CATCHALL I absolutely loved loved loved this book. It was gorgeous and enticing, and everything I could have asked*****FINAL RATING: 4.75 STARS*****
CATCHALL I absolutely loved loved loved this book. It was gorgeous and enticing, and everything I could have asked for after being blown away by Illuminate. It kept me up reading late into the night, and it was even more haunting and creepy than the last book. It turns out demons can get still more evil, and that there's even more intrigue in this book than in the last. I adored it entirely.
THE HEROINE HAVEN Haven grows so much stronger in this book. Before the shy introvert, Haven has really begun to take a stand. She's still who she was before but she has even more courage now and she isn't afraid to make her own decisions. She does I think depend in other people a bit too much but I can understand that. I love how caring she is of everyone around her, and she's definitely a very relatable character to me. She's every teen girl in some ways, and that's the best thing about her.
THE LOVE INTERESTS LUCIAN I am very vocal about my deep love for Lucian. I absolutely adored him more than anything. For one thing, his passion is sexy. He's sexy. He also made some bad choices before but seeing how deeply he cares for Haven is heartrending. I love how much he's changed in some ways but in others not at all. Lucian is also so good to Haven, no matter what she does, and he's protective of her too. But above all, he wants her to be happy, even if it's not with him, though of course he'd prefer that. How can you not love that? LANCE Okay, though I have been Team Lucian from the beginning, I did love Lance in book one. Unfortunately, I stopped liking him in this book. Not only does he turn into a tool, but he starts getting involved in really dangerous things and making stupid choices. He acts completely out of line and becomes a total jerk to Haven. I lost all respect for him in this book, which makes me sad.
THE BEST FRIEND DANTE I didn't think too much of him before but I've always like him. Dante is a lot of fun as a character, and he's one of the best friends Haven could ask for. He's sweet and loyal, and always supports Haven no matter what. He also struck me as a lot less stereotypical in this book and really became a character I could root for.
THE PLOT In Infatuate, the plot thickens. I am aware if how cliché that sounds but it is absolutely true. What happened before was just the beginning. Now, everything is about to get more serious. This time Haven and her friends will have help, but it's much-needed. Even with the help they're still going to struggle.
I loved the plot of this book infinitely more than the last. It's far more interesting, and there are more nuances to deal with. We also get a much deeper insight into this particular world of angels, and we learn a lot more about what it means to be an angel for Haven. It's complicated stuff, and the best part is that they don't have ridiculous powers or anything. They do avoid some things, but I think that's only fair.
I was also kept guessing throughout the book. It's really, really difficult to figure out who is on what side up until the end. Just when you think you've figured it out, a character will do something totally unexpected. Nothing seemed overly coincidental to me.
It's just as original as the last book! I loved that as Haven gets stronger in some ways she loses power in others. I love, love, love that she doesn't just become this ridiculously amazing and empowered person who can do anything. She has to make sacrifices and give things up to get better, just like anyone else.
The pacing was also perfect. I wouldn't call it fast-paced, but it's definitely not slow. It moves along faster as time progresses, and though it starts off a little unremarkable it quickly grows into something alluring.
Overall, this book is an absolute masterpiece. I was thoroughly impressed by the complexity and originality of the plot and I loved all the new developments. There are no mentionable plot holes and everything that happens connects to something else. It flows gorgeously, and there's really nothing bad to say.
THE ROMANCE Ah, romance. My main struggle with this book. I love how much Lucian loves Haven, and how he'd do anything for her, including watching her be happy with someone else. They still have chemistry, and the scenes with the two of them were all my favorites. However, I don't like Lance anymore, so watching him and Haven be together was not a fun experience for me. He acts like a total jerk to her and she just kind of accepts it. Not. Okay.
THE WRITING Aimee is an extremely talented writer, and she's only improved. Haven's voice had become surer and more distinct, and the word choice is better as well. It's more descriptive than before, and the new setting is so lushly described. I also really love the way the characters interact, and how fun their banter is and how every relationship is different.
