Days of Blood and Starlight is Laini Taylor’s second novel and the sequel to the massively popular Daughter of Smoke and Bone. While I am not naturally overly struck by angel books, I have to say that Daughter of Smoke and Bone proved a rare exception for me so I was very eager to get my hands of it’s sequel and ecstatic when Hodder & Stoughton were lovely enough to send me a copy for review. This review will contain spoilers for Daughter of Smoke and Bone: proceed at your own peril.
At times, I have to admit that I found it difficult to truly to get into this book – however, I believe this may have been down to me as a person and not the book as lately I have felt I’ve lost a little of my reading mojo and as it’s a long book it became quite daunting to complete. While I did enjoy the opening third, I think that perhaps around the middle I was less engaged than I would normally be reading and for me events started to lag ever so slightly. That said, I really enjoyed Days of Blood and Starlight and think fans of the series will absolutely adore this next installment. Despite my difficulty getting into the book at first, the final third is a stunning, gasp-filled triumph.
Taylor’s prose is highly evocative and her style of writing is beautiful and unusual. I loved the allusions to fairytales in the short sections that began “Once upon a time…” and the way those tiny paragraphs could set a scene so well. I have to admit that as someone who writes myself, I had a little writer’s envy for the way Taylor could so well describe surroundings and the power she displayed in those short fairytale breaks.
Karou and Akiva broke the wishbone and now are separated with the revelation that Akiva killed Karou’s family in the belief she was dead. Karou is trying to find a way back to her world and Chimaera and learn more about who she used to be, and if she can bring back Brimstone.
The setting of Morocco was so well-written. I found myself feeling like I was in the desert myself and I love the internationality of Taylor’s writing. If the first book, like me, had you itching to go to Prague then prepare for dream about Morocco and deserts for a while too.
Karou’s associations with the Chimaera and their war against the angels was really interesting. I found that while the first third of the book was harder to engage with, by the end I was hooked and one of the highlights for me was Karou and the Chimaera. I loved how she set up their ‘camp’ of sorts and I found Taylor evoked the sense of belonging and not belonging Karou felt very well.
The White Wolf, Thiago, was a character who from his brief appearance in book one I already hated and my opinion of him did not change throughout the book. There is one scene in particular which I found incredibly different to read. As I try to refrain from spoiling the actual book I’m reviewing, I don’t want to go into too much details but it was a very chilling read.
While meshing together two different plots can be difficult, I think Taylor’s novel carries it off with remarkable ease. As Karou aids the Chimaera and works towards being the new resurrectionist, Akiva is questioning the angels more and more and is tired by the war. The way in which the two plots intermingle works really well and the final third is a smashing conclusion that’s left me keen to read book three.
Overall, Days of Blood and Starlight was a beautifully written book which has great crossover appeal across YA and ‘not-YA’ despite my own difficulties engaging with it at the start. I am really looking forward to the final installment in this trilogy and more of Laini Taylor’s writing. I received a free copy of this book for review from the publisher which as ever does not affect my review. Days of Blood and Starlight is available to buy now.