Days of Blood & Starlight
Author: Laini Taylor
Publication Date: November 6th, 2012
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Synopsis: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?
My Thoughts: Finally I'm here being able to talk about book #2 in this phenomenal series! When I read Daughter of Smoke and Bone a while ago, I was completely enraptured. I was head over heels in love with the story, with Karou, with Akiva, with Brimstone, with the worlds within the story, just all of it. Everything about these books is incredible and so beautifully written. Taylor paints for us in these books this dark but amazing world that exists all around us oblivious humans. And she has me wishing it was real because it's all so mesmerizing.
We get to pick up pretty much right where we were left off, and thank goodness for that because I am just not willing to miss out on a single detail of this story. Karou has found her way back to where she came from and is facing her past and all it's demons (literal and figurative). She wants to right the wrongs she's done to her people, but somehow what she's doing still feels wrong. How far is she willing to go to make amends. How much of herself is she willing to give or lose to pay for what she's done. Or at least what she feels she has done. Because Karou places all the blame on herself for the fate of her people when really she is not completely to blame. The worst she did was fall in love, and dream of a better world. But who ever said love was easy?
Love, for Karou and Akiva is anything but. I guess you could make that assumption for yourself when you factor in that she is a demon and he is an angel. Try to imagine what kind of twisted love story could be thought up for them. Then times the heart break, the romance, the pain, the tears, the destruction, and love by 100. Laini Taylor has written an epic love story that will break your heart ruthlessly over and over. That doesn't really change any in this book. We get to learn even more about Karou's past, her first life. We get to see what where she came from was like, and what is has turned into since she left. And we also get to learn a lot more about Akiva and his background, his story, his reasons for his actions. And the fight he is willing to put out, because he also feels he has done grievous wrongs and needs to write them.
So essentially, this book is about Akiva and Karou attempting to fix all the wrongs they believe they've done. While they're two groups are at open war. Akiva is still trying to find a way back to Karou, which is obviously not the easiest task when their people are killing each other and they are both involved in it. I love Karou and Akiva so very much. They are amazingly well developed characters. They both have an endurance and ability to feel that just blows me away. They can be so strong and fierce when it's needed. But then they can be so soft and understanding as well. They both have massive hearts and big dreams. But they can't get past their own wrong deeds or even each other's wrong doings enough to see each other clearly.
I spent the majority of the book just willing them together. Turning pages and biting my nails and hoping and hoping. Hoping right along with both of them for a better world. For the war to end. For life to stop ending. This has to be one of my favorite love stories. It has unreal depth and story encapsulated within it. It's about so much more than their love for each other, but for their own people, for a different life, for a happier ending. And all the while death and destruction surround them and they are just trying to find their places and I'm waiting for them to find each other...again.
I cursed when this book was done because I was just not ready for it to be done. When the book has me so caught in it's grasp like that I am never ready to let it go. I'm gripping it just as hard as it's gripping me, and we're both saying "Don't let go! Don't stop!". Waiting for 2014 for the next book in the series is going to be so hard. I need to see this story continue! This is another one you gotta put on your to read list. And don't wait, don't push it on the back burner, you'll be sorry you did! There is no excuse for missing out on a story like this one. The originality will knock you off your feet, I promise you. Read it! Now! :)