Days of Blood and Starlight follows Daughter of Smoke and Bone. This review will contain SUPER GIGANTIC MEGA ENORMOUS SPOILERS for Daughter of Smoke and Bone, so if you have not read that book, please do not read this review. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. :o)
She has all her memories back–she is Madrigal again, and also still Karou–but little else. She has Brimstone’s gift, but not his talent or his company, and she misses him dreadfully. He would know what to do to get her out from underneath the tyranny of Thiago, the evil White Wolf, leader of the chimaera. Karou has brought the chimaera to an abandoned castle in Morocco, while she resurrects the army according to Thiago’s careful instructions. She feels she has no choice but to trust and obey him; after all, the chimaera are stronger than her, and she believes she is safe because they need her. But Karou grows more suspicious each day, and will soon learn to her horror what Thiago is really using her for.
Akiva, believing Karou to be dead, is entirely without hope. The dream they shared of a peace between their peoples is but a memory, with the chimaera supposedly wiped out and the emperor planning a new war against a distant race of seraphim. Akiva is tired of fighting, and strives to find a way out, not just for him, but for his people as well. Then, against all odds, Akiva discovers that Karou lives. Not only that, but he is not the only Misbegotten seraphim unhappy with his lot in life, and dreaming of change. Together, can Akiva and Karou change their world? After Akiva’s betrayal, can they even be together ever again?
Days of Blood and Starlight was a beautiful sequel to Daughter of Smoke and Bone. It was dark and heartbreaking, devastating and powerful. Karou is deeply conflicted in this novel, torn between helping her people and looking for a way to end the fighting. Her struggles and pain almost force the reader to feel empathy for her. Often when I read about heroines who feel conflicted and weak, they get on my nerves and I want them to grow up. Not with Karou. I couldn’t imagine myself in her position, dealing with her problems. Of course I want her to find a way to forgive Akiva, but whether or not she has the strength after keeping so many secrets for so long remains to be seen. Meanwhile, Akiva is finally taking action, with the help of his brother and sister. It is the only thing his conscience will allow him to do. He too desperately wants Karou’s forgiveness, but has his own battles to fight as well. I felt proud reading about Akiva, how he has risen about his circumstances to do what he feels is right.
This novel was not all darkness and struggle, though. Karou’s best friends Zuzanna and Mik hike through the Morrocan desert to find Karou, and for a short time live with her in the chimaera castle. They lighten Karou’s mood, and provide a bit of comic relief for the reader. This was a good addition to the novel, which could have been weighed down by darkness otherwise.
Again, by the end of this novel, my heart was breaking for Karou and Akiva. It seems like they will never have a chance to find their own personal happiness. But there is a flicker of hope that their people may yet restore peace to their land. If you liked Daughter of Smoke and Bone you will certainly like this novel. If you are a fan of fallen angels, mythological beasts, or star-crossed lover, start with Daughter of Smoke and Bone. These are two books you won’t want to miss.
PS – I’ll expand upon this in my next post, but if you haven’t seen The Hobbit yet, stop reading right now and go see it. Seriously. Right now. Why are you still reading? Go see The Hobbit!!