THE ENDING The ending shocked me. Where Illuminate ended on a fairly closed note, this book ended with a major cliffhanger that I didn't expect. While I didn't find what happened devastating, it still left me on the edge of my seat and willing to beg for more. I still am, because I absolutely have to know what happens next. It really left me with a feeling of surprise, and I also liked that a certain someone got out of something. Can't say more than that without spoiling.
WRAPUP I loved this book so much, and it's easily going to be one of my favorites of the year. It's an awesome series. You can bet I'm dying for the third and final book! I even hope that maybe just maybe she'll write more than that. I really, really love these books. I highly recommend Infatuate if you loved Illuminate, or even just liked it, since it's so much better! And if you haven't given this series a try I highly recommend it. Highly.
CATCHALL Dark Kiss was an intriguing and fun read, so I knew I had to get my hands on Wicked Kiss as soon as I could.****FINAL RATING: 4.40 STARS****
CATCHALL Dark Kiss was an intriguing and fun read, so I knew I had to get my hands on Wicked Kiss as soon as I could. I was not disappointed at all! It was a lovely and dark read that kept me turning pages all through the night. It was about as good as the first book, maybe a little better, but overall a satisfying sequel that lived up to my expectations.
THE HEROINE SAMANTHA Sam is such a kickass heroine that it's impossible not to love her even if she occasionally veers towards the annoying side. She isn't perfect, and she has her flaws, but hello, that is what makes her more relatable. I like that she's really determined, and she'll do anything to protect her friends. She's also prideful, but she doesn't let it get in the way of what she needs to do. Plus, Sam is compassionate. He major downside is that she can be way too stubborn.
THE LOVE INTEREST BISHOP Bishop is steady and sweet, but he's also very internally strong. He tends to make his decisions and stick by them without compromising his principles, and he believes in doing the right thing at nearly any cost. Bishop has a hard time saying how he really feels, though. He's loyal almost in spite of himself, and he's not as mysterious as I think he likes to believe. He's definitely bold, definitely hot, but I think his eloquence could use some work.
THE DEMON KRAVEN You know you're in love with a character when they're horrible and dark and cruel and you completely and totally love them anyway. It's not fair, but that's how it is. I adore Kraven. I love Kraven. I shouldn't, I totally shouldn't, but I do. I mean, for starters, he really is damn sexy. And it doesn't hurt that he's teasing and mischievous. Plus, he's just so darn lovable despite his darkness. Or maybe because of it. Either way, we see more of him in this book, and it actually makes him hotter. It shouldn't. But it does.
Plus, I kind of want to do him in the backseat of an expensive car. Don't ask me why that's so specific. I don't know.
THE PLOT I thought that the plot of Wicked Kiss was just as well done as that of the first book. It's through, and has enough smaller details to be really realistic. There are twists that deepen everything, and I like that it's not the same storyline as the first one. It's a continuation of the story in its own right, but it was something different.
The plot moved pretty quickly, too, although overall the pacing was erratic. Sometimes minutes would drag on for pages and days went by in a paragraph. That's probably exaggerating a little, but you get what I'm saying. It was weird, and just generally off.
Angels and demons are a tricky subject to handle, particularly without getting preachy, but Michelle really handles it in a wonderful way so I have no complaints. She takes into account historical angel lore while also adding in her own twists and idiosyncrasies. It's classic balanced with the right amount of hot and modern. It doesn't focus on one aspect, it encompasses all of them.
I appreciated the novelty of this plot after being stuck in a reading rut, too. It kept me entertained and wasn't overly dramatic, although it had its moments, certainly. It has its own unique sort of feel and although it could have been just another paranormal romance it somehow rises about that for me.
My main problem is that some information seems thrown randomly in to either confuse us or annoy us, I'm not sure which, but either way it is awfully frustrating. I couldn't quite wrap my head around some of the things that were made to look like random reveals and not everything fit together for me and often felt too convenient.
However, though this book certainly has its faults, it also has its strengths. It was easily a worthwhile read, and one of the better sequels I've had the pleasure of reading recently.
