I loved Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone and was excited to dig into Days of Blood & Starlight, the second book in the trilogy. When that book ended on a cliff hanger, I did what any other bookworm would do at midnight – downloaded the next book to my Kindle and stayed up the rest of the night finishing it!
“Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a world free of bloodshed and war.”
For those not already familiar with Daughter of Smoke and Bone, this is the age-old take of forbidden love with a beautifully constructed twist. Karou is a blue-haired art student raised by demons and Akiva is a broken angel avenging the death of his true love. A war between angels and demons has raged for 1000 years in another world.
Days of Blood and Starlight picks up after Karou has discovered who she really is. She is also dealing with the knowledge that she loved the enemy, Akiva, and he betrayed her and a world suffered for it. At the opening, Akiva just gave his seraphim brotherhood all the tools to destroy chimaera, and chimaera are almost completely eradicated as a nation. Karou is chimaera’s only real hope of survival.
The book alternates betwen Karou, Akiva and a handful of other characters. Laini Taylor is a master of world building. The second book isn’t necessarily action packed, it more just escalation and preparation for the final war that happens in Dreams of Gods & Monsters. I was never bored in Days of Blood and Starlight because the author spends time developing the ways of life for these angels and demons. Also Karou’s human friends Zuzana & Mik are there for comedic relief and perspective.
“Let’s see. You know how, at the end of Romeo and Juliet, Juliet wakes up in the crypt and Romeo’s already dead? He thought she was dead so he killed himself right next to her?”
“Yeah. That was awesome.” A pause, followed by “Ow,” suggested elbow punctuation on the part of Mik.
Karou ignored it. “Well, imagine if she woke up and he was still alive, but…” She swallowed, waiting out a tremor in her voice. “But he had killed her whole family. And burned her city. And killed and enslaved her people.”
Its hard to believe that this is categorized as young adult romance when the brutality of war drips off every page. This book unflinchingly shows how Karou and Akiva’s idealistic dreams for the future, despite being vastly better than the alternative, will still come at a heavy, bloody price.
When a brutal angel army trespasses into the human world intent on gaining weapons to give them the edge to destroy all of their enemies, Karou and Akiva must convince their separate factions to form an alliance to defeat this army.
Dreams of Gods & Monsters deals with the struggles of building this alliance between groups that have fought for centuries. The book also introduces a new character who proves central to understanding the bigger picture and Akiva’s background. While there were some battle scenes, this book dealt more with the co-existing of the different groups and what their world might look like after war has ended.
I thought the book did a good job of tying together these magic threads and wrapping up the main storylines but there were still a lot of unanswered questions. Was it the ending I expected or hoped for? Nope. Did I still love it? Yes, a thousand times yes!