Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

The second book in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy, Days of Blood and Starlight continues the story of monster’s apprentice, Karou. As usually I will try to avoid spoilers, but it might not be completely possible here, so read with caution.

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Karou and Akiva split the wishbone her adoptive father, Brimestone, left her and she now knows who, and more importantly what she is. Forced to make a decision between the human life and her old life and people in Eretz, and devastated by what Akiva has told her he did before finding her she chooses the old. Karou teams up with the surviving Chimeara and becomes their resurrectionist. But she soon realizes their leader is keeping things from her and spreading lies about her to the others. Her life may be in danger. When Zuze and Mik show up at their hideout, their lives become endangered too. Karou must find a way to win over the Chimaera and change the course of the rebellion against the Seraphim. But can she do it alone?

Meanwhile, Akiva has lost the stomach to fight Chimaera, and wishes to end the war between Seraphim and Chimaera. His half siblings, Liraz and Hazael, are also growing disillusioned with the continued war and their orders to slaughter civilians. They are sick of being used. The do what the can to secretly defy those orders, but it soon becomes clear something else must be done. The Empire is preparing for war with someone other than the Chimaera, and Akiva and his siblings are determined to end the cycle once and for all. They make a dangerous plan, one that there is no turning back from. If they succeed, they could end the war, if they fail it will mean not only their deaths, but that of every last Misbegotten soldier.

When Karou and Akiva’s plans intersect, they must decided if they can put aside their differences and work together to achieve the very thing they dreamed of all those years ago, or to continue to fight each other.

This volume expanded on the world created in the first book. We see more of Eretz and characters on both sides of the war. The ruthless White Wolf and the megalomaniacal Emperor are given life here and the war is shown in full.

Karou and Akiva’s relationship changes to reflect what happened in the first book. Karou questions her feelings, while Akiva vows to make up for his actions even if it doesn’t change Karou’s opinion of him. They are more like a real couple in my opinion and less the “instalove” or “soulmates” that seems to be abundant in YA literature. Even if in the end they are revealed to be “soulmates” I think Taylor is handling the concept much better than some of her comrades.

I give this one Four Lightsabers, just like I did the first. I just started the third book and look forward to finding out how it all ends. I know I have to get the quote posts for this series done, but it looks like the end of summer reading isn’t going to slow down my schedule as much as I was hoping since the kids start back to school earlier this year, which means outreach starts earlier, and I am so not ready for that.

I also finished the Ahsoka YA book I picked up an ARC of at ALA (I have to do a post about that too, I know), but instead of being a written review, I’ll be doing something new. So stayed tuned for that in the future.

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