Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Review: Days of Blood and Starlight

Title: Days of Blood and Starlight
Author: Laini Taylor
Published: November, 2012
Publisher: Little, Brown
The second book in a trilogy is an interesting thing.  It tends to be the most fluid installment in a three-part series.  In book one of a trilogy — the beginning — tone, characters, and main plot are established.  In the final book — the end — there is the final climax and the tying up of loose ends.  But, for the middle book, the only requirement is to bridge books one and three together.  There is a lot of possibility at hand.

Usually my favorite part of a trilogy is the first book.  In a few cases, however, I'm blown away by the second.  There is the opportunity in the second book for character and plot development to advance hand-in-hand, and I love, love, love books that balance great characters with great plot.  

Days of Blood and Starlight is one of those books.  I enjoyed it far, far more than I did Daughter of Smoke and Bone.  For one thing, as I mentioned in my review of Daughter, I finally knew what the hell was going on.  Laini Taylor has constructed a complicated, complex fantasy world, and only in Days of Blood and Starlight did I finally start to comprehend it.  Also, as I mentioned before, the book hugely advances character and plot development.  

I'll tackle the characters first.  In Daughter, I thought Karou was a well-constructed character, but I didn't necessarily like her.  She was spunky, but also kind of clueless and bratty.  In book two, with her memories of her past life restored, she is mature, determined, capable, and complex. I thought, especially, that the dichotomy of Madrigal and Karou was well-handled by Taylor.  It was apparent that Karou was still the same character we saw in Daughter, but the addition of Madrigal's memory and experience deepened the character into something new.

As for Akiva, he, also, made enormous strides in Days of Blood and Starlight. In book one, I thought he was a bit of a romantic hero cliche.  In Days, Akiva is still a romantic hero, but that trope is tempered by his having more to do than simply moon over Karou.  He spends a lot of time with his brother and sister, Hazael and Liraz, and his character is the better for it. Also, since Akiva believes his chance with Karou has been irreparably severed by his actions in Daughter, he is now faced with the dilemma of what he should do next with his life.  His decision is pretty epic.  

As for the plot, it's separated into two threads, following Akiva's actions and Karou's actions.  Usually I can't stand for the plot to jump around in such a manner.  What is more frustrating than reaching a total cliffhanger moment, only to be jerked away to a less interesting plot?  However, until the very end of the book, when both plot-lines were reaching their climax at the same time, I didn't mind the leaps so much.

One last point before I close up this review.  I thought Taylor handled war really well in this book.  War is a difficult thing to insert into a plot, I think, but Taylor made it seem effortless.  It was interesting how our principal characters, Akiva and Karou, are on opposite sides of the war.  By switching between their perspectives, the elements of the chimaera/angel conflict were laid out very effectively.

While reading Days of Blood and Starlight, I was experienced a spread of emotions.  I was delighted by the gorgeous prose, interested in the well-handed plot mechanics, shaken by suspense, humored at lighthearted moments, and satisfied by an overall quality piece of fiction.  I give the book five stars and look forward to reading the final installment, Dreams of Gods and Monsters.


  1. I absolutely love this series. Taylor is such a great world-builder, but the other aspects (characters, plot, etc.) shine also. Just a really great writer. Can't wait to see what she comes up with next. Great review.

    1. Thanks for commenting! As a new blogger, its so rewarding to get feedback. I agree, Taylor has an incredible imagination and came up with a really unique fantasy world. Whatever she writes next has an automatic place on my to-read shelf.