71 Readers
103 Writers
headspinningfromvagueness

Ironic Contradictions

I'm a long time reader - since way back when I was seven. That makes it over three quarters of my life that I will be a reader for. But it is worth it. When I'm not reading or wasting my time online on here or Goodreads I'll be off playing video games, studying teaching and messing around with friends and pop culture. Or reading some more.
Days of Blood and Starlight (Daughter of Smoke and Bone Bk) - Laini Taylor
There are some spoilers connected to the plot of the first novel. If you have not read the first novel or if you intend to then it's recommended that you don't read this review yet. Of course feel free to go ahead anyway.

Days of Blood and Starlight performs exactly as any good sequel in a series should. It takes the original ideas and context of the initial novel and expands the world and characters in new and exciting ways. Unfortunately it suffers in part from similar pacing issues to the first novel and the handling of the romance feels particularly aimed at the young adult readers. That said this is, as with the first novel, a remarkably mature young adult aimed novel, one with magic that feels magical and with fascinating themes.

Were I told that the first novel was in fact, at its roots, a love story between angel and demon I would have been reluctant to read it. I've heard plenty about how paranormal fiction authors have abused the ideas of angels and demons ([b:Halo|7778981|Halo (Halo, #1)|Alexandra Adornetto|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1361296225s/7778981.jpg|10695325] for one) among other mythological/spiritual creatures. Yet what Laini Taylor does in both novels is to subvert the typical understandings of angels and demons. And in fact her angels and demons are not Biblical spiritual creatures but rather trans-dimensional beings. Creatures of magic locked in a timeless war where the 'angels' are seraphim and angelic in that they fly and the demons are chimaera, mixtures of various beasts and humans. The seraphim in the novel are bred regularly to create an army and the chimaera are resurrected. Thus creating a kind of deadlock between the two forces. Yet what is interesting in the subversion created by Laini Taylor about the angel/demon representation is that she leaves the reader constantly attempting to work out who the heroes are. At first the protagonist Karou seems the hero, then perhaps the angelic Akiva seems to potentially be the hero. And so the reader zigzags between two opposing forces, attempting to truly observe the heroes and villains.

The prose remains at a similar level to the previous novel and while the story takes a move towards the fantasy land or Eretz rather than Earth anyone who appreciated the first novel should find this book to their liking. Where the first novel was much a fairytale retelling of the star-crossed lovers mythology (particularly reminiscent of [b:Romeo and Juliet|18135|Romeo and Juliet|William Shakespeare|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1327872146s/18135.jpg|3349450] though similar themes were apparent in [b:The Hunger Games|2767052|The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1)|Suzanne Collins|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1358275334s/2767052.jpg|2792775]) this is a novel that examines the aftershock of such events. As Karou commented, it is as if Juliet woke to discover that Romeo had killed her family and all the people she loved. Further the novel works on the idea of looking at, obscurely, how individuals will react when you treat them tyrannically as objects for long enough.

Recommended for fantasy enthusiasts and for YA readers. Not a particularly deep novel as much as an engaging and entertaining one this is certainly a cut above other similar paranormal novels and the mess of YA novels available.