THE ROMANCE Sam and Kraven sort of have a fling in this book, but it's clear from the beginning that it's not really that serious as is more about controlling Sam's cravings than any sort of romance. Still it's actually pretty thrilling to read about, because the chemistry between the, is so hot and unique. The real romance, though, comes in between Sam and Bishop. They care so deeply for each other, but they cannot kiss. It puts both of them in so much pain, but each of them tries their best to resist. Yet they can't quite seem to manage it.
THE WRITING Michelle is an enormously talented writer, so much so that anything she writes is automatically better simply because of the quality of her writing. It's luscious, gorgeous, and unique. Sam has a distinct and almost innocent voice that is reliable and tells things as they are, yet allows the reader to occasionally see things that she cannot. The banter between the characters is also awesome and provides some fun and humor to the story.
THE ENDING Actually, the way Wicked Kiss ended was really unexpected. I don't know why, exactly, but it was. There was a twist I did not expect but that really worked. I loved the gutsiness of the ending and the fact that everything wasn't completely perfect. There was definitely a happy ending in some ways for some characters, but for others less so. There was also the sense that although part of this story has ended it is far from over.
WRAPUP I will definitely be looking forward to more from this series, because there's definitely room for more! I have yet to read any other Michelle Rowen books (well, Falling Kingdoms, but besides that) but after reading this I'm sold and definitely will. I would recommend this series to paranormal romance fans mostly, although I think other people would enjoy it too. If you loved the first book, I don't think you'll be let down by the sequel.
CATCHALL Every once in a while I take a chance in bookstores, grab a random book with a gorgeous cover, and read th*****FINAL RATING: 4.70 STARS*****
CATCHALL Every once in a while I take a chance in bookstores, grab a random book with a gorgeous cover, and read the blurb. If it sounds good, I'll buy it. That's exactly what I did with Illuminate, and I could not have been happier with the results! It far surpassed even my expectations and left me wanting more. It kept me out of the dark but still managed to surprise. Both heartbreaking and terrifying, it irrevocably drew me in and still hasn't let me go. It was absolutely incredible, and it made me ridiculously happy, the in best way possible! This book left me with a giddy, high feeling that still hasn't entirely gone away.
THE HEROINE HAVEN Haven was a fantastic and completely relatable heroine who I was instantly drawn to. Intelligent, but not over-geniusy, she was shy and sweet but had a good head on her shoulders and a good heart. I fell in love with her instantly. Sometimes, I was irritated by her constant self-depreciating remarks, but these came less frequently as the book continued on and were generally understandable, not pointless whining. Haven was admirable and strong but she had weaknesses that made her real. She was the ideal heroine.
THE LOVE INTERESTS LUCIAN Damn, authors are really learning to capitalize on my gray eyes fetish. I cannot freaking resist gray eyes, so of course I loved Lucian. He was unbelievable hot and absolutely charming. I love how haunted and determined he was, but also his defiance and his valor. He was an incredibly complex character, leaving me completely reeling most of the time, but in a good way! I loved trying to figure him out, see what it was that he was really up to. His final act in Illuminate is remarkably touching and left me crying my freaking eyes out. I really hope to see more of him, because I feel that Lucian and I have not gotten to know each other too well yet. But I really, really, really, want to know him better, because Agresti has already managed to make my completely in love with him. LANCE Lance was so sweet, and really adorable. Such a nerd, too, but in such a cute way! His character, too, developed slowly, but steadily. I felt a bit frustrated at this slow character development, especially because sometimes I could figure things out long before they were explicitly told to us. I loved how he could sometimes be bold, but at other times lacked that confidence, yet he was still essentially the same person inside. Lance was also extremely intelligent and considered to be the "architect" of their little project. Naturally, as an aspiring architect, I was absolutely drawn to this in him and am eager to hear more about him soon.
THE BEST FRIEND DANTE Poor Dante. We don't get too much of his full story, but we get enough. He really gets in over his head, but is smart enough to get himself out with a little bit of help from his friends. He's fiercely loyal and most times he will do anything to protect Haven. We don't know much about his past, but I suspect that much of it will be revealed later on. I founded Dante to be an inspiring and lovely character, who was achingly real and so relatable it almost hurt.
