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?
Ok, so I liked this one more than the first, but I have to say, I wanted to reach into the book, grab Karou by the shoulders and shake her for most of it! I can understand that she needs some space from Akiva after what she found out, but she’s doing the exact same thing he did in seeking revenge and not even questioning how this “rebellion” is being handeled. And the way she treats her feelings for him as something shameful and embarrassing – seriously? Issa is a help, telling Karou not to be ashamed of her love for Akiva. But still, at the end, after everything she’s learned, she still convinces herself that she can’t love him because he’s the “enemy.” Honestly, if she ever truly loved him, I don’t understand how she can convince herself that he is somehow evil now. I think Liraz summed it up pretty well when she vents about how Karou keeps hurting Akiva, she acts like he single handedly “finished” the war though the massacre and sealing the portals, even though all those around her keep telling her it was only a matter of time, maybe she’s guilty she wasn’t a part of it?
Mini rant aside. I like the new characters, Ziri – the last of Karou/Madrigal’s kind; he’s really sweet and has a good moral center. I like that we get to see more of Akiva’s brother and sister too, I really like Liraz and that we are starting to see the depth behind her hard exterior. I kind of hope she and Ziri end up together; they can definitely use some more chimera/seraphim relationships to help the cause, and they both deserve someone, Ziri will probably help bring more of Liraz’s soft side out too. Though Ziri’s new appearance could make that difficult! I have to give the author props, she totally had me going with Ziri’s new skin, I bought into it as much as Akiva did and it was a great plot twist! I can’t wait to see how it turns out in the last book.
However, the fact that I bought it so easily also made me dislike Karou a little more in this book; it wasn’t until the last few chapters that she began to redeem herself – with that nudge from Issa. The epilogue gave me hope that she and Akiva will work through things, it’s really not fair what she blames him for, and even if they don’t get back together romantically, I would like to see them as friends at least. Anyway, I was pleased with Karou’s transformation in this book. She goes through so many different phases and emotions, but in the end she finally decides to take matters into her own hands and stop blaming everyone else for her problems; though she is still blaming herself for the world’s problems, which I don’t really think is any better.
I really appreciated that we get to know Akiva more. He so much more complex than I think anyone but his brother and sister understand. And the secrets that were revealed about him in the end make me look forward to an additional plot twist in the last book. I really like him, he’s a great character, he’s got these really strong convictions, he is hell bent on protecting those he loves, he wants to make a difference, and he’s trying to find every way to repent for his past actions without denying them.
I like that Zuze and Mik come in to add some levity and remind us that they are all still pretty young, only 18. They also bring out the humanity of Karou, she gets lost in the “monstrosities” of the chimera sometimes, and these two remind her what is really at stake. It isn’t the survival of one people over another, it’s a peaceful coexistence of both. I was really impressed with the writing, it’s really impressive in this one. Taylor transitions so smoothly between voices (don’t even need labels) and sometimes her chapters or segments comes off as poetry, it’s really a great style and very inspirational.