Monday, 29 July 2013

Review - Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor

Days of Blood & Starlight (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #2)
Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor
Series: Daughter of Smoke & Bone #2
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 517
Rating: 5/5 stars
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?

Laini Taylor is a master. I would go so far as to say that based on her technical writing skills alone – how beautiful and engaging the prose she writes is – she is one of the best YA authors. Ever. Even if the stories she was telling were pure shit, her writing alone is just so enjoyable that I don’t think I’d care.

But her stories aren’t shit. Days of Blood & Starlight picks up where Daughter of Smoke & Bone left off, and it took me a little while to get re-acclimated within the world that Laini has built.  I wasn’t particularly impressed with the first few chapters – it was a lot of Akiva, and no Karou. I personally never really liked Akiva all that much in Daughter of Smoke & Bone. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t dislike him, I was just much more invested in Karou and her side of the story. Akiva’s storyline was more of an irritating distraction before I could get back to Karou. It picked up around the 15% mark and didn’t slow down until the last page.

In Days of Blood & Starlight, I fell in love with Akiva. Okay, maybe that's a stretch, but I actually enjoyed the seraph storyline, at the very least. The most important thing that changed in Days of Blood & Starlight regarding Akiva was that Hazael and Liraz became characters that I actually cared about – moreso, possibly, than Akiva himself. I still preferred the narrative surrounding Karou, but I didn’t try to rush through Akiva’s chapters in a hurry to get back to her.

Speaking of Akiva, I really hate his name. I don’t even know what it is about it, but I dislike it. I love all of the other names in the book; they’re deliciously creative and I love the distinct naming patterns of the chimaera and the seraph (their names have very different sounds). I just don’t like the name Akiva. Oh well.

Ziri. Oh, Ziri, Ziri, Ziri. I thought Zuze was my favourite character in this series, but she was overthrown by my beloved Ziri. I want an entire book just about Ziri so I can revel in his marvelousness. Okay, he’s a little be pathetic sometimes – he totally moons over Karou all the time, which is just adorable. He may be a bit of a puppy dog,  but he’s also a skilled warrior, a good person, and best of all loyal. Yeah, I’m swooning.

There are some huge events in Days of Blood & Starlight, and I can’t wait to see what happens in Dreams of Gods & Monsters. I just can’t wait until April 2014! That’s SO LONG!

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