THE MENTOR AURELIA She fascinated me. I'm sure she wasn't always the way she is in this book, but I really was interesting in learning how she ended up the way she did. I was eager to learn more about her and her ways, and how she was drawn into the world of demons and monsters and hatred and souls that she's entangled herself in hopelessly.
THE DEVIL THE PRINCE He was portrayed so artfully that I could hardly find any fault with the way Agresti used him at all. Cold, cruel, and calculating, he ruthlessly goes after what he wants without any regard for the consequences. He was true to his character, never showing any vulnerability and remaining intact and a being to be feared.
THE PLOT Agresti has created a beautiful world with a fantastic plot to go with it. I fell instantly in love with both. The world is gorgeous, terrifying, haunting, remarkably real, beautiful, horrid, lovely…I could go on and on and on.
Sometimes, I felt it moved to slowly, but this was only once or twice. For the most part, it moved along steadily, palpably dripping with anticipation. I could not wait for what would happen next. I eagerly sat at the edge of my seat, wondering what twist would be thrown in next.
I also thought that some things were glaringly obvious but weren't treated as such. However, I understand that as a reader it's easy to excuse this kind of thing because in general readers know more than the characters. Still, at times, I did feel myself getting frustrated.
However, Agresti threw in enough twists and extremely unexpected events and confessions that made up for everything. Even when I thought I finally knew everything, she proved me wrong. The most gorgeous and intricate plot twists changed everything, in an amazing way!
I especially loved Haven's advice-giving book, which almost seemed as if it had a life and personality all its own. I'm sure we'll be seeing more of it, and I'm looking forward to learning more about it.
It was completely original, and an angel story told right. I completely adored it, everything about it. There was really nothing not to love.
THE ROMANCE LUCIAN AND HAVEN This romance, despite all odds, struck me as something undeniably real. Instead of being surface-level and shallow, which it easily could've been, it really felt like they honestly connected on a deeper level. The way Lucian treated her didn't hurt, either. He was always sweet. At first I actually wasn't so sure as to how it was going to work out, but I was pleasantly and pleasingly surprised. Even though it developed relatively quickly, it somehow reached touched me, and there was real and definite chemistry between the characters, which always helps. LANCE AND HAVEN This romance develops a lot more slowly, but is so very sweet. Haven and Lance really do somehow work together. They're good together, in the way that some people just are, people who were meant to be together. Lance and Haven never suffer awkward silences; they don't need to be talking to be comfortable, but fall quickly into a steady rhythm. The romance is definitely one to keep an eye on, and I really loved them together.
THE WRITING First, a note on typography: I absolutely am in love with the font that writes in Haven's book. It is scripty, beautiful cursive, which I am conceited enough to pretend is my own writing (my writing is slightly messier). But it's gorgeous, and I really honestly think it adds to the effect the book has. And even the few notes Aurelia writes to Haven are in a third scripty font, further embracing this typographical difference in a good way, setting it apart and making it more important.
As for the writing itself? Beautiful! The description is lush and gorgeous, and Haven's voice is mature, intelligent, and real. She sounds like a normal girl for her age, yet manages to get enough information across. The style is truly admirable, and made my experience with Illuminate that much more enjoyable. I was very happy with the writing, which was additionally of an extremely good caliber. Clearly, this is a real author.
However, I did notice several typos in the book. I realize this is probably not the author's fault. But still. Not even one or two, but four or six.
THE ENDING Oh my goodness. I literally had no words when I finished this book. It was absolutely incredible all the way through and the ending was no different. There were some not altogether unprecedented surprises that took place and both thrilled and haunted me. It could not have been better. It's sweet and yet there's an underlying tension to it all, not all the work done. One small conflict down, a million more huge ones to go. It excited me greatly. The ending was obviously well-thought-out and probably agonized over until it was perfect. That was labor well done. There is a huge cliffhanger that left me hungry, absolutely aching, for more.
