Today I want to talk about:
I pretty much inhaled Daughter of Smoke and Bone like it was the sweetest air imaginable. At that time I had never read something so poignant and heartbreaking. So naturally when it came time to pre-order Days of Blood and Starlight I did so immediately. When it finally came in I was so excited that I put it next to Daughter of Smoke and Bone and just stared at the prettiness.
And that’s where it sat for months.
It took me two tries to read it. The first time I got to certain chapter and then got distracted. Back to the shelf it went. I tried again a couple weeks ago when there was a free download of the book on NetGalley. I needed something to read at work (I know, I know. Bad Candice) and thought it was a sign that I needed to try that one again.
I don’t know about any of you, but I STRUGGLED with this one. I felt like I was forcing myself to get through it, was bored out of my mind, wishing there was more scenes with Karou because c’mon… she’s awesome. But then, out of nowhere, I think the book hit me like a brick wall. While at first I was being forced to read as I got to about the last third of the book I was all must read must read must read! I COULD. NOT. STOP.
While DoSaB was not a fluffy tale by any means, Days of Blood and Starlight was super dark in comparison. Karou is working with the White Wolf, Thiago, to recreate the chimaera. She’s now the resurrectionist, taking over Brimstone’s once job. I think what struck me as fascinating was watching her attitude towards this job evolve throughout the book. If there was any doubt about Karou’s amazingness, it is completely gone after this book.
Speaking of it being super dark, there were some scenes that were downright gruesome and terrifying. Pretty sure I read with my hands over my eyes, peeking out through my fingers. And I don’t mean things that go bump in the night gruesome and terrifying. I’m talking real fears I have: slaughter, terror, killing innocents, rape, threats, torture. Taylor doesn’t shy away from these things, but does so in a way that doesn’t for a second feel like plot devices. They are actions true to the characters that did them and the situations that caused them.
One shining spot for me was seeing Zuzanna and Mik. They are totes adorbs! In all the darkness they came in like a bright light, giving me a little bit of respite from the doom and gloom. It was also refreshing to see how they reacted to all the situations they were in, with wonder, fear, amazement. I honestly never got tired of them.
The only thing I felt was a little lacking was the romance. However I don’t think I would have wanted any in this book. This wasn’t a love story; it was about recovery from a horrible incident. Or at least that’s what I got from it. I liked not seeing Karou and Akiva together, each doing their own thing and dealing with the aftermath of war in their own way. My heart went out to each of them for completely different reasons.
Speaking of Akiva… sighhhhhh. So pretty. Not just looks. No, he has this beautifully heartbreaking story and I just melted whenever I got to look inside his heart. I won’t speak more of this because my heart is going soft just thinking about it.
I know I’ve probably painted this epically dark picture for you when it comes to this book, and yes it is dark, but it’s also hopeful. I think that’s the most powerful message I took away from it. Even in the darkest of times there was hope. When all felt lost, there was hope, not just for the characters but for me. Which I really appreciate, Ms. Taylor. Without that, I probably would have stopped at the same place I did last time.
Which brings me to my favorite part of this entire book: kasbahs. I’m sure I’m not the only one who got “Rock the Casbah” stuck in her head. Hell, it was even mentioned that Zuzanna thought about it. Every time I came across the word kasbah I hummed it. It was pretty funny. I also loved the description of what a kasbah is: a giant sandcastle. Seriously I want to go to one now. Not to mention the food they ate: dates, almonds, couscous. It was like a magical trip into Aladdin-land!
So yeah…. it took me two tries and forever to get through this book but I am oh so glad I stayed with it. I appreciate it so much more now that I’m finished and, even though there was A LOT of build up, it only made the last part of the book that much more powerful.