Thursday, October 11, 2012

Review: Days of Blood and Starlight

Days of Blood and Starlight (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, book 2)
By Laini Taylor
Expected publication November 6, 2012 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

WARNING: There will be spoilers for book one. If you'd like to read my review of that title, click here.

Beautiful and mysterious Karou has finally unlocked the secret of who and what she is but has only made things more complicated. Akiva mourns and wonders if there will ever be a way to the world of peace he has long desired. And fiery Zuzana is determined to find her friend, no matter what unbelievable things she will be made to believe along the way.

That's not a terribly good summary there but, chances are, if you're reading this, you know what the book is about. In fact, chances are pretty good that you've been desperately awaiting the publication of this book, the follow-up to one of my favorite books of 2011, Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I had resigned myself to waiting until publication day (well, actually, the book's arrival in my library) before reading this book. But then, I attended School Library Journal's SummerTeen celebration in early August and discovered the publisher was giving away digital galleys. I'm not ashamed to admit it was one of the first things I sought out. I truly adored the first book and couldn't wait to read the second, sure that it would be just as wonderful and imaginative as the first. I wasn't wrong. Days of Blood and Starlight is just as lovely and spirited as I expected it to be. I couldn't stop reading and despaired the moments I couldn't spend reading the book (you know, when I was working and sleeping). I was absolutely thrilled to spend more time with the strange and fascinating characters Taylor has crafted and I loved the narrative structure of this book, letting readers spend time among a variety of the characters. Taylor continues to hone and flesh out the world she built in the first novel. Her beautiful prose is once again present and - this may be a weird way of saying it - convincing. I mean, she writes in such a way that I have a hard time believing that angels are not about to wage war with demons, presumably starting somewhere over Prague or Morocco. The world she has created is just so vivid and unique but mixed with enough realism that I am completely absorbed by it. I don't want to go into the plot too much because I think that would spoil the paced revelations of the novel. Suffice it to say that this book reads like a perfect middle novel in a trilogy. There are questions from the first book answered, new questions posed, and enough action and resolution to not feel like this is just filler before the conclusion. Of course, the book does end on a thrilling note that will leave readers (including me) once again desperate for the next book. This book was a fantastic read and easily one of my favorite reads so far this year.

Thanks to the publisher for a digital advance reader's copy provided via NetGalley.

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