WRAPUP Before you even ask, of course I am reading Untitled, the next Gilded Wings novel. As a matter of fact, I will probably read every single future novel Agresti publishes. It was that good. I may never get over this book (in a good way!) and I am absolutely looking forward not only to future installments from this series, but future releases from Agresti.
CATCHALL Sweet Evil was cute, sexy and a whole lot of fun. I went into it not really sure what to expect, and I am happ***FINAL RATING: 2.95 STARS***
CATCHALL Sweet Evil was cute, sexy and a whole lot of fun. I went into it not really sure what to expect, and I am happy to say that I ended up really liking it. It's certainly not my favorite book, but it's definitely up there, and I really, really enjoyed it. The concept was unique and sweet without veering into the territory of ridiculousness, and stayed fun while also being serious when it needed to be. I actually didn't know this was the first book of a trilogy when I first read it, either—I actually though it was a standalone. Not that that's relevant in any way, but whatever.
THE HEROINE ANNA At the beginning of the book, I did not like Anna at all. She was way too innocent. I don't give a damn how "sheltered" she supposedly was by her oppressive and overprotective mother; no one with eyes and ears and/or a brain is that innocent. It really made her unrealistic and unlikable for a while. I struggled for a long time trying to identify with her, but it was impossible while she was such an unrealistic character. However, once she got over her over-naïveté she ended up being sweet enough and much more relatable. By the end of the book, I liked her well enough.
THE LOVE INTEREST KAIDAN Why bother lying, ladies? Kaidan is sexy. Obviously, he has some issues, but that aside, he is sexy. I like how he seems to struggle sometimes with what he has to do—he doesn't entirely accept it blindly. He knows what's expected of him, and that's what he does. But sometimes he still questions it, even if he later shoves those questions aside. However, it was kind of difficult to get a grip on his personality because a few times I think he acted in a way that really didn't go with his character. That's just my interpretation, but there you have it.
THE PLOT Sweet Evil actually had an impressive plot. It was an original interpretation of Nephilim, and it wasn't done sloppily. There was obviously research put into it, and though perhaps there could have been a bit more, overall it was impressive and throughly enjoyable.
I did not like the aspect of Anna's home life—it seemed a bit stereotypical and somewhat unrealistic. I think the rest of Anna's life in her town was portrayed pretty well, if also a bit too stereotypical for my taste. It was done nicely, without too much detail.
I also think that the parts containing the Nephilim and their fathers were done well too. I was confused at some parts, but for the most part my confusion was cleared easily by the end of the book. I am still unclear on some things, which I don't like, but it's possible that I'm supposed to be unclear until the next book.
I also think that overall, this book was a bit too pretty. Things usually ended up working out way too nicely, pretty much always for the better. Even when events went into a total tangle, they seemed to be smoothed out far too easily.
However, this is not to say that I thought the plot was bad—quite the opposite, in fact. I liked it, I enjoyed it, and I definitely think that while it had its issues, it was overall lovely.
THE ROMANCE I think the romance in this book moved a bit too quickly. It seems like Anna's feelings about Kaidan grow too quickly. However, at the same time, I can't fault them too much because they do feel genuine. The romantic development felt a bit unrealistic at points but at the same time, it's an unusual situation. I also have a feeling we're going to see a love triangle in the later books. I won't tell you with who—although believe me when I say it's obvious—but I'm not sure I like the idea of that.
THE WRITING I like Wendy's writing, although I'm not sure I like Anna's voice so much. At times she sounds whiny and self-centered, and sometimes totally not likable at all. I makes her sounds somewhat discompassionate (which apparently isn't a word, but whatever) and annoying while also somehow managing to be irritatingly dense. However, that aside, I do like Wendy's writing. It's not my favorite, but I've read much worse. I do wish it was more descriptive.
THE ENDING The ending was a bit simplistic for my taste. I like that it ended without a cliffhanger, but I don't like how it wrapped up so prettily and perfectly—that bothers me. Still, the ending could have been worse, and it does tie the novel together nicely. It doesn't throw in random new information or random new characters or random new anything, so I count that as a win.
