Sadie Hawkins Sunday Review #67: Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor

Sadie Hawkins Sunday Review #67: Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini TaylorDays of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor
Series: Daughter of Smoke & Bone #2
on November 6, 2012
Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 517
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible
Goodreads
five-stars

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a world free of bloodshed and war.

This is not that world.

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.

In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, 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?

Recommended by: the Waffle aka Ellis (Finding Bliss in Books/The Random Transliterator)

Let’s start with three facts, my friends.

  1. When I listened to the audiobook of Days of Blood & Starlight, I gave it a 3, because the narrator does not work for me at all.
  2. At several intervals, I paused while reading to put the book down and yell, “THE WRITING IS SO PRETTY.”
  3. Upon finishing, I basically just said “Holy fucking shit” over and over.

I’d considered a couple different ways to frame this review, one of them being my reread review format, where I would first discuss the audiobook and then talk about why the print blew it away. I’m not going to do that, though, because while, yes, the audiobook was terrible for me, audiobooks are VERY hit or miss, and I don’t feel the need to belabor the point that way. The audiobook basically hid Laini’s light under a barrel for me, but now I’ve removed the barrel and the light is everywhere.

Wow, that was a little oddly poetic for me, for which I will blame a combination of vodka and Laini Taylor prose. That second bullet point? That is in no way an exaggeration. I really did that. Honestly, I’m halfway convinced that Laini either a) sold her soul to the devil for the ability to write magic b) is literally writing her soul into the novels or c) is a goddess. I mean, yeah, she’s probably just an absurdly, unbelievably talented human being, but the beauty of her prose is astounding. Don’t take my word for it, as one of my favorite children’s shows would say:

One world on its own is a strange enough seethe of coiling unknowable veins of intention and chance, but two? Where two worlds mingle breath through rips in the sky, the strange becomes stranger, and many things may come to pass that few imaginations could compass.

I MEAN. Seriously. Her writing is perfection. It’s got a sort of poetic flair, a classic bent, endless wit, diction like whoa, and somehow manages to come across as not entirely pretentious. Taken out of context, certain lines sound like purple prose, but take the novel as a whole and they’re a perfect, balanced whole.

Anyone who would wear all white like that clearly had issues. Just looking at him made her wish she had a paintball gun, but hell, you couldn’t pack for every eventuality.

That quote is Zuzana, Karou’s sassy best friend and one of my favorite characters. Note how it fits with the other quote, but the tone is entirely different. She can write beautiful, metaphor-laden things and also snarky banter. Basically, Laini’s writing is, for me, the Plato’s form of writing. I will endeavor to stop flailing about this now, but it’s immensely difficult to do, because THAT WRITING.

Daughter of Smoke & Bone was amazing and I was just as over the moon about the writing, but the pacing was an issue for me, due to the incredibly long flashback. Days of Blood & Starlight has no pacing issues whatsoever. I loved it from beginning to end. Reading it took some time, partly due to other commitments and partly because this is the kind of book you can savor slowly without diminishing its beauty. Okay, I need to slow down, because I almost started crying from sheer happiness this book exists. This is too much emotion for me to handle.

Right. The plot. Ignoring the fact that I read this already and vaguely remembered a couple of plot points, the twists in this are brilliant. It’s one of those books where you totally think you have everything all figured out and then, no, no, you super do not. Taylor’s novels are a combination of beauty and pain. Nothing comes easily. The good guys aren’t that good. No one is safe. I realize that’s all very vague, but what it boils down to is that I was consistently in awe and that the ending was epic and wonderful and hurts and I am so glad I waited until I have Dreams of Gods & Monsters queued up to read.

These characters, guys. Now, I’ll be honest and say that Karou and Akiva, while I do like them both, are not my favorites. The secondary characters have stolen my whole heart and I don’t have enough room left to flail over Karou and Akiva. Mik and Zuzana continue to be one of the best and truest things in this world (okay, in a novel, but whatever leave me in my delusions). They are also the lighthearted hopeful element in an otherwise hugely grim novel. Their fairy tale romance (literally) is the stuff dreams are made of and oh it gives me more feels than I know what to do with.

