we see lots of different people and their perspectives, the writing always flowed beautifully and it still felt like one complete tale and not lots of separate ones.

Speaking of the writing, I was once again completely blown away by Laini Taylor and her absolutely beautiful writing. I would find myself stopping and rereading sections just to soak up a particular sentence and quote. It really is some of the most elegant writing I've ever had the pleasure to lose myself in.

I was a tad worried how I would get on with this book with not having read DoSaB for a while (I read it last summer) because I'd heard there wasn't much recapping. I didn't really have any difficulty with recalling details whilst reading Days of Blood and Starlight and I was able to keep up pretty easily. I'd still like to go back and reread the first book and that's something I'll try and do as soon as possible. The only problems I had really were the amount of characters (keeping up with who was who) and some of the more heavy fantasy moments, which I had to stop and take a bit slower.

Days of Blood and Starlight did feel a tad darker and different to Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and at times I found myself longing for the familiarity of Prague and Karou's old life, but overall I absolutely loved this book and loved falling in love with the characters and writing all over. The climax to the story was incredible and I'm once again on tenterhooks waiting for the next book so I can discover what's going to happen to the world and the characters. If you haven't yet checked out this sequel then I'd highly recommend you bump it up your to-read list!

Rating: 4*
What to read next: The next book in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy is expected to be released in 2014.
Books like this: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare, Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

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