Title – Days of Blood & Starlight (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #2)
Author: Laini Taylor
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2012
Genre: YA Celestial, YA Fantasy, YA Paranormal
Once upon a time, an angel and a devil held a wishbone between them.
And its snap split the world in two.
Isn’t that cover stunning? Just so you get an idea, here’s the prequel, Daughter of Smoke & Bone, next to it:
Ok, enough cover love. Onto the story, right?
Ok, for those of you who haven’t read the first book, I don’t want to ruin anything for you. But I’m going to have to…so read on at your own peril, unfortunately. It’s too hard to do sequels like this one and not give something away.
So here we go.
Akiva looks for Karou, and cannot find her since she disappeared into the sky. He knows now that because of what he has done to Loramendi, and to Brimstone, that she will probably never forgive him. He searched for her and only finds a thurible with her name on it…leading him to believe she is dead. Without Brimstone to resurrect her, she is lost to him forever. Or so he thinks. He comes to the realization that he doesn’t have to be a weapon, or simply the bastard angel child of the Emperor. He can bring peace, or at least kill as few chimaera as possible.
In the meantime, angels are found dead, hanging with grotesque smiles carved into their faces. It is horrifying. But who could be doing this? The chimaera left are in bondage, and there are no footprints to leave clues. Are there angel rebels? Who would do such a sadistic thing? There is only one clue: a message sprawled across the stone…”From the ashes, we are arisen.” Another message later: “We are arisen. It is your turn to die.”
Meanwhile, Zuzana is desperately searching for her friend, sending emails and calling areas phone. She starts to believe Karou is dead as well. That is until museums across the globe start reporting a strange rash of burglaries…teeth from all the animal exhibits are missing. Not fangs, but molars. And Zuzana knows instantly it must be Karou, though she doesn’t know what she needs teeth for, only that her sketchbooks show pages of chimaera and teeth. All different kind of teeth.
Karou isn’t dead, though she feels like she is. Rather, she is doing penance to bring the chimaera back. Now equipped with Madrigal’s memories, she begins to resurrect with the help of the White Wolf, Thiago, the very man that had her killed all those years ago. He needs her to use Brimstone’s skills, and she needs him to keep the chimaera from continuing to think she is a traitor. Sure, she fell in love with an angel, and she still hears taunts of “angel-lover” from the resurrected chimaera. But she knows they’re right: if she hadn’t fallen in love with Akiva…if she hadn’t been executed…he never would’ve went out for vengeance and destroyed Loramendi. Many chimaera deaths lie at her feet; at least, that’s how she sees it. So she is building an army, and remaking the deceased, but with bigger bodies and wings. Now the fight between angels and chimaera will not be so one-sided.
Once Akiva realizes Karou is alive, he longs to be with her. But when he finds her, she is cold. Distant. And he knows now that she will never forgive him for the pain he has caused her, and the destruction he has wrought. Karou is bruised and weak, but angry, and she wants nothing to do with him. But if that’s the case, why does she feel so empty when he flies away?
Once upon a time, the sky knew the weight of angel armies on the move, and the wind blew infernal with the fire of their wings.
Is It Classroom-Appropriate?
Yes, but as a sequel it is hard for it to be used. The first book, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, is too crass in certain areas to be classroom material, and this one lacks meaning without the first book. However, I do deem this book to be appropriate for outside class reading. It could be suggested as a book series to read at home. It’s definitely a display of powerful world-building. The writing would be great to showcase in a Creative Writing class; Taylor definitely has the skills. But for lesson plans and such, I would say leave this series as a recreational read.
Once again, Lexile.com goes with the generic 14-17 age range. I feel like that’s their “go-to” range for anything YA. However, it has a score of HL800L (the “HL” designation suggesting that though younger readers could follow it, it should be strictly read by more mature readers), and 800 is pretty high for a Lexile score. So I would say Lexile has it right on this one. If, however, the 14 year old is not a strong reader, I would push higher in the age range: it’s really more about being able to follow and understand subtleties in Taylor’s writing, as she alludes to a lot of what’s happening, then goes back and describes it. It’s also 518 pages, so there’s that, too. This series is not for an impatient reader. Daughter of Smoke & Bone also has a high page count, and the final book looks like a brick (trust me, I have it to read next to get it back to the library). You should use discretion when recommending books anyway, so if the reader is already handling Pearson or Maas, then I would give them Taylor’s wonderful trilogy.
So you’ve read rhe description and the age range…what about the end result? Hoe did I personally feel about it?
★★★★★!! Taylor is my auto buy now. I love the creativity with which she weaves the world of monsters and angels. I have fallen in love with sweet Karou, broken Akiva, and the whimsical Zuzana. Her characters leap off the page and smack you off the page. Thiago leaves a bitter taste in your mouth; Mik makes me wish for a boyfriend willing to complete tasks to earn my love! I love this series. And I am eager to finish it (not just because I’m accruing $.15/day in debt to the library for the books each). I was able to get right back into this book after weeks between this one and the first one. It was such a seamless transition…I was afraid I would be so confused. So, if you haven’t jumped on the pink-haired Laini Taylor train (she’s coming out with a book called Strange The Dreamer in the spring and I hope I can get my hands on an ARC!), it’s time to jump on and enjoy the ride! Come with me and Karou to a world where monsters and angels don’t just exist, they fight, and love, and hate, and have passion! And who wouldn’t find a half-wolf boy sexy, right? (Even if he’s evil in every way…)