WRAPUP I enjoyed Sweet Evil very much, but I'm going to need more from Sweet Hope. Overall, this book was fun and a great read, but it did have myriad things I didn't like and I am going to need the next book to be different in order for me to be impressed. Still, I'm definitely a fan, and I can recommend this one with confidence!
CATCHALL I actually got an ARC of this one a long time ago, but my ereader is stupid and broken and would not let me****FINAL RATING: 4.35 STARS****
CATCHALL I actually got an ARC of this one a long time ago, but my ereader is stupid and broken and would not let me upload it, sadly. Jerk ereader. But anyway, I finally got around to buying myself a pretty little physical copy and absolutely beyond adored it. In fact, I couldn't stop reading it, it was so good. It wasn't perfect, but I still really loved it very much. I thought it was a fantastic story.
THE HEROINE SAMANTHA DAY Samantha Day is your typical girl-next-door. She's so relatable and I loved her completely. I found myself drawn into her story and who she was. I immediately found myself wanting to learn more about her from the very beginning. She was awesome and mysterious and develops beautifully. It was really interesting to watch her transformation from the beginning of the novel to the end.
THE LOVE INTEREST BISHOP Oh goodness, it would have been impossible for me to not fall deeply in love with him. I admit that his name isn't originally a turn-on, but I have this D&D game that I play sometimes with a character named Bishop who is possibly the hottest thing since fire, so I was biased when I began. But he quickly moved into my heart of his own volition. He is really sweet and protective, and tries so hard to be good. I admired him greatly for that. Also, he's just so awesome. Protective. Sweet. Strong. Powerful. Troubled. Really, really hot. I was deeply in love with him, even though he isn't as sexy as Kraven.
THE REALLY SEXY DEMON KRAVEN As much as I am in love with Bishop, Kraven is just so sexy. I love bad boys. I just love, love, love bad boys. And Kraven has got to be one of the sexiest bad boys I've come across in quite some time. Seriously, I want him. I do not even know how to explain how much I love Kraven. Like, so much. SOSOSO freaking much. I love Kraven ridiculously much. He's naughty and somewhat insane. Dark and maybe a little cruel. Sexy. Damn sexy. It's incredible. Like, how does someone even get that how? Well now, this is turning into a hopeless ramble so I'm gonna shut up, since by now I'm sure you know how desperately much I love Kraven anyway.
THE VILLAIN NATALIE Natalie intrigued me at first, but unfortunately I quickly became bored by her. She doesn't have a whole lot of substance and while she does start off different then she ends visibly, there's no real arc and she isn't really that interesting. I would have liked to be incised her head, though.
THE PLOT Dark Kiss started off a little bit slowly. It took a while for any real action to happen. First, it sets everything up prettily and waits as you try to figure it out. Unfortunately, yes, it does take a while to get into anything interesting.
Still, once it gets started, it really gets started. The action is still a little on the slow side. It's not really action-packed, although there is definitely a lot of action. It was definitely a hard book to put down. I really didn't want to stop reading it, although much of it was because I wanted to get to the end. Not because it was bad, but because there wasn't exactly a ton of action, as I've said.
It was really interesting, though. Angels and demons forced to work together because of a great evil. Some got along alright, some really hated each other. The dynamic was great.
Even though the plot was a bit too slow-moving for my taste, the awesomeness of it all really made up for the lack of speed. Overall, it was awesome and I loved it! And Kraven.
THE ROMANCE I loved the way this romance was, even if it definitely veered into the instalove zone, which was unfortunate. Still, while it is underdeveloped it is believable in a strange way. I could feel the sparks between Sam and Bishop. While I felt some chemistry between Sam and Kraven too, I'm glad she doesn't want him because I'll take him any day. But moving on! Sam and Bishop have a really good romance getting started and with further development it could really flourish.
THE WRITING Michelle's writing is nice, if a bit too juvenile. It's told in first person POV by Sam, and sometimes she sounds a bit too young. However, the prologue from Bishop's POV in third person is completely beautiful. I really loved that part, and the rest of the book might have been better if told in third person, but oh well. Sam does have a really relatable voice, which helps make her so real.
