Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Review: Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor


Author: Laini Taylor
Release Date: Already out!
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Thanks to: Hachette Australia for the review copy!
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. For hope.

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

I am blown away. You'd think after Daughter of Smoke and Bone, perhaps some of the awe would fade, that maybe the honeymoon period would dull because the newness of this riveting world has lost it's shine. Wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Smoke and Bone is frightfully difficult to live up to; but apparently you can match perfection with ten thousand drops of ruthlessly spilled blood. The worldbuilding is expanded upon in greater detail, we see so much more of Eretz and though it's mostly viewed through lenses thick with terror and destruction, I found it fascinating to explore the power and majesty of both Chimaera and Seraphim. We meet new characters, some only briefly, but each leave behind a powerful punch. Alliances shift, emotions are exposed raw, and for those with a squeamish stomach or else naively hoping love will triumph and the worst death you'll witness is a quick and kind knife to the heart, I suggest you go find a nice book about unicorns and plug your ears against the wailing you'll hear from the rest of us as we read.

Days of Blood and Starlight is a war book. It's not the build up, nor the aftermath, but the chilling knee-deep reality of war.  It's not as simple as Seraphim vs. Chimaera. One is not simply the good or the bad. Through multiple perspectives, we're given a window into the evil, the innocent, and those seeking redemption on both sides so that you're never left secretly cheering one to obliterate the other. You feel the cost of every death and when it escalates in retaliation, you wonder how there will ever be hope of making peace. Violence breeds violence and it's a never ending cycle of death, loss, revenge; death, loss, revenge. Who really wins in the end? One side may make the final strike, but it's no victory when you have no one left alive to celebrate with.
 
Karou. It's hard to find light in her eyes anymore. She has lost that bright aura of happiness and curiosity we once saw; but not gone is her stubbornness. She is determined to right her 'wrongs' and she's offered a chance to repay those debts. She's living among an army of Chimara who see her as a traitor, there are few she can trust, but she has a purpose there, one that may buy her safety. I find it so unfair that she should feel ashamed when her only crime was of engaging in a love free from prejudice. How she is made out to be the traitor and bringer of doom when neither she nor Akiva swung the first blade against the 'enemy'. They dreamed of peace and instead were rewarded with a nightmare of murder. Even more devastating is to see her working with that... thing. A once enemy is now sort-of ally and a once lover is now the enemy. Cruel world.

Karou and Akiva don't share a great number of scenes together, if barely enough to fill a hand. The absence is an acute ache, but when they are together? It's a blade straight to the heart. Especially experiencing it from Akiva's mind; I would bleed a thousand rivers if only for him to find reason to smile again. He is, without question, one of my favourite males in fiction. Not for the purpose of schoolgirl swooning, but for the complexity and utter heartache of his development. He has endured the epitome of pain and sacrifice, and he's not without his own sins and horrific crimes, yet he constantly seeks redemption, never giving up even when he hits his lowest points. He's still chasing the dream of peace and unity. He refuses to be dragged back into the senseless killing, even as he's revered as the "Beasts Bane," destroyer of Chimaera. I so admire his perseverance.

Days of Blood and Starlight is a million shades darker, brutal and emotionally draining than the first book, but don't despair, there are still moments of happiness. Just in small doses. And they come primarily in the form of Zuzana and Mik; the world's most ADORABLE COUPLE EVER. Their love, their laughter, their brightness makes you forget, just for a moment, the ongoing torture and slaying elsewhere. A much needed reprieve from the battering the remainder of the book has on your heart.

If you have not yet been exposed the wonders of Laini Taylor's written art, then you have not experienced true literary love. It's hard to believe this is a work of fiction; I'm half expecting to look out my window and see blood raining from the sky as seraphim and chimaera ruthlessly battle above. Days of Blood and Starlight is alive; bleak and hopeless, violent and full of grief, but alive in every gut-aching emotion, every flash of blade and stroke of wing. It hurts so bad, because it's so astonishingly real. This is not a fairy tale, nor will there ever be a fairy tale ending, not with all that has been lost. Sacrificed. Stolen. But even in the darkest recesses of despair, there is the tiniest, tiniest, tiniest shred of hope and you latch onto it like it's your own soul trying to escape.

