Title: Days of Blood and Starlight
Author: Laini Taylor
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2
Source: Personal purchase
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.
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?
I'd read the first book, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, in 2012 upon a friend's recommendation, and I was blown away by it. I was mesmerized by Laini Taylor's imagination, and her poetic writing made the book very hard to put down. Normally in trilogies second books are a bit "mehhhh" for me, mostly because they're building up to the third book. But Days of Blood and Starlight managed to stand on its own, and I can even say that I liked it even more than the first one.
Days of Blood and Starlight picks up right where Daughter of Smoke and Bone leaves off. Since Brimstone is gone, Karou can't stop at collecting teeth, she also takes on the hard task of resurrecting new bodies. Going back and forth between her current life and her life as Madrigal, she sets out to protect those she loves, including Akiva.
This second book was quite darker than the first one. While we saw the signs of war in the first book, we find ourselves right inside it in Days of Blood and Starlight. I never liked books that solely focus on a love story; I don't like it when secondary characters are there just to be there. This is one of the many reasons why I like Taylor so much I believe-- yes, Akiva and Madrigal (aka Karou) have a love story that goes way back. There are various obstacles ahead of them because they're from two different worlds. Taylor uses the feelings between them to show power, hatred, love and several others. Akiva and Karou don't have the luxuty of rebelling and saying "we're in love, and whomever doesn't like it can just look away." They have to think about more than themselves and see the big picture.
I quite liked the fact that Taylor explored heavier subjects like genocide and gave strong messages. I feel she was successful in exploring how people separate from one another due to their differences, those who don't get excluded, how strong and powerful hate is, and how was affects everyone very deeply.