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D: Days of Blood and Starlight Review by @LainiTaylor #AtoZchallenge

DD is for Days of Blood and Starlight, the second book in Laini Taylor’s NYT’s bestselling trilogy. Be sure to check out my review of the first book, Daughter of Smoke and Bone. The third book, Dreams of Gods and Monsters, releases next week. And stay tuned for tomorrow…My spidey senses tell me a giveaway is around the corner…Days_of_Blood_and_starlightArt 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 absolutely loved Days of Blood and Starlight. I loved the world building, the honesty, and the courage evident for Taylor to tackle such hard topics.

The book opens a handful of months after book one ends, with a Zuzana scene so hilarious I read it out loud for others to hear. Turns out Karou’s ex-boyfriend has been capitalizing on Karou and Akiva’s bridge event . . . until Zuzana dumps a pink balloon filled with perfume and other substances on his head in front of the cameras.

Zuzana continues to act as a comedic relief through the book as she searches for Karou, which is necessary due to the dark tone of the book. She and Mik fly halfway around the world to Morrocco to an old sandcastle-looking kabah, where Karou has been hiding chimaera working overtime as a new resurrectionist.

Oh Karou. The theme of this book should be guilt and revenge. Karou wrestles with Akiva’s part in her people’s genocide, while Akiva wrestles with his guilt in participating. But as Karou creates new chimaera built specifically for killing angels, she also takes part in massive amounts of bloodshed.

What happens after a genocide? What happens to a world locked in war? What happens to dreams of peace when dreams of being together isn’t enough to accomplish them? Days of Blood and Starlight explore this. Karou and Akiva must both grow and examine their broken dreams and sort through what is still possible even if some parts aren’t.

Some reviewers felt the violence portrayed was gratuitous. I disagree. War is bloody and horrible and you should feel like turning away to breathe. Taylor didn’t turn away from these realistic details but made me feel exactly this. Also, there is an attempted rape scene. Some think this is also gratuitous. I disagree here as well. It fit with the character’s personality and furthered the plot.

Between this and Crown of Midnight, the sequel bar has been set.

Check out Taylor’s blog here.
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