Early Review: Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

, by Kt Clapsadl

Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2

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?

For all her life Karou wanted to know who and what she is, but those answers came with a steep price as they revealed shocking truths about her past. She was in love with the enemy and because of that her people payed the consequences. Now on opposite sides from her lover and unsure who to trust, Karou is trying to find her way in her strange new world. Paying penance for her past deeds, she's helping her people return one resurrection at a time as they prepare for the ultimate battle. Be it for revenge or salvation, only time will tell.

If it weren't for the uniquely lyrical prose I almost would have thought Days of Blood and Starlight was written by a different author. It just felt incredibly lackluster when compared to the first installment. In fact up until I reached the 40% mark I pretty much had to force myself to continue reading. Considering the fact that first book was all consuming for me, that was a startling change. This book was just so incredibly slow as the lyrical prose tipped over from magical to overwhelming. Also, the rotating perspectives only dragged things even further. I realize that the author was probably trying to expand the story past just Karou's perspective, but in all honesty I could have done without most of the rotations, especially as they all became rather overwhelming. A lot of my problem with that was that by the time I was able to get "sunk" into the current character, it would up and switch to another one, throwing me out of the book.

I can't help wondering where the awesome and amazing Karou that we met in Daughter of Smoke and Bone went. She is nothing like her old self in this book, and it really disappointed me. I do realize that she had her world turned upside down and felt the utter sting of betrayal from Akiva. But even so, that doesn't explain why she is a completely different person this time around. She's so much harder, as well as incredibly bitter. Karou's spark just seems to be gone, especially as she wallows in guilt and allows everyone to walk right over her. She really believes she deserves their treatments towards her, and for what? Because she fell in love? She wasn't the one to spill the secrets that brought on their destruction, but she still accepts their scorn and hatred as if she had. Making matters worse was the way she treated Akiva, each time destroying him a little more. The man was giving his heart and soul utterly and completely in hopes of redemption and yet she couldn't possibly show him any more scorn. It just took the beautiful romance from the first book and threw it out the window making my heart break for Akiva.

I realize that my mediocre feelings towards this book may very well place me in the minority, but in all honesty I'm just so frustrated with the vast change from the first installment, that I feel a large amount of disappointment with Days of Blood and Starlight. I really hope that this book's issues can be chalked up to a sophomoric slump as I would really like to see this series go out on as high of a note as it began. I will say that some of my issues with Karou's lack of a backbone did seem to slowly start a turn around by the end of the book, so hopefully that means the spark that drew me to her in the first place will make a shining return. That being said, and my frustrations aside, I don't regret reading Days of Blood and Starlight as it set things up for a potentially epic finish to the series.

(Received a copy from the publisher via Netgalley)

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Previous Books:
  1. Daughter of Smoke and Bone

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