Sunday, November 16, 2014

Days of Blood & Starlight Book Review

Title: Days of Blood & Starlight
Author: Laini Taylor
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: November 6, 2012
ISBN-13: 978-0316133975

528 pp.

Reading copy via public library

I didn't do a review for the first book in this series, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, which introduces the reader to Karou. Karou is an art student in Prague. She has blue hair and portfolios full of drawings of monsters. Not that out of the ordinary for an art student. Except Karou's hair really is blue and the monsters are her family.

Laini Taylor establishes some first-class worldbuilding with the first book on how Karou's family of monsters are chimera, creatures from another world, locked in a interminable battle with the seraphim, who are angel-like in appearance only.

Karou finds herself attracted to Akiva, a soldier in the seraphim army, as the portal between their worlds is discovered.

So go and read Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I'll wait.

Wow, that was fast. It's that good, right?

Days of Blood and Starlight picks up right where the first books ends. Karou is trying to save the chimera army and Akiva is forced to fight for the seraphim side. I don't want to get all spoilery, so I'm not going to discuss the plot.

In addition to the exquisite worldbuilding, it's the characters who make this series so addictive. Karou is smart, but vulnerable, and achingly human. Akiva is anguished by the war, but despite the odds, hopeful.

And the supporting characters are brilliant, too. Karou's friend Zusana brings much needed comic relief and a dose of reality. The chimera general, Thiago, is downright chilling. Other characters, even throwaway ones, are given personality and depth.

This middle volume does not disappoint, as middle volumes often do. It continues the storyline of the first while raising the stakes and leaving you gasping for the final volume, Dreams of Gods and Monsters.

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