*In this book review I will give a brief overview and opinion on the text without the deliberate inclusion of any spoilers.
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?
Rating: 3.5 out of 4 books
The sequel seems to be a lifetime away from the first book. Set in a time of chaos, war and loss, we see the characters take their own paths in this fight whilst dealing with past consequences and new dangers. Read my review of the first book in the series here.
‘Life and peace. Victory and vengeance. And never the twain shall meet.’ – Karou/Madrigal
Loss is a huge theme in our protagonists story this time round, as we see her dealing with guilt, grief and shame throughout the book. The author really goes out of her way to show a different side to the character, as we see a dual strength and vulnerability to Karou that is at the forefront throughout her journey.
‘The weight of all these souls would be as good as shackles to her, but he knew that she wouldn’t shirk them.’ – Brimstone
As for Akiva, there seems to be a desperate hopefulness he clings to despite of the direness around him. I love how much he has grown since we were first introduced, with there being more layers to the character. He is both a warrior and a brother, lover and enemy. Plus, there seems to be a cloud of questions surrounding Akiva that weren’t there in the first book and leaves an opening for potential future storylines.
Similarly with Liraz, Akiva’s sister is a character that seems to have many layers both tough and vulnerable, as the book goes on we get to see her stripped of any barriers she has to the point of which I feel like she cannot go back to.
We also get to see more of secondary characters such as Zuzana and Mik (two of my favourite characters) who bring life to the darkness of Karou’s world and bring a much needed sense of humour that relieves the reader. Their connection is so deep and pure, one that stands out as innocent of the horrors closing in around their world.
‘She had to be her own strength, complete unto herself.’ – Karou
I really enjoyed the Middle Eastern feel of the book, as it is mostly set in Morocco, arguably the opposite of Prague where we first met Karou. With its exotic flavours and sandy landscapes, the country displayed in the book reminds me of a present day wasteland, especially with the crumbling abandoned building our characters find themselves holed up in. I particularly enjoyed how the exotic, lesser known culture seemed to run parallel with the chimera, highlighting their own culture. But the two cultures- and species (humans and chimera) are really brought to the surface especially when they come under stark contrast with humans like Mik and Zuzana.
Although I did not feel the same obsession to finish the second book as I did the first, I still found myself immersed in the story and intrigued by all the new elements and characters the authors introduces. Even though the book changed in pace and setting, I still feel a compulsion to see through Karou’s journey-all of the characters journey in fact. There are so many questions left unanswered and things to look forward to in the final instalment of the trilogy, I’m eager to see how their stories end.
Have you read this book? If so, what did you think?