Nafiza's Reviews > Days of Blood & Starlight

Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor
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Dec 10, 12

bookshelves: books-for-review, 2012, favourites, top-100, books-i-own
Read from November 30 to December 03, 2012

I wasn’t as enamored with Daughter of Smoke and Bone as some of my friends were and, in fact, I am still conflicted over the first novel. Usually, when I don’t enjoy the first novel a lot, I don’t read the sequel because I don’t feel the urge to do so. However, the title of the sequel captured my interest. It is so evocative – the title alone built splendid worlds in my mind. Some people are attracted by covers, I go for titles. It’s normal!

So with that entirely useless introduction, let me begin my length deconstruction of the sequel to Daughter of Smoke and Bone. There are many things I want to talk about but let’s ground my review (if you want to call it that) in this statement: I liked Days of Blood and Starlight a lot. I didn’t expect to do so but I did.

Whereas the first novel had a narrow perspective through which the world was viewed (the story is mainly narrated from Karou and Akiva’s perspectives), DoBaS utilizes many different perspectives to relate the story. This has a universalizing effect – the world of Eretz seems so much more vibrant than it would have been had we not seen it through the eyes of the deerlike Chimaera, the Silversword who dies for no reason, heck, even Jael. It’s like you are standing in the center of a ballroom and listening to the whispers cascading through the crowds reiterating their presence in the room. Without these whispers, you would still be in the room and people would still be present around you but they could be a figment of your imagination. So, that was well done.

The world building is exquisite here. I recently tried to read a so-called YA high fantasy novel and the biggest thing lacking in it was the world building. Even in fantastic settings, there needs to be a logic to the world. Even to its ecology. Eretz comes alive to the reader in colours, in the terror of the fleeing Chimaera and in the violence of the angels. The imperfectly reconstructed city is just as intriguing as the Stelians about whom no one knows a thing.

One of the troubles I had with DoSaB (the first) was that Madrigal seemed less developed than Karou. I know that they are the same person, at least on paper, but honestly? They are not. A person or a sentient living being is shaped by the experiences that she has, the relationships she has and if you think about it carefully, Karou has not had the same kind of relationships and experiences as Madrigal even though she has the memory of them. So while I was invested in Karou, I felt I didn’t have a chance to get to know Madrigal when she is herself and not half of a pair of a doomed couple. This disparity is addressed somewhat in DoBaS but I think that there still remains room for more development – I would like to read about Karou being faced with Madrigal – it would be so awesome to see her haunted by a ghost of herself. Moving right along to some spoilery bits, avert your eyes! (view spoiler)

Zuzana and Mik were awesome. Perhaps my favourite parts in the novel. They brought a necessary lightness to the otherwise tension filled narrative. Karou was annoyingly submissive for the first half of the book but her actions were understandable and therefore did not fill me with rage and frustration as passive heroines are wont to do. On the other hand, I was disappointed by how…anticlimactic the meeting with Joram turned out to be. I expected Joram to be much more monstrous than he was…his hubris finally got him however, and yay for that.

The romance is, thankfully, toned down. I, who am allergic to mush, had a hard time with DoSaB precisely because it was chockfull of sweet moments that made me want to gag. It’s just a thing, okay? Days of Blood and Starlight had a lot of romantic angst, a lot of tortured longing but it was modulated and not melodramatic. I thought that Taylor managed to convey Karou and Akiva’s pain without dipping into pathos. The White Wolf was never a contender for Karou’s feelings, thank goodness but I think this new character, Ziri, may be a serious rival for her affections.

The plot twisted in ways that I didn’t expect it to and that is always fun. I like not being able to predict the author’s mind. The end is particularly brilliant as it forces two enemies to unite over a common enemy. I really liked this novel, it dealt with themes of betrayal, strength, death and humanity. It creates tense moments where the well being of one has to be sacrificed for the good of hundreds. It shows that love is so much more than just different sides in a war. Being a woman transcends species and strength is more than just the muscles in your arm. Days of Blood and Starlight was a splendid follow up to Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I recommend it.
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Reading Progress

11/30/2012 page 27
5.0% "Kaoru is...dead? Eh? Zuze is an awesome best friend. The perfume paste was sheer genius!"
11/30/2012 page 124
23.0% "I really do not like this Wolf fellow."
12/02/2012 page 206
39.0% "I dislike how timid Kaoru has become but at least she's aware of it."
12/03/2012 page 348
65.0% "I like this one so much better than the first one." 3 comments

Comments (showing 1-19 of 19) (19 new)

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Glaiza I might give the sequel a chance soon


Nafiza It's solid writing! I recommend it.


Glaiza I bought it today! =) along with 3 Haruki Murakami books because they were having a rare $10 each deal for his books :D


Nafiza Oh that's awesome! I'm currently reading The Wind Up Bird Chronicle. His writing makes me think so much!


Glaiza I love the way his characters observe the world - can't wait to dig into them =)


Nafiza Have fun!


message 7: by Brandi (new) - added it

Brandi This is so funny, because I was just trying to decide whether or not to buy this, or wait for it to come to the library, but I had to remind myself exactly what I thought of the first one. Great review, I think I'll go ahead and buy instead of waiting.


Nafiza Yay! I'm glad I helped to make up your mind!


message 9: by Brandi (new) - added it

Brandi I got distracted while I was writing that because I was supposed to say it was funny because as I logged into GR your review was the first in my feed, lol.


Nafiza I am clearly a mind reader. ;)


message 11: by Linda (new)

Linda Glad to hear you like this one more than the first! :) I don't think it'll be for me, though. I dislike the characters too much haha.


message 12: by Ali (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ali Glad to hear you liked this. I loved Smoke and Bone until the romance became way too much for my tastes. I think I'll give this a try.


message 13: by Nafiza (last edited Dec 10, 2012 06:46PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nafiza Linda: Our reading tastes are very different. Some of the books you've given five stars, I dislike and you dislike most the books I like so you not liking this book is kind of expected.

Ali: I think you'll find that romance is refreshingly curbed. The feelings are there but no mush and gush, thankfully.


message 14: by Ali (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ali That's good! I don't mind some romance but when it unexpectedly takes over I get annoyed.


Nafiza Yeah Smoke and Bone was incredibly mushy. I didn't like that at all.


message 16: by Linda (new)

Linda Heheh I know. It's always a shock when we feel similarly about a book. ;)


Nafiza Hmm... we both like Howl's Moving Castle so that's something.


message 18: by Linda (new)

Linda I just checked compare books and there are 6 books to which we gave the same rating and 10 books for which our ratings are just 1 star off from each other's! So... maybe not that bad? :P


Nafiza Lol. Considering the number of books I have...that is bad! :P


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