Sunday, July 14, 2013

Days of Blood and Starlight (review)

4/5 stars

Days of Blood and Starlight (Goodreads | Amazon) was a better book than I expected.  By the end I liked it a whole lot more than I expected to at the beginning.

For most of the book Karou frustrated me.  She seemed to be wallowing, blaming herself (for something that wasn't really her fault) and atoning for those sins.  What bothered me most is that she spent the vast majority of the book seeking revenge at any cost yet hating Akiva because he attempted to avenge her "death." Karou is weak throughout most of this book, not physically but mentally and emotionally.  At first I didn't think the book would address this, but by the end I felt like Laini Taylor was aware and knew what she writing.
“Dead souls dream only of death. Small dreams for small men. It is life that expands to fill worlds. Life is your master, or death is”
What made this book successful was not Karou, but the other characters.  Zuzana is excellent, still the zany little spitfire.  Not only is she hilarious, but she proves herself as a force to be reckoned with, not only to humans but to chimaera.

The relationship between Akiva, Liraz and Hazael is really developed.  We begin to understand the Misbegotten and finally see the surprisingly strong sibling bond among the three.  When Karou is trying to prove that she's with the chimaera, the three warrior angels begin to show that they aren't just robotic warriors, but people with hopes, dreams and most of all the potential to change.
“As long as you're alive, there's always a chance things will get better."
"Or worse," said Liraz. "Yes," he conceded. "Usually worse."
Hazael cut in. "My sister, Sunshine, and my brother, Light. You two should rally the ranks. You'll have us killing ourselves by morning.”
This is less a love story than the first book, with fight scenes, rebellion, political manuerving and a full-on war brewing, which is a nice change of pace.  The story builds tension slowly, adding some unexpected twist that give every decision more meaning and leaves Karou and Akiva with difficult, near-impossible choices.  Best of all the ending hurtles you towards the next book, with promises of an action-packed, high-stakes plot.

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