Let me just start with this…the second I closed the cover of Days of Blood and Starlight, I immediately asked myself if it was OK to begin re-reading the series. That’s how wonderful this story was for me, so you can probably tell I’m giving it five stars.
But besides the rating, if you have the hard cover – and I urge you to get it if you love this series – it is a beautiful book. Just gorgeous. The cover is stunning, the map of Eretz, with the angel and demon wings and chimera and angel warriors is beyond beautiful, and the little details at chapter headings as well as the “once upon a time” vignettes just take your breath away. If you don’t have it, get it. It’s a work of publishing art.
OK, back to Karou – if you weren’t thrilled with the flashbacks of the previous book regarding Madrigal, then this book will wipe all that away. In this book we have new Karou the whole time. I don’t even recall if Madrigal even makes an appearance, if so – it’s very small and did not detract from the story like in the first book. We also get to know the chimera much more intimately (we learn they are just as capable of evil as the next being), and we get to learn a lot more about Akiva’s brother and sister – Hazael and Liraz respectively. I did not like them at all in the first book but by the end, Liraz became one of my favorite characters. I can’t wait to see what she does in the third book.
It is impossible to get into plot in this book without spoilers, and I hate spoilers, so I’m not going to do it. I’ll talk about Karou and Zuzana instead.
Oh, how I love Zuzana. Everyone in this book is so well developed, but Zuzana is so cool, she’s beyond words. Early on in the story Zuzana is frantically looking for Karou so she starts sending her e-mails and the best things about the exchange, besides Zuzana’s fantastic voice, are the e-mail addresses themselves. Zuzana’s e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org while Karou’s is email@example.com.
I just loved it!
Zuzana has a huge role in this book, as does her musician boyfriend. In fact, they are quite popular among some of the more terrible beasts in the story, it’s all very cute.
Laini Taylor’s world is well-crafted, deep, and beautiful – even as it becomes clear that nothing is as black and white as it seems. There are no good guys and bad guys, pretty much everything is a gray area. Thus, each side (Karou for the chimera and Akiva for the angels) must make moral decisions which are beyond morality. Each side must make decisions based on the mentality of war. And if you’re not sure of what that means, it means – war is war. Either you’re in it to win it and you’ll do whatever it takes, or you’re not. It’s not hard – do what it takes or don’t. But if you don’t – expect to die – because there is always someone else willing to cross the line to kill your ass when it comes to war.
War is gray, that’s why it’s freaking war. It sucks. You do things you don’t want to. And since everyone in this story has taken a side, they do morally ambiguous things. I’m not even sure I know what side I’m on after reading both books. I want Karou to win, but that means the angels are wiped out. I want the angels to win, but that means the chimera are wiped out.
And this is where Taylor leaves us at the end. How do you fight a war that cannot be won? I guess we have to wait and see in the third book.
P.S. – I loved the ending.