Author: Laini Taylor
Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Date: November 2012
Source: Review copy from publisher
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 mothers’ 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 a 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.
One day, I descended into the tube station and heard a beautiful, clear whistling. It came from a busker—a tall blind man, who held his head high, and stood tall even with his walking stick. The sound was a sombre melancholy, but also full of hope. The emotion I felt when I heard it has stayed with me since, and describes exactly how I felt when reading this book. Through all its beautiful writing, Days of Blood and Starlight broke my heart into a million pieces, put it all together, and then broke it again. And I loved it.
Where is Karou? After learning that Akiva was responsible for the genocide of the chimaera and the deaths of her family, Karou made her way through the tear into Eretz. Her friend Zuzanna sends email after email of worry, and Akiva searches every place he knows to no avail. As the first book, it’s best to go into it without knowing too much, but you can look forward to pee balloons, giant sandcastles, museum thievery, an actual blood bath and some grotesque smiles.
The tone is very different to the first book. While Daughter of Smoke and Bone was about magic, wonder and love, this book was about duty, graft, hatred and heartache. Still, everything I loved about the first book was still there, especially the way Taylor balances the epic story with beautiful little character-driven glimpses.
Wonderfully, it features a lot of Karou’s feisty friend Zuzanna and her lovable boyfriend Mik (possibly the only functional relationship in the whole book) and Akiva’s siblings Hazael and Liraz. Taylor also conjures up a whole host of other cool new characters (as a side note to the publishers, I would love to see Karou’s notebook brought to life). A definite standout for me was the wonderful Ziri, someone I’m sure you will fall in love with, because I certainly have.
There were so many twists to this story I did not see coming, distracted as I was by the beauty of the lyrical prose. I have never read a book which constantly made my heart ache with each tough decision and impossible circumstance the characters faced. Taylor’s writing is truly evocative, and I was amazed by where she took the story in the end. It will be a tough year, waiting for Book 3.
This isn’t a book you can read as a standalone, so if you haven’t yet started Daughter of Smoke and Bone, I urge you to do so. For all those that are already fans of the first book, I can assure you this sequel won’t let you down.