Days of Blood & Starlight – Laini Taylor (Review)

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

This review can be found on my BlogTeacherofYA’s Tumblr, or my Goodreads page

My Review:

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:

I know they released new covers for this series, or if you’re in rhe UK the book will look different, but I’m glad my library has this set.

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.

Age Range:

Once again, 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.

End Result:

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…)

37 thoughts on “Days of Blood & Starlight – Laini Taylor (Review)

    1. Yeah, it is a good one. It sounds weird when you read the description, especially if you haven’t read the first book, but it’s really creative and different. It’s not formulaic, which I love. I have no idea what’s going to happen, so it’s hard to tear my eyes away from the page!
      I had to stop because I work in the morning. (And I have a paper to write tomorrow, so I won’t get to read much 😩)

      Liked by 1 person

    2. It WAS. I’ve never read anything like it before. I can’t even compare it to anything!
      It’s truly an awesome series, and I have book three I am starting already! I’m already 100 or so pages in. And it’s so hard to put down!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. The dead angels don’t sound pretty in this book. How do they travel to the sky? 518 pages, I don’t think I am eager to read it soon, but I guess it has to be long since it deals with a lot of characters and resurrections. The names are hard to pronounce.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes the names are crazy in this book. She lives in Prague so that’s part of it. The Angels aren’t dead, but they are scary: they have wings of fire. The monsters are creatures that are half one animal and part another, like a tiger head on a dragon body (that kind of stuff).
      The 518 pages fly by; it is mainly caused by so much happening that it’s hard to turn away. Excellent writing and story world.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. One of my all time favorite YA trilogies & also a auto-buy author! Laini Taylor’s writing stirs up my imagination & her world building is magical/whimsical with a touch of darkness. It definitely won’t be for everyone & does require a bit of patience. So Glad you loved it! Zuzana holds a special place in my heart & if you love her as much as I do then please read Night of Cake & Puppets (novella), you won’t regret it. Laini’s new book, Strange the Dreamer is at the very top of my list for anticipated new releases 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great review, and I am so so glad you enjoyed this book as well because, and I think I must have mentioned this before, but this is one of my all-time favourite series and I love seeing other people have enjoyed it as well.
    Laini Taylor is definitely my auto buy author now as well. I am so so excited for Strange the Dreamer as well (and ARC would be beyond amazing!). Also the covers for all her books are beyond gorgeous, I have the UK editions because obviously I’m from the UK but I still think they’re gorgeous as well! 😀
    When do you plan to start the third book?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s good so far!
      It’s hard with both right now…I feel like I spend hours just checking mail, then I can’t read so much because I have reading for class…and I’m working more hours because other ppl have quit. So it’s a real busy time. But I try to make this a priority because I love you guys and would be miserable without you! Lol!
      (Oh, and on top of everything…I met a boy…so there’s that…lol)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think after a while you should be able to get into a pattern of managing blogging with everything else you’ve got going on. I’ve been working the whole time I’ve been blogging so it’s been a little easier for me to come up with a schedule I can keep!
        I’d definitely miss you if you didn’t carry on blogging, and I’m sure loads of others would agree with me on that count! ❤️
        (Ohh a boy, exciting!)

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Oh, I couldn’t ever stop! I love it too much! My replies might take longer…but I could NEVER give up this wonderful network of friends that I’ve made here. I a, so happy I found you guys and your blogs, or that you found me.
      And yes…a boy…but he comes second! Lol!! Third if you count reading! 😂😂😂

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Nah, I would know if you were my neighbor…I have drunks and a cross dresser living next door, and I don’t think you are either one…besides, you across the pond. But it would be nice to live close, get coffee, and talk books!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed this book! I read the first book a couple of weeks back (after having it on my TBR for five years) and unfortunately wasn’t blown away – I just wasn’t convinced by the insta-love, and even given their whole history the relationship still felt insta-lovey to me. :/

    BUT! This book sounds brutal, and brutal is usually up my alley. I hadn’t been planning to continue on with this series, but I think I’ll check it out again. 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I get what you mean about the insta-love, but it was another life, and she fights it after what happens in the first book. She does not give an inch.
      No love triangle either, since Thiago is repulsive to her. I like that.
      Honestly, what really sells me is the world-building. It’s freakin amazing. Incredible.
      I hope you do return to it. I’ll let you know what I think of the final book!


      1. Ohh, how does she fight it in the second book? The first seems to be more giving in for me, though at the end after Akiva told her her family is dead she did distance herself from him…

        But yeah. The world-building is pretty solid, but I wonder if I might just be over angels, or something. 😂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh, she is PISSED at Akiva. He essentially genocided (I know it’s not a word) all her people. She’s not happy. She never wants to see him again and is cold to him. I don’t know if they will last this…

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Okay, I didn’t read the meat of this one, because I don’t want spoilers! I haven’t read the first one yet, but it’s on my “eventually I want to read this” list. But I looked at your rating at the end (and the covers, because they’re so pretty!) and it makes me want to read it lol. 518 pages, yeesh, but I’m all about the longer books anyway lol. I definitely want to take a look at this series now. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t blame you: this is kind of riddled with possible spoilers. It’s hard to review a book like this that is dependent on so much that happened in book one. There was no way I could even summarize without giving the ending away to the first book. I skip sometimes, too, when it’s a book I haven’t read but want to. I completely understand.
      The images are amazing…it’s what really drew me to the series. I can’t wait to read her upcoming book, Strange The Dreamer.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Totally understand that. I try to keep my reviews spoiler free, but sometimes you just can’t avoid it, you know? Which is why I definitely appreciate a heads up! (I was looking through reviews of The Boy with Words to see how it had fared and there was a HUGE spoiler just dropped in a review – and no warning to speak of! It really upset me lol. I guess it happened fairly early on, but still. It lost all the potential for emotion and I was just like “whatever, I don’t care now”. It was terrible.)
        Is Strange the Dreamer a different series by her? Or part of the same one?

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Word. Completely agree.
      That’s why I’m careful: I tend to skim reviews of books I plan to read, and read reviews of books I’ve already read or plan not to read (like a contemporary book). The only way to be sure not to hit spoilers!!

      Liked by 1 person

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