Then there’s Ziri, who once had a mad crush on Madrigal. He’s all grown up now, but still a sweetheart inside, despite the harsh life the chimaera soldiers lead. Ziri is such a great guy, and I really hope he gets some love coming his way. *coughs* View Spoiler » *coughs*

Speaking of romance, I love the way that Karou isn’t choosing romance over everything else, which happens in so much of YA. It’s nice to see a heroine make another choice. Similarly, I like that both she and Liraz, another strong lady, are changing not because of romance but because of family. They’re changing for love but not the romantic sort. It’s so healthy in this completely messed up, unhealthy, trying-to-kill-everyone world.

Finally, I want to give props to Laini for some a-freaking-mazing villains. I don’t like them exactly, because they’re awful, but they’re so well-drawn and terrifying and might actually win this thing possibly. Thiago is alluring and tempting, all while being a trap. Or is he? I love the way Laini makes me kind of want to like him. (I hope that’s not just me.) Then there are the terrifying angel brothers, Joram and Jael, who are just…*shudders*. They’re not accidentally funny and they’re not easily dismissed; they are villains of the highest order.

For those who tl;dr this business: READ THIS SERIES. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys complex plots, intricate writing, and a story with a wide scope. This should encompass pretty much everyone I know, so stop reading my blog right now and read Laini Taylor, dammit.

Favorite Quote: This is a long one, but I love everything about it, so.

From: Zuzana <rabidfairy@shakestinyfist.net>
Subject: Hellooooo
To: Karou <bluekarou@hitherandthithergirl.com>

HELLO. Hello hello hello hello hello hello.

Hello?

Damn, now I’ve gone and done it. I’ve made hello go all abstract and weird. It looks like an alien rune now, something an astronaut would find engraved on a moon rock and go, A strange moon word! I must bring this back to Earth as a gift for my deaf son! And which would then—of course—hatch flying space piranhas and wipe out humanity in less than three days, SOMEHOW sparing the astronaut just so he could be in the final shot, weeping on his knees in the ruins of civilization and crying out to the heaves, It was just helloooooooo!

Oh. Huh. It’s totally back to normal now. No more alien doom. Astronaut, I just kept you from destroying Earth.

YOU’RE WELCOME.

Lesson: Do not bring presents back from strange places. (Forget that. Do.)

Also: Write back to signify your continuing aliveness or I will give you the hurts.

Zuze

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

blazing saddles you use your tongue

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17 responses to “Sadie Hawkins Sunday Review #67: Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor”

  1. Katie says:

    This is actually probably my favorite (recent) YA book ever, I don’t know. It’s up there definitely. I’m so in love with her prose and the characters and just EVERYTHING about this book. It’s brutal but gorgeous, and I totally got emotional, even though I’m like the least emotional reader on the planet.

    Also, Ziri. <3333 He ended up being my favorite character in the series, along with Zuzana. I swear, I would kill for a spinoff about her and Mik, though I think the end of DREAMS OF GODS & MONSTERS leaves them in a more concluded state.

    I'm so glad you liked this! WE AGREE ON A BOOK YES!
    Katie recently posted…My Most Anticipated 2014 DebutsMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      This one is my faaaaavorite. It’s wonderful. Oooh, I didn’t know you weren’t an emotional reader. That is fascinating! I am not a hugely emotional reader. Basically the only thing that regularly makes me a big ol’ mess of feelings is kdrama, thus the obsession.

      I didn’t think Ziri had passed Zuzana until he spoilered for a while and I was SO worried for him. I want spinoffs about all the good couples. I mean, Akira/Karou are fine, but I need the others to be together and bang in the healing waters of the Kirin caves. Is this too much to ask?

  2. Ellis says:

    I hope you’re ready for this because I am going to TEAR this comment section UP.

    (I know, business as usual, it probably shouldn’t be announced but you officially belong to the whateva whateva I do what I want club now, so I’m sure you’ll understand.)

    “2. At several intervals, I paused while reading to put the book down and yell, “THE WRITING IS SO PRETTY.””

    If anyone wants to see it, I HAVE PROOF.

    (Lololol, going to assume that people actually read what other commenters write, which is what I’ve gleaned so far from the comment wars Meg and I sometimes get into. They don’t do it. That’s what I gleamed. Yes.)

    BAHAHAHA THE LIGHT IS EVERYWHERE. I am now picturing you standing in the middle of the road, arms outspread like a modern-day baby Jesus and some serious sun flare illuminating you from behind. This is extra funny because I watched the first OTH coma episode last night, when Dan carries Lucas to the car and Lucas looks like a bust-up Jesus Christ.

    So far, I’ve only said super relevant things.

