Reading Beneath The Moon

Eclectic Reviews From An Eclectic Reader

Book Review: Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

Days of Blood and Starlight

Laini Taylor

517 Pages

Published November 6th, 2012

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.
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?

“Once upon a time, an angel and a devil held a wishbone between them. 
And its snap split the world in two.” 

Few authors can take my breath away as effectively as Laini Taylor. Her writing style is flawless, leading me down a long and winding tunnel full of secrets and mysteries. Something about the way the words she crafts flow on the page entices me, drawing me in until I'm so far gone I can't stop reading for anything. Her words.. have an almost lyrical quality to them - and that's what I love most about this series.

“Dead souls dream only of death. Small dreams for small men. It is life that expands to fill worlds. Life is your master, or death is”  

So many things happen in this book, I don't even know where to start. Inevitably this book will have spoilers for Daughter of Smoke and Bone, so If you haven't dove into that one yet stop this review here and go read it. Now. Seriously. It's amaze-balls.  

The previous book left off with Karou discovering so much about herself that it was astounding - including that she's actually a chimera and belongs in a whole different world. In Days of Blood and Starlight we are shown this world and all that it means. It's not a friendly place, being ruled over by the tyrannical beast Thiago that seems to lust after and hate Karou all at once. There's a lot at stake and the world was bathed in blood. 

“Take up a weapon and you become an instrument with as pure a purpose as the weapon itself: to find arteries and open them, limbs and sever them; to take what is alive and deliver it unto death.”  

War has broken out between the Seraphim and the Chimera, and things are quickly growing drastic. Both rulers will stop at nothing to completely annihilate the opposite race. Akiva and Karou are separated and the relationship between them in tatters. Long gone is their plans to bring peace to their lands, they both have other things on their minds. While I was hoping to see more romance between the two of them, I actually ended up really enjoying the story without it. 

“It was funny, she thought, but her smile turned wistful because she had nobody to tell.” 

While Karou was working as a resurrectionist in the Chimera world, Akiva was off in his own world with his brother and sister, trying to make it through each day. His only hopes are to receive forgiveness from Karou and to save her people. His good intentions really shined through when he went out of his way to save Chimera that he was really supposed to be slaughtering. Though Karou had grown wary of him, viewing him as just another Seraphim, something to be feared, he had a pure heart and soul.  

“It wasn't disgust she felt for Karou, not anymore; it was indignation. Incredulity. A man like Akiva crosses worlds to find you, infiltrates the enemy capital just to dance with you, bends heaven and hell to avenge your death, saves your comrade and kin from torture and death, and you send him off looking gut-punched, diminished, carved hollow?” 

Though we meet and get to know many characters in this second installment, one of my favorites was missing - Brimstone. The story was more heart-breaking without his antics and streak of hope. Everything seemed more desolate without him around and it was obvious I wasn't the only one affected. Karou grieves for him often, remembering how he took her under his wing and saved her from death. It's clear the Laini Taylor isn't afraid of ripping my heart out and stomping all over it. 

“Daughter of my heart,' was the message Brimstone sent just for Karou. She wanted to cry again right here in the court, thinking of it. 'Twice-daughter, my joy. Your dream is my dream, and your name is true. You are all of our hope.” 

Death abounds in these books, and I'm sure there will be an even bigger blood bath in Dreams of Gods and Monsters. Everything about these books make me giddy - even the tragedies that seem to occur every few chapters. Seldom is a series ever written so beautifully. I'm off to read the last book now. 


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