THE ENDING The ending was awesome! It left me satisfied. I felt that just enough was wrapped up, the main plot of this book all resolved but enough left open for problems in future books. It doesn't close off avenues, and leaves a lot. It wasn't a huge and cruel cliffhanger, but it most definitely left me wanting a lot more!
WRAPUP I absolutely loved Dark Kiss! I really cannot wait for the next book, and will be reading it as soon as is humanly possible. I already have a feeling that I'll never be able to get enough of this series. And why would I? It has its faults, but it's also incredibly awesome and a ton of fun! I am a Michelle Rowen fan for life!
While I did love this, I can't bring myself to give it more than three stars. I did love it, but I was also a bit disappointed as compared to HallowedWhile I did love this, I can't bring myself to give it more than three stars. I did love it, but I was also a bit disappointed as compared to Hallowed. Review to come once I've had time to sort out my thoughts. ...more
CATCHALL I launched into Days of Blood and Starlight right after I finished Daughter of Smoke and Bone, eager to lose ****FINAL RATING: 4.00 STARS****
CATCHALL I launched into Days of Blood and Starlight right after I finished Daughter of Smoke and Bone, eager to lose myself to Karou's world again. While I didn't love it quite as much as I did it's predecessor, I can still honestly say that it was amazing. With all the drama and betrayal that tool place within book one, you'd think there wouldn't be room for more. But as it turns out, there's always going to be a struggle. This book was gorgeous, and a true marvel to read.
THE HEROINE KAROU Karou is a lot stronger in this book than in the last. She's struggling to connect to her past self and her memories there. She'll also do anything to protect what's left of her people, no matter what she must do. Karou doesn't know necessarily what the right thing is for her to do, either, but she's trying. She makes mistakes but it's clear that she has a good heart and she makes a point not to put herself first. She's compassionate and caring, though she doesn't always come off that way.
THE HERO AKIVA I do love Akiva, even if he does have slightly creepy tendencies. He wants to fix the wrongs he created, and he knows he can't do it alone but he isn't sure at first if there's anyone he can trust. Even among angels Akiva is something special as well. I love his courage, and his inner battles with himself. He knows what he has to do, although sometimes it's a struggle for h to do it. He can't escape the choices he made in the past, but he can make new ones.
THE PLOT So many new characters were introduced in this book, one of whom I adored. And of course, many of the old and lovable characters were back as well, to cause pain and yet also happiness. There's a wide range of everyone, from allies to villains, and not everyone is always who they appear to be.
I actually had a really difficult time getting into this one. The first hundred pages if not more I found incredibly, painfully boring, and they dragged on until I thought it would never end. Once I got past that and everything picked up, I was fully immersed again. But the first part of the book was not easy for me at all.
There were also some scenes which I found totally pointless but figured later in would have some importance. As far as I'm concerned, though, they really just ended up being pointless scenes an I'm still confused as I why the hell they were included at all.
Now that I am done complaining, I'll tell you how much I loved this. There's action. Karou is preparing for a war with the seraphim, who are also preparing. Joram, the emperor, is drunk on his own victories and determined to conquer all. But Karou won't be so easily defeated, no matter how many setbacks she comes across.
There's more action in this book than the last one, which I really appreciated. I also loved getting to see more of the culture of the different paranormals, something we didn't get to see so much in the first book. It made them much more reachable.
So, though this didn't quite meet my expectations, it was still a wonderful second book and something that I thoroughly enjoyed.
THE ROMANCE There isn't a whole lot of romance in this book, although we can see Karou struggling with her feelings for Akiva. She wants to hate him, but she can't force herself to. And everything that Akiva does, he is doing it now for Karou. The chemistry that connects them is still there, and they both care for each other. Though they're at odds right now, I think there can be a redemption.
THE WRITING Laini really is a talented writer. Her prose is poetic. Gorgeous. The voices of her characters are unique even in third person, and her descriptions are peerless. I love the way the interactions between the characters are portrayed, too. She always chooses fantastic words as well, and her writing just makes otherwise boring passages into something spectacular.