    HOW ABOUT A COMBINATION OF THE THREE, HUH? She made a deal that she’d sell her soul eventually, but she’s doing so gradually and kind of locking up her soul in her books like pretty prose horcruxes. This is very tragic for souls, because they’re supposed to travel to a higher realm once they’ve left the body, but hers will now forever wander the earthly realms, divided in a million trillion billion pieces of absolutely gorgeous writing.

    As for the Laini being a goddess comment, I mean, OBVIOUSLY. This isn’t even a question.

    Bahahaha, I knew that quote was Zuzana before you even said it. Only one character has that much sass and spunk and it’s a gift from the gods(tars).

    “Days of Blood & Starlight has no pacing issues whatsoever.”

    I agree that the series is flawless, yes.

    “Okay, I need to slow down, because I almost started crying from sheer happiness this book exists.”

    First of all, HOLY WAFFLE VICTORY I INDIRECTLY BROUGHT OUT THE FEELS IN YOU. Secondly, there have been times when I teared up by just looking at these covers. Reading the DoGaM chapters titles was a very emotional time for me. And that’s not even mentioning the twists and endings that made me bawl. Let’s start a “sobbing bc Laini” club. LET’S DO IT.

    (Yes, Meg, you can join, because I know you’re going to read this.)

    “Taylor’s novels are a combination of beauty and pain.”

    Here’s my theory. You know how you need to tithe when creating magic? The readers are the tithers. The books the magic. RIGHT RIGHT RIGHT?

    ZIRI
    ZIRI
    ZIRI

    Who is also VERY right. Fine as hell, that Kirin.

    Hmmmmmmmm your spoiler hhmmmmmmmmmmm. Guess you’ll just have to start DoGaM immediately to find out if they’re the ship I’ve been flailing about for weeks. Hmmmmmmmmmm.

    “Speaking of romance, I love the way that Karou isn’t choosing romance over everything else, which happens in so much of YA. It’s nice to see a heroine make another choice. Similarly, I like that both she and Liraz, another strong lady, are changing not because of romance but because of family. They’re changing for love but not the romantic sort. It’s so healthy in this completely messed up, unhealthy, trying-to-kill-everyone world.”

    I’m going to have to take up cross-stitching so I can put this on a pillow because WHAT KIND OF TRUTH.

    LIRAZ
    LIRAZ
    LIRAZ

    You know she’s the queer angel warrior queen of my dreams and also my fave.

    Omg, it was not just you with Thiago. When I was still young and ignorant (November. I’m talking about November. Maybe October. See, still young and good-decision-making-free.) there was this dark and bleak moment in my life where I even tentatively shipped him with Karou when reading the opening chapters because Karou was so alooooone and I don’t want her to be aloooooone but I looooove Karou.

    “For those who tl;dr this business:” You will get murdered. By me. Rather soon. Go away. You don’t deserve this.

    /ridiculous threat

    Soooo, this comment was kinda maybe sorta on drugs, but I think you expected me to do that, so you’re very welcome. Clearly I have not sold my soul, which you could have guessed by just looking at tis jumbled-up writing (probably not even a correct collocation) but what are you doing still reading this? You should be reading The Book that Gave Ellis Life.
    Ellis recently posted…Review – Pivot PointMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      (My guess is people scroll in fear past the conversations you and Meg have…that or they see there are fifty comments and are like noooope and leave – which is not to dissuade you, because you guys give me the habana)

      I like how you have tied my light metaphor to OTH. This is SUPER SERIOUS BUSINESS. Dear Laini, this series is pretty great, but it needs more comas.

      Maybe you do need all three to write this well. I would believe that. Normal soul-ridden humans cannot do this.

      Zuzana is my spirit animal and Ziri is my love.

      WE ARE TITHING. THAT IS BRILLIANT. HEADCANON ACTIVATED.

      You need a big-ass pillow.

      So glad I am not alone in kinda sorta shipping Thiago even though I knew it was a bad plan. This is one of those times where the hate to love impulse gets me into trouble. BAD CHRISTINA.

      LOLS at your threat.

      This comment was pure Ellis.

  3. Sarah J. says:

    I think Ms. Taylor may be a goddess. I mean how else could she have made something like kasbah sound like the best place for monsters to hide on Earth. I hope you read the third book soon. I’m reading it now and the twists in this one are so much more shocking! Great review.:D
    Sarah J. recently posted…Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCourMy Profile

  4. Laini Taylor is a prose wizard. You know that montage in Mean Girls where there’s a bunch of girls talking about how flawless Regina George is? That is how I feel about Laini Taylor. She can do no wrong in my eyes (also, she’s a BAMF with VIBRANT HOT PINK HAIR).