 5 million Golden Apples!

You can find Days of Blood and Starlight at:

21 comments:

  1. Gahhh Brodieeeeeee I feel like crying after reading your review- Especially the Akiva paragraphhh!! I seriously hope the third book will satisfy the Akiva/Karou fans:) I WANT THEM TO BE TOGETHER!!! Amazingggg review Brodieee!!<3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. AKIIIIIIIIIIIIIVAAAAAAAAAA.
      *clutches chest and sobs*

      I want them to come together so much, but I can't deny I love that Laini took this road. It's real and painful and shreds my heart, but it will make when they DO come together all the more worth it. BECAUSE THEY WILL FIND A WAY BACK TO EACH OTHER, SHIRLEY, THEY HAVE TO.

      Delete
  2. Brilliant review, Brodie! I quite enjoyed this book just . . . not as much as the first installment sad to say. Still I'm pretty excited for the third book after what happened in the end. Also I must second what Shirley said and say I WANT AKIVA AND KAROU TO BE TOGETHER ALREADY!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry you didn't enjoy this as much as book one :( I'm not sure if I can even CHOOSE a favourite, the writing standard is as beautiful as ever, but they're so different in tone. I love them equally for varying reasons. Blood and Starlight definitely broke my heart more! </3

      Delete
  3. Brodie, you make me die. Your review is just beautiful! You did Days of Blood and Starlight much more justice than I did. Your review writing ability is freaking awesome, and I hope I write reviews as good as yours when I grow up.

    Back to the book - FJRIEHGEHJRTG?! Oh, how it hurt! But it was so amazing! And Akiva! And KArou! And oh my god, that beast! Ohh, how I wanted to slip a freaking... really awful bladey weapon through his flesh! God, he makes my skin crawl! I'm not sure I have ever felt such hatred for a fictional character before. Even Voldy didn't cause such loathing and disgust and... ugh! I hate him!

    Laini Taylor is one pretty amazing author-lady! And I want to give her a hug of gratitude for sharing with us the wonders of her imagination.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahaha awwww you are too effing sweet and I LOVE YOU, but oh my god, Jo. Your review. It was PERFECTION. I would have hated you if this didn't live up to the ridiculous huge expectations you set, but it's Laini Taylor, so OF COURSE it did :)

      SUFHDFNJIKC. BEAST is the right word for him. Especially toward the end, I was clawing at the pages. YES to your Voldy comment. I mean, you kinda loathe the guy for all he's done, but not in the same way as Laini's beast. *shudder*

      Delete
    2. Pfft, I'm nowhere near as eloquent as you. Oh no! I'm now going to worry about every positive review I write now in case you don't like the book when you read it! I don't want to be hated :( Lol.

      And the world's most hated YA "Villain" goes to... Lol. Oooh, I get so angry at the mere thought of him!

      Delete
  4. 5 million golden apples! Why haven't I started on my copy yet?! I have yet to read a 3 star or lower review from any of my friends, and this makes me pretty happy. After the first book, I know I can expect only good things from this author and clearly second book syndrome is non-existent where Laini Taylor is concerned. Also, Brodie, THIS:

    He is, without question, one of my favourite males in fiction. Not for the purpose of schoolgirl swooning, but for the complexity and utter heartache of his development.

    I love the way you put that! There is nothing better than a strong male character who is more than just the love interest. Awesome review, Brodie!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You haven't started reading yet?!?! Oh my god. You are in for a hell of an emotionally upsetting rollercoaster. You need to start reading it now please, because I am dying to see what you think!!

      There is nothing better than a strong male character who is more than just the love interest.
      EXACTLY. I find it so disappointing when a guy is just there to woo the girl. Give me more real, three-dimensional characters like Akiva, please!

