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.
In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must decide how far she’ll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices, Days of Blood & Starlight finds Karou and Akiva on opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life.
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?
Source: via Netgalley/Little Brown for an honest review (I did receive the eGalley, but I instead chose to listen to the audiobook, so that is the actual format.)
Extra: This is the second book in the series, so please don’t read any further if you haven’t read the first book for risk of being spoiled. I reviewed Daughter of Smoke and Bone last year & LOVED IT.
Zuzana and Mik are Karou’s human friends, and they’re heartbroken by not being able to find her since she took off (as in, in flight) after a confrontation with Angels on a bridge in the middle of Prague. These two actually add a lot to the book because they bring out Karou’s human-ness and add a layer of humor, love, and friendship to the story. The parts with them in it were the best parts of the book for me.
Akiva is the Angel, Beast’s Bane, who has fallen in love with Karou before he found out that she is actually Madrigal, his lover who was executed when their relationship and plans for ending the war between the Angels and the Chimera was discovered. Akiva reunites with his brother and sister in Loramendi, thinking that his siblings would have turned him in for being with Karou again, but that’s not the case. Liraz & Hazael welcome him back into their circle, though they’re not exactly pleased with what happened in Prague. Akiva is thrown back into the war, where the Angels are taking over Eretz and killing innocent Chimera, but Akiva does his best to try to save them and to continue his work that he started with Madrigal because he feels guilty. He’s also looking for some kind of sign that Karou is alive.
Karou is alive, if not well, working for Thiago, the White Wolf who had her executed all those years ago. She’s taken over Brimstone’s job as resurrectionist. She’s also brought the Chimera soldiers to Earth and is holed up with them in Saharan Africa. Karou is not entirely comfortable in her current position, she knows that Thiago doesn’t trust her, but she feels like she’s doing all she can to help her people (and atone for her sins) and she’s the only person who can do it.
Oh, so much bloody conflict. Well, did I mention that Thiago doesn’t trust Karou? So, there’s that. And it’s generally best not to be on the White Wolf’s bad side. He sends his right hand man, as it were, Ten, to “help” Karou with the resurrections, probably in hopes that Ten will learn enough that she can take over for Karou if anything happened to befall our heroine. Also, Thiago is lying about what his soldiers are doing, surprise surprise. Karou runs into Akiva one night on her own and he gives her a thurible that he found in the caves where she was raised. There’s a soul in there and Karou hopes it’s Brimstone.
On Akiva’s side, his siblings become increasingly disgusted by the things they’re doing and by being mindless slaves to their “father” Joram and his brother, Jael, the Captain of the Dominion. Also, Razgut returns to his “home” and pretty much tattles on Akiva. Jael is pretty creeptastic. He has this disfiguring scar on his face and an affinity for his neices, blech. *Shudder*
This book is soooooo different than Daughter of Smoke and Bone, which is not to say I didn’t like it. We learn a lot more about all sorts of things that were never even mentioned in the previous book, most importantly about the Angels and their history. There are tons of new characters introduced, my favorite being Ziri, the last of the Kirin (Madrigal’s people). It’s a rocking book with lots of stuff going on. There were definitely a few things, at the end of course, that I was totally not expecting to happen that really made me sit up in my seat and say “Whuuttttt!?!?!?!” Yeah. It’s good. The problem is that you get little pieces here and there and you don’t understand what they have to do with each other and then they just come together to form this really solid story. It’s confusing, to say the least, if you don’t really remember a lot of stuff from the first book. I would definitely recommend rereading the DoS&B if you can before you dive into this one, as I am sure I will need to do with this book when the final one comes out. I’m more of a contemporary reader, not much for fantasy and the like, but I thoroughly enjoyed (to my great astonishment) DoS&B last year because I didn’t know it was about angels and “demons,” but I am in love with this world and I’m glad I took the chance. Also, the audiobook rocked! The narrarator was fabulous and I recommend it.