Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor – Book Review (September TBR)

I flew through the first book in my September TBR challenge. As promised, I will be reviewing each book upon completion.

The next book I’ve chosen to tackle from my list is Dreams of Gods & Monsters – Laini Taylor; the last book in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy. I’m excited to see how the story wraps up, but let’s get on with the review of Days of Blood & Starlight.

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.

Synopsis taken from GoodReads:

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.

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?

Review:

This book picks up right after the events of Daughter of Smoke & Bone. Karou has vanished, and Zuzana, her best friend is worried. Okay, more like terrified, that Karou has met her end. Meanwhile, the media is in a frenzy and Kaz, Karou’s ex is profiting off her disappearance, much to Zuzana’s dismay.

She tried to pray, but she had only ever prayed at night, and it seemed to her that the moons made poor protectors when angels chose to hunt by day.

Karou is of course, alive, because what kind of trilogy would kill their main character off page? She has joined the Chimera vs. Seraphim conflict; aided by her memories from her previous life as Madrigal.

Akiva is wrought with guilt. Without spoiling too much, what he did destroyed Karou’s life and aided the Angel’s advances. Talk about being caught between a rock and a hard place. His goal remains the same though, and the dream of peace Madrigal and he had so long ago is what he is still fighting for now.

The revelation of Akiva’s betrayal at the end of Daughter of Smoke & Bone, could have gone two ways. Karou could have unrealistically forgiven him and continued to persue their relationship, or hated the very thought of him. I love that Laini Taylor was brave enough to make this story real instead of giving into fan desires of a relationship. How unhealthy and annoying it would have been for Karou to easily forgive such an atrocity. Thank God for YA writers who still craft meaningful stories.

What are we fighting for? What are we killing for? What do you see when you look into the future?

As with her first novel in the series, Taylor’s writing is beautiful. The vivid images I am able to imagine by reading her words is incredible. She provides a consistent, complex world that never ceases to amaze me.

Karou is an interesting and complex lead. She is frustrating and weak at times, and then comes out of nowhere with all of this strength and power. Her choices are never easy, and her character gets more and more compelling as she grows.

A dream, dirty and bruised, is better than no dream at all.

Zuzana plays a more critical role in this novel, which is great. Her personality is a joy to read and when the story gets heavy, she is there to give you a bit of humor and lighten the mood a bit. I also enjoyed Mik. While not as critical, he is great to keep Zuzana level headed and I love their relationship.

Once upon a time, a girl lived in a sandcastle, making monsters to send though the sky.

Akiva’s character has me conflicted. I want to root for him. It’s clear he is stricken with guilt and only wishes to atone. At the same time, I’m so angry with him for Karou’s sake, I’m not sure I want her to forgive him. I enjoyed getting to know Hazel and Liarz more in this novel as well.

As long as you’re alive, there’s always a chance things will get better.

Thiago is utterly terrifying. I won’t say much more for fear of spoiling, but he is a very well written character.

I will give them nightmares to haunt their dreams long after I’m gone.

I enjoyed getting into a few more character’s heads this time around. It was interesting to see the perspective of different sides of the war. Like the first novel, this story is very character driven and it stays gripping and entertaining throughout.

Mercy breeds mercy as slaughter breeds slaughter. We can’t expect the world to be better than we make it.

This book is heavy and intense, with themes of atonement and mistrust. While there are brief bits of joy, the majority of the time, you feel the bleakness the characters are feeling. This will not be an easily won battle. The enemies are too great, and smart. Hope is all anyone has left, and it will be interesting to see if it’s enough to generate the peace many are longing for.

Bitter, bitter, this desolation of angels.

Final thoughts:

Many times, the second book in a trilogy only serves one purpose: bridge the gap between the first and the third. This is not one of those books. If anything, I actually found this book be stronger and more compelling. An interesting look at how each choice has a repruccsion, and not all choices lead to happy endings.

Rating:

5/5 ☆

What did you think of Days of Blood & Starlight? How are you doing on your TBR list?

SOCIAL MEDIA

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Need to contact me? Email me: jessicarachow15@gmail.com

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