Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor
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?
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
I was wishing I’d put the time in to re-read the first one because beautifully written as it was a struggle for me place who and what where and when at first… till’ it wasn’t anymore. Once things came together for me, the first impression I come away with was the grief that’s so clearly laid out, and then later the conflict of the both of them wanting one thing and knowing it’s likely not possible. With the leads separated as they were, them situated that way made for an epic story, especially with both facing unforgivable truths.
With talk of hope and what not, as well as of forgiving and wanting to but being unable to do so? Heavy stuff, but not all the time…as there surprise moments of levity others in the story brought with them, though you’d be surprised at how frustrating that same thing was (Zuzana… you’re peculiar creature, you. I was torn between cheering her on and wanting to shove her to side for her own good!)
Obviously that levity’s never due to Karou and Akiva, for how could that be at all possible? And again, with those unforgivable truths! It’s in fact the very same thing that leads them to choose certain paths, and said paths? Edge.of.my.seat. Now, those light moments aside, we’re never really distracted from the bigger things taking place: him making his choices then dragging others in as well and her going on as she was then seeing things for what they truly were, (though her revelations came to her came too slowly to suit me at times!)
The writing is once again something that’s impressed me, as not a word, not a passage is wasted… and it’s only made better when it’s about a complicated set of characters each with something to settle. Then see how the rest of them see this Romeo and Juliet… and it’s not once easy, rather things get conflicted, brutal… forcing them to face up to what’s at hand. Is this just a love story? Not just that, not even close:
“Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a new way of living – one without massacres and torn throats and bonfires of the fallen, without revenants or bastard armies or children ripped from their mother’s arms to take their turn in the killing and dying.
Once, the lovers lay entwined in the moon’s secret temple and dreamed of a world that was like a jewel box without a jewel- a paradise waiting for them to find it and fill it with their happiness.
This was not that world.”
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