Review: Days of Blood & Starlight (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2) – Laini Taylor

12812550e-copy provided by Net Galley in exchange for fair review

Summary:

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?

Review:

Make no mistake about it. Not only does Laini Taylor continue to have gorgeous cover art for her books, she has robust world building, wonderfully realized characters (I can’t tell you how happy I was that Zuzana played a sizable role after more or less disappearing in the second half of the first book) and a carefully considered and well crafted plot. She’s still an author that I would easily recommend for an introduction into YA fantasy, or even fantasy in general.

But.

You knew there was a but coming, weren’t you?

How much did you love the Madrigal portion of the last the book? You know, the last 25% of the story? I firmly believe that your enjoyment of this book will be in direct proportion to your enjoyment of that section of the first book. If you liked/loved it, you’ll probably enjoy this one even more as the book focuses entirely on that aspect of the story – even Zuzana’s story intertwines with this main story. For me personally, I loved her characters and her depiction of Prague and Marrakesh so much that I wanted to stay there, that portion of the book didn’t work as well for me. So this book just didn’t sing for me the way that the first one did. As much as depth as she’s given her world, it’s really Karou, Zuzana and Mik that inhabit it that give this book it’s heart and, for the most part, the Chimera and the Seraphim don’t quite match it for me. So while I liked the book, I can’t say that I loved the book and I don’t know that I’ll finish the series.

That whole last paragraph though? That’s me and that’s my preference, and it isn’t meant to take anything away from the accomplishment that this book and this series is. If you had any interest at all in the first book, I still can easily recommend this book. If you haven’t read that first book, you will need to before you read this or you will be completely lost. This is not an episodic series and shouldn’t be treated as such. Taylor is lauded by YA fans and right so. Like with Leigh Bardugo, if all “disappointments” were at this level, we’d be drowning in an abundance of creativity and skilled writing.

Verdict: Buy It

Available: Now

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