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.
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?
Fully living up to book the first in heart racing drama and beautiful language, Taylor has broken the mold and stayed away from the middle book doldrums. No quiet in-between book that only works when the trilogy is complete here, Days of Blood and Starlight is every bit as gripping as The Daughter of Smoke and Bone was.
Days of Blood and Starlight dove further into Karou and Akiva's past, ferreting out relationships and moments that defined them long before they met. It broadened what the reader knew about them as characters and gave them more depth so you fully understands their motivations and entanglements as either one tries to correct their mistakes. That Taylor can so boldly ensnare your sympathy for both Karou and Akiva, simultaneously, while they're at such terrible odds, is one of her many, many impressive writing skills.
But Hazael only said, "I brought you a present."
Liraz took the flower, looked at it, and then at Hazael, expressionless. And then she ate it. She chewed the flower and swallowed it.
"Hmm," said Hazael. "Not the usual response."
"Oh, do you give flowers often?"
"Yes," he said. He probably did. Hazael had a way of enjoying life in spite of the many restrictions they lived under, being soldiers, and worse, being Misbegotten. "I hope it wasn't poisonous," he said lightly.
Liraz just shrugged. "There are worse ways to die."
I've said many times, that Taylor is a masterful world builder, and she continues to use the skill to great affect as she spends increasing amounts of time in Eretz. But how she melds our world with Eretz, is once again where she excels. The moments of interaction between Zuzana and the Chimaera are chilling, funny, and sad all at the same time. It is just another one of many layers Taylor so stunningly weaves together to make a nuanced story you couldn't possibly keep yourself from being engrossed in.
Which, speaking of, the language she uses is to die for. I remember, long ago now, reading The English Patient for a university lit class. I vividly remember how Ondaatje's language swept me away, how a scene where all that happens is the movement of a ladybug felt like poetry. Taylor writes with that level of finesse, impeccable description and wording. This series so far, is one of the great examples of the impressive level of writing available in YA, the down side being she'll ruin lesser writers for you, you'll be too spoiled to go back to mediocre fantasy writing.
If you, or the reading lovers in your gift giving circle, have not started this series yet, then make sure to get the books for your times of quiet reading over the holidays. Trust me, no other book will sweep you away as effectively.
Days of Blood and Starlight, by Laini Taylor
Published by Little Brown, Books for Young Readers, November 6th, 2012
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