Review: 'Days of Blood and Starlight' by Laini Taylor

Friday, July 10, 2015

Days of Blood and Starlight
Laini Taylor

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. Forhope.

But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream?

Travel Companion:
If we traveled with the main character Karou, she would be:

The Artist

She would read stunning artwork. Her art would be internationally known. She would also move and never stay in one place. Her art would represent the world and the suffering within.
We would meet her working on some street art in Prague. We would go over and talk to her. She would be evasive and would leave. We would follow her. (Like the stalkers we are.) She would go into her favorite cafe, a weird place with coffins for tables. We would pay for her meal and strike up a conversation with her about art and everything else under the sun. We would mention our travels, and she would be interested. We would invite her to join us on our adventures. She would join us because she would want to see the world with other people.

If we traveled with the main character Akiva, he would be:

The Protester

He would go to protests and rallies. He would protest war. He would yell and shout, but he wouldn't be juvenile about it. Akiva would be a presence at every rally. He would exude power and strength. He would be a karate instructor or fencing instructor for his job. He would work at his job during the day and protest at night. He wouldn't use violence, though, and he would break up fights at the rallies and protests.  
We would meet him at a protest. He would be protesting animal rights. We would see his determination and his dreams of peace for the future. We would ask him to join us to see the world and help bring peace to the world. He would join us because he would want to help people attain peace and safety.

Karou was pretty awesome. She was smart and funny. She was quirky. She had some great lines. 

You’re welcome for the wings, now use them to pee farther away please thank you

Page 142 ‘Days of Blood and Starlight

I liked Karou. She was an interesting character. She was disconnected from the other chimaera. She was the traitor, the angel-lover. She didn’t look like them. She didn’t act like them. Karou was more human than the other chimaera. She was standoffish, but she was a pretty happy person with her friends. She made jokes. She could cry. She was human in a sea of beasts and monsters and angels and seraphim. She was pretty awesome.
She put up with pain to help the chimaera rebellion. She was forced into isolation. She had no one there for her. She went through so much. All for the rebellion. That takes dedication. But I wanted her to have a happier ending. I wanted Karou to truly be happy. I cared for her as if she was my little sister. Laini Taylor, congratulations on making me care for Karou.

Akiva was completely different in this book. He learned from his mistakes. He was more solemn. He was also very sad. He was lonely. His heart ached. He wanted Karou. He wanted to be with her.

I thought Akiva was okay. I thought he had a great backstory. He had a past. He loved Madrigal. He went through a lot to be with her. He cared for her a lot. And he suffered when she was killed. Meeting Karou helped Akiva gain hope, but he screwed it up. (Sigh…the male species.) He loved her, and she loved him. He went through pain. (A different kind of pain. He went through emotional pain. Karou went through physical AND emotional pain. Man…Karou’s really strong.) He did things because of Karou. 

The Adventure Begins (And Ends):

The plot was okay. It was confusing in the beginning. We had so many perspectives. It was too much. It was overwhelming. I was lost. It was like swimming in pudding. (And the image is just…shiver…) I couldn't comprehend what was happening. (My poor brain.)
The plot had action. The fight scenes were amazing. Especially the ones that featured Akiva’s deadly swordsmanship skills. The angels were great fighters. And Ziri could hold his own against some evil angels. The soldiers were efficient and deadly. They attacked quickly and without mercy. The actions scenes has tension, action, blood, and gore. The things an action-lover like me yearns for.
The middle had a more interesting plot. We had Akiva back in the world of the serpahim. He was back with his brother and sister. And he was fighting again. There was Thiago's cruel attacks and the Emperor's retaliation. It was bloody and terrible. Both sides were murdering innocents. The only reason they did it? To get back at the other. They didn't even attack each other specifically. It was like a dance. They danced around each other. They didn’t attack directly. It was horrific to read yet surprisingly interesting.

I'll Wait For You At the Gate:

The romance was confusing. Akiva still yearned for Karou. He stilled loved her. And she despised him. After what he did? I would hate him too. But at the end...Karou's feelings were a mess. I felt like these two would have been a great power couple. They were both great characters. Powerful and strong.
They had chemistry. I can’t deny it. I actually wanted Karou to accept Akiva. They were amazing together. (Before Karou knew the truth, of course.) I would have shipped them if they were together. I understand why Karou didn't show love for him, though. She had been betrayed, but she had to accept the fact that Akiva was trying to make things right. If only she noticed...
And a love triangle started to form. I don't like love triangles. And it’s not like this love triangle was expected. The Kirin was kind. He was someone who cared for Karou. He would be her ally but not her lover. He didn't need to have an unrequited crush. The Kirin was innocent. I didn’t want him to get hurt. 

And as I said, I felt like Akiva and Karou would be great together. 

Perks and Upgrades:

I disliked that it took thirteen chapters to get to Karou's perspective. We had to wait to hear from her. I wanted to know about Karou. I wanted to know what was going on with her. I wanted to know what Karou thought of Akiva's betrayal. I wanted to know what was keeping her busy and where she was. I was waiting for her. This annoyed me a bit. We had to wait for such a long time. It did cause tension and build up, though, but I wanted to know about Karou’s situation from page one.
We had Akiva's perspective, Zuzana's, and some less important characters. We got to catch up with some old friends while we waited for the leading role to walk down the aisle. I didn't like the information dump, though. Everything that happened since the last book was shoved down your throat. You had to sort through the pieces and choose what to keep in mind.

You Have Arrived at Your Destination:

The ending was a complete cliffhanger. I wanted more. I had questions left. What will happen next? What happened to them? Will there be an alliance? Is Ziri okay? I wanted answers. I can't wait for the next book.
The ending had action. And the way Akiva went to help Karou when the angels came? True love. I could see that Akiva would do anything for Karou. And what happened with Ziri? Whoa. And Zuzana going back to Karou? Oh gosh. So much happened at the end. Plot twists were thrown at me as if I was participating in a dodgeball fight.
Akiva's actions against the Emperor were surprising. He did that. Wow. Akiva was stronger than I thought. I truly admired Akiva then. Akiva showed strength and determination. He morphed into a completely different character then. A stronger character, one who could plan things and take action. That really changed my opinion on Akiva. Not that I love his character or anything…I just respect him now.
I was worried about the chimaera and Misbegotten. I had to know what happened to them. Would they survive? Would they form an alliance?
The last chapters were filled with tension. I clung to my phone, wondering and wondering. What happens next?

Overall, the book wasn't terrible. Karou was an amazing character as usual. Akiva was okay; he could have been better. The plot was okay. There was a lot of action, though. (Which I liked.) The romance was a bit odd for me. The love triangle annoyed me, but I sort-of-but-not-really shipped Karou and Akiva. The ending was a cliffhanger, but it was still pretty amazing.



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