Days of Blood & Starlight, the sequel to Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor, was an engrossing continuation of a shocking first book. It picked up directly where the last ended, which was with a shocking climax that I can’t describe without spoiling. There were multiple points of view throughout the book, and as usual, some were more engrossing than others, but towards the middle, all parts were equally interesting to me, which was refreshing.
My main issue with the book was that it spent a huge amount of time simply restating what happened in the first book without doing much to set up a new conflict. This was nice for me to read as I had read the first book around four years ago, although I could see something like this annoying those who are reading them consecutively. The first one hundred pages were very slow but there was a turning point that really allowed the captivating details of the world to shine through and become the focus of the novel. Overall, not much actually happened in the book, but it allowed the characters to develop loads and was a good bridge to a high stakes finale.
The characters are extremely fleshed out, allowing the reader to easily differentiate between them beyond their names. The two human characters Mik and Zuzana became my two favorites; their humor carried the book and lightened the mood for more than just the monsters they performed for. Karou, the main character, is more down to earth and spends a lot of time focused on what happened and how to fix everything. From what I remember, Akiva was a character I liked a lot, but in this book, he just proved to be annoying with his every thought being about Karou.
Despite developing so many characters, one of the main villains, Thiago, wasn’t developed enough to explain his actions later in the book and I wished that he had more interactions with Karou so we could get to know him like we did his sidekick, Ten.
The romance is very complex, and Taylor subverts expectations by continuing to keep the characters apart, as they should be considering everything that occurred between them in the previous book. Throughout the story, there were many moments I thought Karou would have the opportunity to get in a relationship with someone other than Akiva, which many other authors would have included, but refreshingly there wasn’t any new romance introduced. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel the connection between Karou and Akiva anymore and don’t want them to get back together as I’m sure they will in the final book. I’m not quite sure why I feel this way as most people seem to like them together, but perhaps the final book will change my mind.
Overall, I would rate Days of Blood & Starlight 6/10 dragons for its realistic characters and intriguing world.