      Delete
  5. BRODIE. BRODIE. BRODIE. *dies* YOUR REVIEW is simply PERFECT. Your review captures everything I thought about Days of Blood and Starlight. Laini Taylor is such a gifted and talented author. Akiva and Karou's relationship was simply beautiful and sad. I NEED the 3rd book so desperately!

    PS: AKIVA. AKIVA. AKIVA. How I love you.

    SO SO SO glad you enjoyed it, Brodie! ♥♥♥

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. CELINE. CELINE. CELINE. Aww, thank you!! I desperately want to get my hands on Laini's faerie series after loving this and her short story collection. That woman is a GOD of words!

      It is going to be a torturously long wait until the final book! *weeps* HOLD ME, CELINE.

      Delete
  6. YOU READ IT! I agree with EVERYTHING you said! Mik and Z are ADORABLE, Karou and Akiva are heart-breaking, the story is incredible, and your review is mind-blowingly AWESOME! ;) I can't wait for the sequel now!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MIK AND ZUZANA. I had the BIGGEST grin on my face in their every scene. They were the light to the dark, giving such a perfect balance. I'm slightly terrified what book 3 will bring, but I still need it like AIR. Thanks, Keertana!

      Delete
  7. Brodie.
    BRODIE.

    I have CHILLS.
    CHILLS READING THIS.

    And maybe tears, too.
    This: "Violence breeds violence and it's a never ending cycle of death.
    YES :(
    And it's shattering because you're shown that. And Akiva's hopelesness now he's really, TRULY lost everything and understands that.

    And this: "Karou. It's hard to find light in her eyes anymore."

    I think this was one of the hardest things :(
    I mean, in DoSaB Karou was LIFE. And she was beautiful and alive and free and everything I want to be, and it's like her flame is sputtering and choking and *sobs*

    "This is not a fairy tale, nor will there ever be a fairy tale ending, not with all that has been lost."

    *WAILS* YES.
    BRODIE.
    I'MA EAT YOUR BRAIN.

    OK?!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I mean, in DoSaB Karou was LIFE. And she was beautiful and alive and free and everything I want to be, and it's like her flame is sputtering and choking and *sobs*

      NOW YOU'RE MAKING ME CRY ;( I so badly want her to find that part of herself again in the third book. It will take a LOT of work, but surely.... surely by the end there will be light? There HAS to be. I refuse to believe Laini will kill everyone and destroy the whole of Eretz, thus ending the war.

      .... you can have just a nibble. A NIBBLE.

      Delete
    2. Can I have a nibble of the tasty wordy bit? *omnomnomnom*

      "I refuse to believe Laini will kill everyone and destroy the whole of Eretz, thus ending the war."

      I WANT to believe she wouldn't, but I'm beginning to think LAINI IS EVIL O__O

      Delete
  8. I have heard so much about this one and can't wait to start series.
    Happy reading,
    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh you will LOVE IT. BEYOND WORDS. I've yet to come across an author who can quite write like Laini Taylor. She is truly one in a million <3 So excited to see what you think!

      Delete
  9. *faints* BRODIE, YOUR REVIEW IS GORGEOUS. GORGEOUSGORGEOUSGORGEOUS. And yes, Caps lock was needed. ;) Addmitedly, this book has been sitting on my currently reading shelf for a few days at least, but I haven't read but one page! Why? Because I'm an idiot, and also my life is insanely insanely busy. But I WILL read it. Because your review is perfect and all those golden apples are practically admonishing me for not reading it.
    As apples do...

    ReplyDelete
  10. I still haven't picked up the first book yet but all I see are awesome reviews for it and yours is another one. Glad you loved it!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Sarah REALLY wants me to read these, I am still considering cos apparently there's this bit about teeth in it and teeth bother me greatly.

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
 

Eleusinian Mysteries Copyright © 2012 - |- Template created by O Pregador - |- Powered by Blogger Templates