Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Days of Blood and Starlight: Laini Taylor: Review

Epic. Sweeping. Heart-breaking. Gut-wrenching. In a word: Brilliant. It’s going to be a long year waiting for the final book in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone saga.

The blub on the back of my copy of Days of Blood and Starlight says: ‘Once upon a time an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a new way of living.’

Trust me, the world Laini Taylor takes us to could not be further from Akiva and Karou’s dream. She thrusts us into a war between the seraphim and the chimaera, waged with barbarism, brutality, and betrayal. No one is safe.

The book picks up quickly after Karou learns about her past in Daughter of Smoke and Bone. But instead of remembering Akiva’s plea to love and forgive him for what he unwittingly did to the chimaera, she is filled with anger, hatred and vengeance. The exact emotions which led Akiva to harm her people in the first instance. Learning nothing from his experience, she returns to the chimaera, driven by a relentless thirst to make Akiva and the seraphim pay – with blood if necessary.

Akiva, too, returns home to his half brother and sister. But he has undergone a total change of heart. All he wants is peace with Karou and the chimaera – even if it means he has to betray his own kind in the most brutal way to achieve it. I loved Akiva in this book. He’s a fascinating, compelling character who never fails to amaze. He's become one of my favourite book boys.

I wish I felt so kindly towards Karou. I understand her misery at death of her family, but I could not forgive her mindless hatred of Akiva. He did everything he could to convince her he was sorry, but she is set on a course of destruction. It will take a great deal of effort on her part to win my affection again. She definitely has work to do in book three. Thankfully, towards the end of Days of Blood and Starlight she begins to see that the wholesale slaughter of the seraphim is not the answer. I can’t go into too much detail without giving away spoilers, but I was very impressed with her final deception. There is hope for her yet. I’m now anxious to see how this plays out in the final book.

Although Days of Blood and Starlight is brimming with new characters – all beautifully draw – Akiva, Hazael and Liraz (Akiva’s half brother and sister) are without doubt my favourites. Their relationship is poignant and their love and loyalty to each other carries right to the end. It’s in stark contract to what is happening in Karou’s world.

Be warned, this book is not a light read and I found myself taking short breaks from the gruesomeness and brutality. (Think Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins – only on steroids) The only comic relief comes from Zuzane and Mik, Karou’s two friends, who join her and the chimaera. Their banter and light-heartedness bring in the only light in this epic of horror, misery and debauchery.

Do I recommend this book? You can bet your life on it. If you haven’t read it, you are missing out. Big Time. I give it five brilliant blood-stained stars.


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