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Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

  • Date published: 8th November 2012
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (Hachette AU)
  • Format: Paperback, 528 pages
  • Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Book 2
  • ISBN 13: 9781444722680 ISBN 10: 1444722689
  • Categories: YA – Fantasy, Science Fiction
  • Goodreads / Booktopia / Bookworld
  • Source: provided for review by the publisher

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.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone is a hard act to follow, and while I had hoped that Days of Blood and Starlight is just as good, I didn’t really expect it to be so. I was wrong, and probably have never been so happy about it! Lyrical, beautiful, heart-wrenching, frightening and, above all, compelling, Days is everything I would have ever wanted in a sequel, and then some.

The defining aspects of Taylor’s writing, the characters and the magical flow of the words, are still very much present in this book, but now the characters deeper and more mature. Karou is especially changed, the revelations at the end of the first book have left deeply hurt her, and her trust in others is gone. Bereft of her odd family, she finds comfort in continuing Brimstone’s work, but finds herself questioning her motivations and becoming increasingly disillusioned after her initial burst of purpose. Akiva is similarly hurt and lost, but gradually finds acceptance with his brother and sister again. The character that really stole my heart is Zuzana, who provides a grounding force for Karou and in many ways reminds her why it’s so important to try to find peace in Eretz.

Days isn’t really about the war itself: that’s been going on for a thousand years and has largely been a stalemate because of the resurrection process of the chimera. However, that all changes in Daughter, and this book is about what Akiva and Karou do in the new Eretz, how they face the consequences of their respective choices. For a thousand years the war has been confined to soldiers killing soldiers, but now soldiers attack villages and kill farmers, children and guerrilla forces retaliate by doing the same. The situation escalates quickly and before long Akiva and Karou are stuck making impossible choices, all the while fighting their rich history together. The horrors of warfare, terrorism and slavery make for a bleak tapestry on which Taylor weaves her story, and it’s hard to imagine the two races ever getting past it and having anything resembling peace between them.

Days is a breathtaking read that takes us on an adventure that spans two worlds, and leaves audiences desperate for more. It is paced perfectly and doesn’t waste a word or emotion, and the only thing I’ve ever read that comes close to it is the previous book in the series! There are plot twists that I did not see coming, and surprising moments between the characters as well. I can already tell that the next book will be amazing because of all the territory the series is set to explore. The end of the book is devastating, and in many ways, brings home the desperation of the situation in Eretz in a way that nothing else could have. Akiva and Karou will now live in a warped version of the peaceful future they envisioned together and I think it’s simply heartbreaking the way everything turned out in this book.

Days of Blood and Starlight is an amazing sequel to Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and has been well worth the wait! If you aren’t already reading this series, then there is no describing the epic nature of what you’re missing out on! This book is a must read for fans of Daughter, and the series will, in my opinion, appeal to readers across all age groups and reading tastes.

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