    I really need to get my hands on Lips Touch Three Times, because considering how much I loved her trilogy, I need to devour everything Laini Taylor has ever written.
    Rose @ The Bedtime Bookworm recently posted…Bout of Books (10) GoalsMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      She is always ready for Wednesday. It makes perfect sense.

      I got some Amazon giftcards, and I think the first things I’m buying are the two Laini books I don’t have yet.

  5. Word, don’t put that light under a bushel. Just word.

    Zuszana is the literal best. I love her. AND THAT QUOTE EMAIL I love her exuberance and how she’s such an awesome friend.

    Oh, this book.
    April Books & Wine recently posted…The Pigman by Paul Zindel | Book ReviewMy Profile

  6. Lyn Kaye says:

    This one is still my favorite out of the trilogy.

    “Now, I’ll be honest and say that Karou and Akiva, while I do like them both, are not my favorites. The secondary characters have stolen my whole heart and I don’t have enough room left to flail over Karou and Akiva. ”

    YES It wasn’t that they were bad, but that they just paled in comparison to some of the other characters.

    After viewing your spoiler, I have to say: YES!
    Lyn Kaye recently posted…Book Review: The One by Kiera CassMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      SAAAAME. I do like Karou and Akiva. I really do. But I don’t feel fervent passionate love for them, like I do for some of the others.

  7. Heather says:

    First of all, I’d like to state that it’s completely weird and awesome that we were reading the same book at the same time. I don’t think this has happened since grad school! I put the next book on hold at the library immediately after finishing this one, but I know it’s sitting on a cart waiting to be processed, so I may have to use my librarian magic and move it up in the queue a little 🙂

    Laini Taylor really does write beautifully. She has an amazing way of letting the reader completely lose themselves in the world she created. I read the majority of this book at work on my lunch breaks, which is why it took me two weeks to finish, and my friends said they didn’t even want to approach me in the break room because I was so wrapped up in my book. That’s saying something!

    I love Zuzana and Mik, too! Karou and Akiva are also great, as is everyone else, but Zuzana and Mik steal the show for me.

    I wish I would’ve re-read Daughter of Smoke and Bone before this one, just so I could refresh myself on elements of the story I have forgotten. After I read the next book, I might wait a few months and then re-read the whole series. This might be one of my new go-tos for when I’m having a rough time and want to lose myself completely in a book, with the others being Harry Potter, Jane Eyre, and the Portable Dorothy Parker (really, you need to read all of the Dorothy Parker. Imma go put that in your Sadie Hawkins! haha)

    • Christina Franke says:

      Oh cool! What a coincidence. The third one was a wee bit disappointing to me, but it might partly be that I tried to binge it where I was able to stroll through this one.

      I’m always really impressed when I can read a book slowly over weeks and still be completely sucked in each time. That is not a normal thing, and WOW when it does happen.

      Zuzana and Mik are adorable little show stealers.

      I hope I love Dororthy Parker or you will judge me. *hides*

      • Heather says:

        I will cry tears of PAIN if you don’t like her, but I have a feeling you will because she’s hilarious and insightful. When you’re able to read this, I suggest reading a little bit at a time since she writes short stories and poems. It’s easier to digest, at least for me, as I often struggle with reading a whole book of poetry at once 🙂

  8. Welp,I’m very late here and I’m sorry. I had this bookmarked weeks ago but I was reading DoG&M and I was avoiding ALL the Laini Taylor reviews so I could go in as fresh as possible and then be able to be coherent again once I was done. Anyways, your reactions to this one brought me back to ALL THE FEELS I had when I read this one -and you made me crave a re-read to boot! I also distinctly remember having to put the book down to swoon over the pretty words. AND once I was done I was basically incoherent as well. Laini’s writing is literally magic. There’s no other way around it. Your mad love for Ziri and (Liraz) makes me SUPER curious to read your thoughts on book 3. Awesome review ^^ Swooning about Miss Laini is one of my favorite things to do 😀
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Review: Dreams of Gods & MonstersMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      Ellis came up with a great theory above about Laini’s writing being magic. The readers are tithing their pain to create the magic of the story. Is that not the best?

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