Title: Days of Blood and Starlight
Author: Laini Taylor
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Publication Date: 6th November 2012
Rating: 4/5 stars
Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a new way of living – one without massacres and torn throats and bonfires of the fallen, without revenants or bastard armies or children ripped from their mothers’ arms to take their turn in the killing and dying.
Once, the lovers lay entwined in the moon’s secret temple and dreamed of a world that was like a jewel-box without a jewel – a paradise waiting for them to find it and fill it with their happiness.
This was not that world.
While I didn’t enjoy this book as much as its predecessor – there is just something about that first foray into a fantasy world that is very rarely matched – it was still a pleasant experience to rejoin the cast from Taylor’s first book.
The subject matter is darker – while the first book turned into a love story, even with death and destruction thrown in, the second book in this trilogy is focused on the necessity for war, the causes and the preparation.
Although I enjoyed the first book more, my favourite character from the trilogy is introduced in this book. Ziri, the last chimaera from Madrigal’s tribe, is a brave and sympathetic character. Not only is he beautifully described, but he has such human traits that it is impossible not to fall a little bit in love with him!
Zuzana and her boyfriend Mik are even more loveable in this story – if that is even possible. Zuzana is convinced that Karou needs her and tracks her down – to a kasbah in the middle of the Moroccan desert. The humans’ interactions with the chimaera are fantastic, showing how friends can be made even in the unlikeliest of ways and places.
There are multiple viewpoints, but the main ones are Karou and Akiva. We learn a lot more about the world and customs of the seraphim in this book, which is incredibly interesting. We also finally learn what it is that Brimstone did and why he needed all those teeth!
Hazael and Liraz – Akiva’s closest siblings – also play a bigger role in this book. I love the absolute dichotomy of the two characters and the way all three balance each other out. The way they interact emphasises sibling love and rivalry, while also showing that love and comfort can be found in harsh environments, such as that in which the Misbegotten (the army made up of the emperor’s bastards) were raised.
It is exhilarating to return to Taylor’s fantasy world and we are completely drawn into the war between the seraphim and the chimaera. And all the while, the ill-fated love story of Karou and Akiva lies between the surface waiting for the right time to shine – but you all have to wait for the next book to get some closure.
While I do believe the first book was better, I love reading as much as I can about a world I have fallen in love with and this book doesn’t disappoint. In fact, it describes more of the world I loved so much – something I admittedly liked more than the plot….. I would still recommend this book for anyone who enjoyed the first one and can’t wait to know more!