Well folks, I’ve done the unthinkable. I’ve actually caught up to my reviews. In August I was scrabbling to put together reviews from two months previous, but I’ve made a concerted effort throughout Autumn (helped in part by the lack of reading brought on by The Pickwick Papers) and now I have the luxury of writing about books that I can actually remember. Perish the thought. However, as it’s December, you’re likely to be subjected to the millions of second/third books of series I want to finish before New Year, but you can’t have everything.
Plot summary: Art 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.
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?
Those of you who stalk me and my blog (and please stop sending photos of me sleeping) will remember the super-shock announcement that I loved the first book in this series, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, which I read on a whim despite not really being that interested. It was amazing – the world-building was great, the characters were likeable and the concept was completely unique. I was pretty much blown away.
Days of Blood and Starlight is more of the same. It absolutely does not suffer from Second Book Syndrome. You know the type… nothing really happens, there’s a lot of walking about and usually a huge cliff-hanger at the end. I suppose it helps that this series shouldn’t be marked down as YA at all and I have no idea why it is. There’s rape, torture and violence in quite graphic detail – to the extent that I wouldn’t want my young teenager reading it. Don’t get me wrong; it’s necessary to the plot but it’s not exactly pleasant.
My point was that this book is completely necessary to the series, not a filler book shoved in to make money. You’re thrown straight into the action and it just doesn’t stop. No walking, no planning, no rambling. Just pure and wonderful story. I loved learning more about the revenant-creating process – how Karou uses the teeth and where they come from. It’s something I’ve never seen done before in fiction and I could happily have sat there all day and learned more about it.
It’s clever enough to retain what was great about the first book – the tone, the world, the mythology and the same characters, yet still advancing the plot in new and creative ways. Sequels so often alter what worked previously by introducing new people or a new plot point, but this feels more of an excellent advancement of Daughter of Smoke and Bone.
The world is so immersive. I know I keep saying this but I’ve never seen anything like it. That story is real, damn it. You never struggle to remember who’s who, or which race is fighting that other race. It just makes sense. Such a simple plot but so masterfully done.
I also really liked how there’s almost no romance in this book. I don’t object to a love story but I do prefer it to not take over the entire story, which does happen occasionally. In this book, it wasn’t necessary or relevant… so it wasn’t shoved in. ARGH I LOVE THIS BOOK.
I think you get the idea. Daughter of Smoke and Bone didn’t fall into the usual traps of a fantasy series and Days of Blood and Starlight doesn’t have the stereotypical faults of a middle book. It’s written well, the plot is unique and I don’t want to stab the female main character. Seriously, why haven’t you read this already?