THE ENDING The ending was just as you'd expect it to be. A murderous, murderous cliffhanger that left me dying. You can't just end a book like that! Except it was ended like that. There was a twist at the end that I didn't see coming, and it started to go in a direction I didn't expect. However, there was one death that left me bawling my eyes out. And then there was hope. And then it was crushed, and I was left dying on the floor.
WRAPUP Days of Blood and Starlight was definitely a second book, but it was incredible nonetheless. The story truly moves forward and Karou and Akiva really develop. I adored this, and will certainly be picking up the last installment eagerly. Now that I've read this series I can honestly say that I highly recommend it. It's something special, and should certainly be read.
CATCHALL This book received so much hype and praise that I was nervous to read it, afraid it wouldn't meet my expecta****FINAL RATING: 4.35 STARS****
CATCHALL This book received so much hype and praise that I was nervous to read it, afraid it wouldn't meet my expectations. Really, though, I needn't have worried. Daughter of Smoke and Bone was just as gorgeous and haunting as everyone promised me it was. It didn't take me long to fall head over heels for the characters and immerse myself in this new world of angels and demons.
THE HEROINE KAROU Karou has always known that she is different. But she's never just how different. She can travel freely through the otherworld, though she doesn't know at first what it is. Raised by demons, running errands for them, she tries to live a relatively normal life. She's a strong yet vulnerable heroine, and though I had a hard time relating to her I definitely admire her strength in the face of difficulty. She can be stubborn, however.
THE HERO AKIVA Akiva is an angel who is haunted by his past and the decisions he made then. He's also hell-bent on revenge. However, he can't seem to keep himself from making mistakes. In finding his revenge, he loses his shot at redemption, at least for a time. He has a good but troubled heart, and he wants to do the right thing but he doesn't know what that is anymore.
THE PLOT Daughter of Smoke and Bone actually doesn't start off on that much of an exciting note. We get the impression that Karou leads an unspectacular life, going to art classes, just broke up with her boyfriend. But we soon realize that this isn't the case at all.
Karou has a family of devils she'll do anything to protect, and she'll do anything for them as well, no matter how strange. If they need her help, she is there for them. There's a fierce loyalty between them that is lovely to see, and was clear to me from the beginning that this was going to cause problems.
One thing that confused me were Karou's memories. I accept that they're real and everything, but for whatever reason I couldn't buy the way they were stored away. It just didn't feel right to me for some reason. I did appreciate the lack of connection she feels when she finally remembers them, but still.
This was one heck of an intense story. It's difficult to know what's going to happen next, although as far as actual action goes I didn't feel there was much. This felt a lot like a precursor to an actual story to me, especially with the large amount of infodumps it contained.
I did love this, though. I'm not sure I totally agree with all the hype, but it is definitely a book that should be read. It's original, it's stunning, it's a masterpiece.
THE ROMANCE I liked the flashbacks of the past romance a lot. Akiva and Madrigal were an spectacular couple, and they really were great together. However, Akiva gets kind of weird and creepy when he meets Karou, becoming a tad obsessive. I think they definitely had chemistry, but that their past lay in between them was clear from the beginning. I think they still might have a chance, but it's a long shot.
THE WRITING Laini has unique but spectacular writing. It actually reminds me of Erin Morgenstern's writing in some ways. It's very detail-heavy, and there's a lot, a lot, a lot of description as a result. Still, though this occasionally got tiring this did make the imagery very vivid. I loved the individual voices of the characters even though they were difficult to grasp at times, and there's a certain type of escapism with this writing as well.
THE ENDING Well, I can honestly say I never saw it coming. It couldn't have shocked me more. I knew parts of what was going to happen since I made the mistake of reading the synopsis for the second book, but even so. I definitely didn't expect some of what happened to happen. The ending was also a major infodump, which was kind of annoying, but I did still love it.
WRAPUP I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved this book. It was utterly unputdownable, and it absolutely shattered my heart. It was a lovely, aching take of love, but it was also much more than that. This story is so much deeper than it first appears, and a much more intense story than I expected. I recommend it highly and will definitely finish this series.