Days of Blood & Starlight is the sequel to Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone. If you haven’t read Daughter, don’t read this review because the setup is one giant spoiler. Ba-bye.
Seriously, guys, you have to go – spoilers to Daughter are a coming. Shoo. … I can hear you breathing. Hang up.
No, you hang up.
No, you hang up.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone left us hanging from a cliff as Madrigal-slash-Karou flew threw the hole in the sky to another world. Her world, what was left of it. Nobody has seen Karou in a long time since. Akiva thinks she’s dead forever. So convinced, he’s back with his own kind, the Seraphim, as they slaughter and enslave remaining Chimera.
Zuzana is desperate to find her best friend, but Karou is not to be found. That is, until an odd news story breaks about teeth missing from animals in museums across the globe.
Once we finally catch up with Karou, we see she’s busy making monsters ever more monstrous in order to take vengeance on the vicious Seraphim. To do so, she’s had to bring what’s left of the Chimera to the human world. She gives them her pain, her skills, everything she has to make up for her betrayal of loving an angel, of daring to dream a more peaceful world.
She wouldn’t be able to escape the creatures she made.
It takes Karou an annoyingly long time to realize escalating the war between Chimera and Seraphim cannot lead to peace. Nor is following the male who had her head chopped off in her last life a good idea. In fact, Karou’s passive obliviousness got annoying really fast.
While I love the premise of this series, I don’t enjoy reading it as much as I want to. For starters, the author lays it on pretty thick. The first book is all love, love, love, Karou’s different, love, love, so different and more loving smoochy faces. The sequel is bloody pain, pain, blood, pain, pain, lots more blood, pain, pain, yikes. There’s not much room to breathe in this story, and that made it easy to put down a few times. Also the writing itself is beautiful in parts, poetic in others, but so poetic that I had to re-read a few passages just to figure out what was actually happening.
The main characters come across as one dimensional – the good characters are tortured, hopeful souls and the villains are as bad as can be with no nuance or complexity.
Things to love about this series: constant action, you’re always a few steps ahead of the characters (which kind of works in this case) and the broad cast of characters keeps things moving when Akiva and Karou start to drag.
All that said, fans of these books seem to really love them and I can definitely see why. By the end, Tailor raises the stakes so high you’ll want to dive into the next book “Dreams of Gods and Monsters”, which isn’t out yet. She’s extremely skilled at crafting cliff hangers.
Here are a few positive reviews for counterbalance: